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.”
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New Study to Examine Wellness Effects of Animals on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) today announced it has awarded a $40,000 grant to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus for a study titled Physiological Wellness Effects of Animal-Assisted Activities in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Specialized Psychiatric Hospital Program. This study will examine the influence of animal-assisted activities on the mental health and wellness of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is hypothesized that children will demonstrate lower physiological arousal when in the presence of dogs. “Anecdotal reports of animal-assisted activities have observed such benefits as decreased anxiety-related behaviors as well as increases in social interactions, language, and safety awareness [in children with ASD],” said Dr. Robin Gabriels, PsyD, Principal Investigator and Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “But we are in need of more research on how canines specifically, can be helpful to this population. It is our hope that our pilot project will provide preliminary evidence to validate the observed benefits and increase understanding of the mechanisms underlying this positive effect.” The two-year crossover study will examine participants during a standard 20-minute social skills group, with 10 minutes of free interaction in the presence of a dog and 10 minutes in the presence of engaging toys. Using specialized wristbands to measure physiological arousal, researchers will compare the levels conducted within the two sessions. “With high-quality scientific research, HABRI can make animal-assisted therapy a valuable addition to the treatments available for people with autism spectrum disorder,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “There is a growing body of scientific evidence that companion animals are important to human health. This research will ultimately help...
New National Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards Program Launched to Recognize Pet-Friendly Products and Programs
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today it has launched the Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards, a new awards program to recognize companies and organizations that are implementing innovative products and practices designed to advance the human-animal bond and create a more pet-friendly society. “We know that there are companies and organizations throughout the country developing products and implementing practices that bring pets and people together in innovative ways,” said Steven Feldman, president of HABRI. “The Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards aim to not only celebrate these trailblazing organizations but also position them as models for others seeking to honor the human-animal bond.” “PetSmart Charities is excited to be the inaugural Presenting Sponsor for the Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards,” said Aimee Gilbreath, President of PetSmart Charities. “We want to shine a spotlight on all of the new and exciting ways to make the world a better place for pets and all who love them.” Nominees can be submitted in two different award categories: Products and Services: Recognizes companies or organizations creating products or services to enhance or strengthen the human-animal bond. Workplace Culture: Recognizes companies or organizations striving to create a pet-friendly workplace culture. “The award guidelines are written to encourage organizations and companies of all kinds to share how they support the human-animal bond,” said Feldman. “We know that innovations go beyond having pets in the workplace, and we can’t wait to learn about how leaders across industries are supporting the mutually-beneficial connection between people and pets.” Nominations are open to the public and can be submitted online at www.habri.org/hab-innovation-awards. Award winners will be selected at the discretion of an expert committee of pet care community leaders assembled by HABRI. The deadline for submission is July 8, 2022. Winners...
IDEXX Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “IDEXX is proud to support HABRI and its mission to advance human-animal bond research,” said Jonathan Ayers, Chairman and CEO of IDEXX Laboratories. “IDEXX is committed to enhancing the health and well-being of pets and people alike by bringing to market the most advanced diagnostics and software in veterinary medicine. When we provide high quality care for pets, human health also benefits.” “IDEXX is an innovative leader in pet health,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “By supporting HABRI, IDEXX is demonstrating its dedication to the human-animal bond and to keeping pets and people healthy together.” 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 veterinarian, spreading awareness of the health benefits of pet ownership improves pet health and welfare.