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Pets improve social skills in autistic children

Children over 5 years suffering from autism improve such skills prosocial behavior like help and participation, if at this age, their house is a pet. However, the presence of a pet in the house since the birth of the child so has no effect. To such conclusion the French scientists in the course of the study, the results of which were published in the journal PLoS One .

The development of prosocial skills is one of the main problems which must be solved for the harmonious development of an autistic child. In order to develop children skills such as empathy, assistance, participation or protection, apply a variety of strategies, including therapy animals. A recent study of Marin Grandjot (Marine Grandgeorge) and her colleagues from Hospitalische centre at the University of Brest (Centre Hospitalier Regional Universitaire de Brest ) tried to determine whether the development of Pro-social skills of children with autism from having their house pet.

Of 260 autistic children, they have selected the participants for the two parallel studies. One involved 2 groups of 12 children. The participants of the first group from birth to 4-5 years grew up without Pets, but in 5 years they powersavetime. The participants of the second group have never had Pets. The average age of all participants was 10.8 years. The second study involved 2 groups of 8 children. In the homes of participants of the first group from birth lived Pets, and the participants of the second group has never had them. The average age of participants in this study was 11.1 years. By Pets in the study, scientists knew dogs, cats, hamsters and rabbits.

At the age of 4 and 5 years each of the participants of the study underwent the standard test to confirm autism symptoms (Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised ), then this test was completed again after 5 years. During his estimated the degree of social interaction of the child, verbal and non-verbal communication, and behavior and interests. Parents of all participants also surveyed, asking them the question about the relationship between child and pet.

As it turned out, a house pet such significantly improves Pro-social skills of the child, as the assistance and participation. Moreover, increasing the time of communication of the child with the animal, tactile and visual interaction with him, participation in the games and care. However, this is observed only in the group where the animal came from children aged 5 years and older. If the child lived from birth in a home where a pet, such effect is not observed. The authors emphasize that the use of communication of an autistic child with a pet is difficult to overestimate, and urge the parents of these children to have a pet.

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