Study Will Examine Impact of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Washington, D.C. (August 7, 2014) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) today announced it had awarded a $24,000 grant to Green Chimneys, a leader in animal-assisted therapy and educational programs, for a new research study, Animal-‐Assisted Social Skills Training for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
This grant to Green Chimneys advances the HABRI Foundation’s mission to better document the effects of animals on human health through scientific research,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “Animals can play a positive role in the lives of those with autism, and we look forward to learning more as a result of this study.
Further exploring the effect of dogs on children with ASD, the purpose of this study is to develop and test an animal-assisted social skills intervention. As one of the first research projects undertaken by The Sam & Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys, the 12-week study will include a controlled trial with 32 Green Chimneys students ages 8-15, comparing an animal-assisted social skills group and a traditional social skills training group without an animal present.
It is predicted that participants in the social skills training group that incorporates work with dogs will exhibit greater levels of change in social skills, perspective taking, theory of mind and decreased feelings of isolation when compared with those participants receiving the traditional social skills training. If significant results are found, it will further demonstrate that animal-assisted interventions are a valid approach for teaching children with ASD the skills necessary to engage with peers and will further support the role of the human-animal bond in advancing children with developmental delays.
Green Chimneys’ long history of incorporating animal-assisted activities into therapeutic treatment makes it an ideal laboratory for conducting research in the area of human-animal interaction (HAI),” said Dr. Steven Klee, Green Chimneys Associate Executive Director, Clinical & Medical Services. “This grant from HABRI will help advance our understanding of HAI, add to the growing pool of data demonstrating the benefits of integrating animals into therapy and ultimately, create strong practice models for treatment professionals.”
More Press Releases
Virtual Lecture for Autism Awareness Month: New Research Supporting Shelter Cat Adoption for Children with Autism and their Families
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and IDEXX today hosted a virtual lecture during Autism Awareness Month, focusing on new research demonstrating the impact of shelter cat adoption on the social skills and anxiety levels in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This lecture titled, “The Impact of Shelter Cat Adoption in Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder”, features Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, Research Scientist, Research Center for Human Animal Interaction (ReCHAI), University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, discussing her HABRI-funded publication, “Exploratory study of cat adoption in families of children with autism: Impact on children’s social skills and anxiety”, which found that found introduction of a shelter cat into the home may have a positive impact on children with ASD and their parents. Results from Dr. Carlisle’s project were published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing in December 2020. This was the first randomized controlled trial of adoption of a temperament-screened shelter cat by families of children with ASD. This exploratory study found that introduction of a cat into the home may have a positive impact on children with ASD, including greater Empathy and less Separation Anxiety for children with ASD, along with fewer problem behaviors including Externalizing, Bullying and Hyperactivity/Inattention. The children and their parents reported close bonds with their new cats almost immediately after adoption, and despite the cat caretaking responsibility, these bonds did not decrease over time. “These research results show that children with autism and their families can benefit from the calmer, quieter demeanor of a pet cat,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “HABRI and IDEXX hope that together, we can help raise awareness of the health benefits of pet cats and help more cats find loving homes.” Professionals who viewed this session live are eligible to receive RACE-approved...
New Study to Investigate Impact of Pet Ownership in Relationships with Intimate Partner Violence
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today a new research grant to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston) School of Public Health to investigate how pet ownership and cruelty to animals impacts the decisions and mental health outcomes of survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). “Pet abuse has been identified as a predictor of IPV, but there is a lack of data to fully understand the role of pet ownership in relationships where IPV is occurring,” said Alaina Beauchamp, MPH, Principal Investigator. “Quantifying the link between intimate partner violence and animal cruelty will help identify ways to protect people and pets and lower the barriers to seeking help.” One in 4 women and 1 in 9 men reported IPV in 2019 alone. 41 percent of men arrested for IPV reported committing acts of animal cruelty, compared to a nationally representative sample of adult men who reported a 2 percent incidence of animal cruelty. Up to 48 percent of domestic violence victims remain in abusive situations out of fear for their pet’s safety, and only 15 percent of U.S. domestic violence shelters are pet friendly. This new research study led by Alaina Beauchamp, a doctoral student, and Katelyn Jetelina, PhD, assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health, will collect data from women residing in emergency and transitional housing at a domestic violence shelter in the southern United States to examine their experiences of animal cruelty and the barriers it created when seeking help. Data will be used to capture the burden of animal cruelty in this population, assess the role emotional manipulation by an abuser plays in choices made for an IPV survivor and their pet, and evaluate the impact of the human-animal bond on the resiliency and mental health of these IPV survivors. “HABRI is proud to be funding this important research, which will bring data to a critical issue facing survivors of IPV and their pets,” said...
Treat Planet Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Treat Planet, makers of natural, eco-friendly pet products, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “As makers of the best darn treats on the planet, Treat Planet provides man’s best friend with the best quality nutrition to keep them healthy and happy,” said Doug Martin, President of Treat Planet. “HABRI’s research shows that by maintaining a pet’s health, pet owners can improve their own health and well-being. Through supporting HABRI, Treat Planet is now advancing the human-animal bond through scientific research and quality nutrition, and we couldn’t be more proud.” “Recent HABRI research found that when educated about the health benefits of the human-animal bond, pet owners are more likely to provide their pets with higher quality nutrition, including treats,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “Not only is Treat Planet furthering its own mission through joining other leading companies and organizations from the pet care community that support HABRI, but it’s also contributing to a broader purpose of ensuring that more people can improve their health and quality of life through pet ownership.” Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging. In addition, companion animals can assist in the treatment of a broad range of conditions from post-traumatic stress to Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. The benefits of the human-animal bond impact more than just human health. Findings from a recent HABRI survey of 2,000 pet owners demonstrate that knowledge of the scientific research on the human-animal bond motivates pet owners to take better care of their pets. From providing pets with higher quality nutrition to more frequent visits to the...