Interacting With Pets May Help Kids With Autism
A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing lends solid support to the idea that animal interaction benefits many children with autism. The lead researcher certainly emphasized the need to consider each child's sensitivity as well as family dynamics before considering pet ownership, but 94 percent of those families who introduced a pet reported that their child "bonded strongly" and "enjoyed interacting with dogs." Other research involving children with autism found that those who had a pet from a young age tended to have greater social skills. In fact, even short stints with a live animal — like a guinea pig — provides a temporary improvement in social behavior.