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Autistic children and pets: What types of interactions? A parent survey

Abstract : People and pets are able to establish bonds. These bonds are currently used in animal-assisted therapies to improve social skills of people with communicative difficulties as autism spectrums disorders (ASD; a cognitive disorder, with social withdrawal). However, clear scientific bases proving such effects are still lacking. As a first step, the present study describes the interactions between 186 subjects with ASD and their pets, and investigates the possible influence of the subject's age and of the pet species. On the one hand, only parents of adults with ASD reported visual interactions with dogs. They never talked about play between their 6-to-9-years-old children and the dogs. The 6-to-12-years-old children are described as interacted by physical contacts with the cats. On the other hand, some environmental factors and pet characteristics seemed to modulate the relation described; for example, the relation between 6-to-9 year-old children with ASD and their dog seemed to be related to dog size and the purchase’s reason. Such study could be considered as a first characterisation of the relation that subjects with ASD could develop with their pets. Pet’s adoption could be considered in the light of some factors (i.e. purchase for subjects with ASD, subjects’ age, pets’ characteristics). We hypothesize these bonds with pets might be extended by subjects with ASD to their peers.
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Contributor : Umr6552 Ethos <>
Submitted on : Friday, August 19, 2016 - 2:48:16 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 11:14:01 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01354788, version 1


Marine Grandgeorge, Eric Lemonnier, Sylvie Tordjman, Michel Deleau, Martine Hausberger. Autistic children and pets: What types of interactions? A parent survey. Behavior 2009 - 31st International Ethological Conference, International Ethological Conference (IEC) and University of Rennes 1, Aug 2009, Rennes, France. ⟨hal-01354788⟩



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