Nearly approaching one in two-hundred children, these youth are affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a disorder characterized by several neurological development dysfunctions including difficulty with language, non-verbal communication, and general social interaction. A critical evaluation of a number of available research studies assessing the possibility of therapy or work with assistance dogs to help children with ASD address these challenges is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, yielding a favorable overall opinion.
Relationships with therapy dogs, or even the integration of such a dog into a household with a child who has an ASD may help the child acquire emotional attachments and relationship-building skills in a familiar social atmosphere based on simplistic, expected behaviors, without needing to understand verbal signals. The enhanced potential for more general application in human relationships and even enhanced mutual bonding with others may be worth the effort. You have an autistic child? Consider a therapy dog. Speak with the clinician managing your child’s case about this treatment or lifestyle option.