A survey of families with children on the autism spectrum has found that there is an indication that pets benefit kids with autism.
The survey was conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri and consisted of 70 families with children on the spectrum ages 8 to 18. Children in homes with pets were found to be more likely to display prosocial behaviors.
“Children with any kind of pet in the home reported being more likely to engage in behaviors such as introducing themselves, asking for information or responding to other people’s questions,” said Gretchen Carlisle of the University of Missouri who worked on the study published recently in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
According to Carlisle, the animals may be a social catalyst for children with autism. This prompts kids to be more social and engage in interactions more than they might otherwise.
Most of the people in the study who had pets had dogs or cats. The research also included families with fish, rabbits, reptiles, a bird, a spider, and farm animals.