Family Pets May Boost Social Skills for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

A new study is reporting what many families of autistic children already know: having a pet in the home can help improve social skills.

Researchers were quick to point out that getting a family pet is not always the right thing to do. Pets require attention and can come with medical bills as well.

Still, the findings may sway reluctant pet owners.

Autistic children older than 5 who had pets – and had developed a bond with them – were better at offering comfort and sharing compared to similar children who lived with no pets.

It also mattered when the pet came into the child’s life. Having a pet from birth did not help impove socialization behaviors.

The study was published in the journal PLoS One.

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