“Researchers … interviewed the individuals’ parents about the presence of any pets in their homes and, where animals were present, asked about the relationship between the person with autism and the pet. While no change was seen for individuals without pets or those who had pets since birth, acquiring a new animal appeared to increase the likelihood of sharing and comforting parents or peers, two so-called prosocial behaviors.”
The study acknowledges that the reason for the improvements is not entirely clear and more research is needed. The full article is made especially interesting by the Comments, several of which were made by people actually on the spectrum, offering their own experience and perspective.
Another article out of Pennsylvania tells how a young girl, born with a rare condition in which the brain fails to develop normally, has “blossomed” due her recently acquired service dog.
••• Please share your family’s experience with animals and their effect on your child with special needs … this could include any kind of pet or other animal, horses for instance.