Autism Spectrum Disorder & how animals can help

by | Interesting |

All people can benefit from having animals in their lives – and some more than others. The Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) has found that the human-animal bond can be influential in improving the quality of life for children with autism spectrum disorders. Here’ some information from their post on Autism and the Human-Animal Bond:


HABRI, autism
photo credit: One Kid and his Dog via photopin (license)

HABRI cites a study, published by the University of Queensland in Australia. It showed that animals help children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD):

  • “interact better along with demonstrating increased positive social behaviors
  • display more social behaviors such as talking, making physical contact and looking at faces
  • become more receptive to social advances from their peers
  • laugh and smile more and also reduce behaviors such as frowning, whining and crying”

Source: University of Queensland in Australia by Marguerite E O’Haire.


HABRI also cites an interview published on the Autism Speaks website by Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, a researcher at the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, which stated, “Children with autism may especially benefit from interacting with a dog, which can provide unconditional, nonjudgmental love and companionship.”

They state that her study talks about dog ownership, but other pets can be beneficial for particular children and families as well.

In another cited study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing in 2013, parents of children who had autism were surveyed about how the children interacted with dogs.

  • “Nearly two thirds of the families owned a dog
  • Of these, 94 percent said their child bonded strongly with the pet
  • Even in the families without dogs, 7 in 10 parents said their child enjoyed interacting with dogs”

Check out the FULL post on HABRI’s website HERE.