Carlisle recommends parents involve their children with autism when choosing a dog.
"Many children with autism know the qualities they want in a dog," Carlisle said. "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."
Although her study only addressed dog ownership among families affected by autism, Carlisle said dogs might not be the best pet for every child with autism.
"If you know one child with autism, you know one child with autism," Carlisle said. "Dogs may be best for some families, although other pets such as cats, horses or rabbits might be better suited to other children with autism and their particular sensitivities and interests."
"This research adds scientific credibility to the benefits of human-animal interaction," said Rebecca Johnson, a professor at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, director of ReCHAI, and the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. "This research helps us understand the role of companion animals in improving the lives of children with autism and helps health professionals learn how to best guide families in choosing pets for their families."
The study, "Pet Dog Ownership Decisions for Parents of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder," was published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing earlier this year.
|Contact: Jesslyn Chew|
University of Missouri-Columbia