The Social Skills and Attachment to Dogs of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- 4.3k Downloads
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have deficits in social skills, and interaction with service dogs has been associated with increased social skills for children with ASD. In this telephone survey of 70 parents of children with ASD, children owning dogs had greater Mean scores for social skills, using the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scale, while those with some type of pet (not excluding dogs) had significantly greater skills for subscale item “assertion”. Parents described their children as attached to their dogs. Children owning dogs completed the Companion Animal Bonding Scale, and reported strong bonding with dogs. These findings suggest children with ASD may bond with their dogs, and pet ownership may be associated with increased social skills.
KeywordsAutism Dogs Children Attachment Social skills
- American Veterinary Medical Association. (2012). U.S. pet ownership & demographics sourcebook. Schaumburg, Ill.: American Veterinary Medical Association.Google Scholar
- Berry, A., Borgi, M., Francia, N., Alleva, E., & Cirulli, F. (2013). Use of assistance and therapy dogs for children with autism spectrum disorders: A critical review of the current evidence. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(2), 73–80. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0835.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Carlisle, G. K. (2012). Pet dog ownership in families of children with autism: Children’s social skills and attachment to their dogs (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri--Columbia, Columbia, Missouri). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10355/16523.
- Fine, A. H. (2010). Handbook on animal-assisted therapy theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Elsevier. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780123814531.
- Gresham, F. M., & Elliott, S. N. (2008). Social skills improvement system: Rating scales. Bloomington, MN.Google Scholar
- Kanner, L., et al. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2(3), 217–250.Google Scholar
- Melson, G. F. (2001). Why the wild things are: Animals in the lives of children. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Melson, Gail F., Peet, Susan, & Sparks, Cheryl. (1991). Children’s attachment to their pets: Links to socio-emotional development. Children’s Environments Quarterly, 8(2), 55–65.Google Scholar
- Melson, G. F., & Swarz, R. (1994). Pets as social support for families of young children. In Annual meeting of the delta society. New York.Google Scholar
- Nimer, J., & Lundahl, B. (2007). Animal-assisted therapy: A meta-analysis. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 20(3), 225–238. doi:10.2752/089279307X224773.
- Taylor, P., Funk, C., & Craighill, P. (2006). Gauging family intimacy: Dogs edge cats (Dads trail both) (A social trends report). Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://pewsocialtrends.org/files/2010/10/Pets.pdf.
- Wild, D. L. (2012, June). The impact of canine assistance for children with autism and the family unit. Walden University.Google Scholar
- Wilson, E. O. (1984). Biophilia. United States of America: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar