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How Animals Can Help Autistic Children in The Classroom

Saturday, May 23, 2015
posted by Jim Murphy

HAMSterSAND CHILDRENResearch has shown how animals can help autistic children. Australian researchers used blind ratings when comparing how children interact with animals as opposed to playing with toys which is another common tool to help them interact with their peers.

The research compared how well children ages 5 to 13 interacted with their peers and adults during free time. One groups was given toys to play with, the other group was placed in a room with two hamsters.

The experiment reveals that the autistic children who played with the hamsters showed more sociability by talking, smiling, laughing, looking at faces, and making physical contact with the other children.  The children with the hamsters were also less likely to frown, whine, cry, and express other negative behavior than those who played with toys.

The classroom can be a very stressful and overwhelming situation for children with autism. If an animal can help them interact better with other children and reduce some of their stress, then it may be worthwhile to look into this at some of our schools.

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