Dogs Can Be Important Members of Families with Autistic Children

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-04_4620304585.jpgAnneMS/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Owning a dog can be a family’s great pleasures, particularly those with special needs children, at least according to one study. A University of Missouri study seems to allay the fears of parents who have youngsters diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. After interviewing 70 parents of children with autism, Gretchen Carlisle with the MU College of Veterinary Medicine said that two-thirds owned dogs and in those homes, 94 of autistic kids bonded with the pet.

Even when there were no dogs in the house, seven in ten parents said their children liked the animals.

Dogs have been shown to provide companionship for autistic youngsters and can act as a bridge to forming relationships with other kids.

As for the kind of pooch to pick, Carlisle said, “Many children with autism know the qualities they want in a dog. If parents could involve their kids in choosing dogs for their families, it may be more likely the children will have positive experiences with the animals when they are brought home."

Naturally, not every autistic child may be drawn to dogs, which shouldn’t exclude other possible pets such as cats or rabbits.

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