Pets improve social skills in children with autism
A new study shows that children with autism, in which house live Pets (dog, cat, rabbit or other pet), have better social skills than the children in the house which didn’t have any Pets.
Previous research has shown that dogs stimulate social interaction in children with autism. However, the previously never studied the impact of other types of Pets on children with autism.
Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, the author of this study asserts that the presence in the house Pets helps autistic kids communicate with each other and with other people.
Pets serve as “social lubricants”, she explains. The study found increased sociability in autistic children, who live in the house Pets in comparison with these children who had no Pets.
“Children with autism are not always easy to interact with other people,” said Dr. Carlisle. “However, the presence in the house a pet often is itself easy conversation: if a visitor asks about the animal, the child is more likely to come into this conversation”.
In this study, Dr. Carlisle surveyed parents of autistic patients attending the Thompson center for autism and disorders razvedennoy system. In total, she interviewed 70 families, with patients ranging in age from 8 to 18 years.
Almost 70% of these families kept a dog at home, and about 50% cat. Rarely met other Pets, including reptiles, rodents, rabbits, fish, birds and even spiders.
Dr. Carlisle has compared the results obtained from a group of children, who have Pets with a group of children who do not have them.
She found that social skills were better developed in the group of children having Pets, and maximum results were in the group of children with small dogs.
Dr. Carlisle continues:
“Children who have a pet, more likely to come into contact with other people, answer their questions. This kind of skills is especially difficultly given to children suffering from autism, so any progress in this direction is very important.”
An important finding of the study was the fact that dogs are not the only animals that improve the socialization of autistic children, as was previously thought.
“Children with autism are very individual and unique, so they need individual selection of the animal”, says Dr. Carline.