Children With Autism May Benefit From Interaction With Therapy Dogs
Interactions with therapy dogs, or the introduction of an assistance dog into a household with a child who has an ASD, may help the child develop emotional attachments and interaction in a social setting based on simple and predictable patterns, without having to interpret verbal cues. The enhanced capability for social interaction they would achieve may then carry over to interpersonal communication and relationships.
In the article "Use of Assistance and Therapy Dogs for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Critical Review of the Current Evidence," Alessandra Berry, PhD and coauthors from Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy, describe the body of published study results as encouraging. They emphasize the need for larger, better designed studies in the future to confirm and build on these findings.
* Use of Assistance and Therapy Dogs for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Critical Review of the Current Evidence, Alessandra Berry, Marta Borgi, Nadia Francia, Enrico Alleva, and Francesca Cirulli. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. February 2013, 19(2): 73-80. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0835.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News
Source: EurekAlert!, the online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society
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