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Children With Autism May Benefit From Interaction With Therapy Dogs

About 1 in 150 children are affected by an (ASD), a group of characterized by difficulty with language, communication, and . A of several published studies evaluating the potential for therapy or assistance dogs to help children with ASD overcome some of these challenges is published in of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on the Journal website.*

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 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.


* http://www.liebertpub.com/acm
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News