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Unique Impact of Pets on Children with Autism

By Jonathan Slack, Market Research & Development Specialist, AHSS 

New research has found that children on the autism spectrum who have pets at home have more advanced social skills and are more communicative and assertive than autistic children without a pet.

On its face this makes sense. After all think back to the last time you saw someone walking their dog:

  • There is a good chance you walked up to them and asked to pet their dog.
  • Children on the spectrum struggle with introducing themselves and asking to join group activities.
  • If other children are coming up to them asking to pet their dog (or other pet), that gives an individual with autism a natural opening to introduce themselves.

No matter who you are,  approaching other people is sometimes hard. Pets are wonderful to have for many reasons. They offer companionship and children gain confidence when they learn how to take care of them. Now we can add improving social skills as another benefit to the list of pet ownership!

Read the full article on the benefits of pet ownership for children with autism here.


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