Child With Hamster

Although a lot of attention has been focused on how dogs can help improve the social skills of children with autism, a new study from the University of Missouri-Columbia finds that any kind of pet in the home can help. “The data revealed that 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 researcher Gretchen Carlisle. “These kinds of social skills typically are difficult for kids with autism, but this study showed children’s assertiveness was greater if they lived with a pet." She also found that children bonded more strongly with smaller dogs, and parents reported strong attachments with other pets, including cats and rabbits. The study was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. — Read it at Science Daily

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