Pets May Help Ease Social Anxiety in Kids With Autism

When kids with autism started playing with guinea pigs, their skin conductance, a measure of anxiety, started to decline.

Animals’ presence may ease social anxiety in kids with autism as an NIH-funded study could have implications for treatment

When animals are present, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have lower readings on a device that detects anxiety and other forms of social arousal when interacting with their peers.

According to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, companion animals — like dogs, cats or the guinea pigs in the study — may prove to be a helpful addition to treatment programs designed to help children with ASDs improve their social skills and interactions with other people.

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