New Scientific Study: Dogs Improve Social Skills for Children with Autism | HABRI

New Scientific Study: Dogs Improve Social Skills for Children with Autism

Results of HABRI-Funded Study Show Importance of Animal-Assisted Therapy

Results of HABRI-Funded Study Show Importance of Animal-Assisted Therapy

Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2017) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Green Chimneys announced the publication of a study exploring the effectiveness of an animal-assisted social skills intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research was conducted at Green Chimneys, a therapeutic school and treatment center for children facing social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Findings demonstrate that incorporating therapy dogs in social skills training is a valid approach to teaching children with ASD to engage with peers and improve social interaction.

“Not only do dogs appear to have a positive effect on children’s emotional states, but they can also be motivating factors that encourage social interaction and involvement,” said Dr. Joanna Becker, PhD, Sam and Myra Ross Institute Research Associate and the study’s principal investigator. “Animal-assisted interventions are a valid approach for teaching children with autism spectrum disorders the skills necessary to engage with peers, family members, and the larger community.”

Dr. Becker, along with co-PIs Dr. Erica Rogers and Dr. Bethany Burrows, analyzed 31 Green Chimneys students ages 8-14 diagnosed with ASD and compared social and emotional functioning before and after the intervention. Students either participated in an animal-assisted social skills group or in a traditional social skills training group without an animal present.

Findings showed that the inclusion of dogs in social skills training was more effective than traditional programs. Specifically, participants who received the animal-assisted social skills intervention exhibited fewer social skills deficits overall, fewer restricted and repetitive behaviors, and more typical social communication following the intervention. The study also found that participants who received the animal-assisted social skills intervention exhibited a greater level of change in social skills, perspective taking, theory of mind, and decreased feelings of isolation and depression.

“HABRI is proud to have partnered with Green Chimneys on this important research,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “HABRI will continue to fund innovative projects that expand our knowledge of the human-animal bond and the remarkable power of companion animals to improve our health.”

“The value of partnership with organizations such as HABRI is the opportunity to add to the growing pool of data demonstrating the benefits of integrating animals into therapy,” said Dr. Steven Klee, Green Chimneys Associate Executive Director of Clinical & Medical Services.

About HABRI

HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit www.habri.org.

About Green Chimneys

Green Chimneys is a multi-faceted nonprofit organization helping young people to maximize their full potential by providing residential, educational, clinical and recreational services in a safe and supportive environment that nurtures connections with their families, the community, animals and nature. Services include an accredited special education school on two campuses, residential treatment center, animal-assisted and nature-based therapeutic programs, public education and recreation programs, and community-based support for youth and families. All research is conducted under The Sam and Myra Ross Institute which serves to facilitate understanding, education and medical recognition of the significant influence of nature-based therapies, education and interactions. www.greenchimneys.org.

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

###

Press Releases
Embrace Pet Insurance Supports Human-Animal Bond Research

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Embrace Pet Insurance, one of the highest-rated U.S. pet insurance companies, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “When pet owners become part of the Embrace family, we strive to strengthen the human-animal bond, especially when pet parents need it most,” said Ambrish Jaiswal, CEO of Embrace Pet Insurance. “By supporting HABRI, Embrace Pet Insurance is proudly helping to advance human-animal bond research that demonstrates the positive role that healthy pets play in our lives.” “We know from research that pets are considered part of the family, and that pet owners want what’s best for their four-legged family members,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “Embrace helps to provide and sustain healthy pets, so that, as family, they are protected against unexpected accidents and illnesses.” 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 purchasing pet health insurance, spreading awareness of the health benefits of pet ownership improves pet health and welfare. “Embrace believes in giving back to the pet care community, and supporting HABRI research is perfectly aligned with our company values. We look forward to playing a supportive role for HABRI and helping discover more ways in...

Press Releases
Survey Shows Health Benefits of Pets Linked to Improved Veterinary Care

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) today announced the findings of a new survey on how knowledge of the scientific benefits of the human-animal bond impacts the way pet owners care for their companion animals. The survey asked pet owners about their awareness of research that shows pets improve human health and found that this knowledge motivated them to take better care of their pets, including a significant, positive impact on veterinary care. “When educated about the scientific research on the human-animal bond, pet owners are more likely to take important measures to improve pet health and augment their relationship with their veterinarians,” said AAHA Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (C/F). “AAHA-accredited animal hospitals continue to raise the standard for veterinary care across the country, and HABRI gives us another way to connect with pet owners to enhance that care.” When 2,000 pet owners were educated about the human health benefits of pet ownership: 92% said they were more likely to maintain a pet’s health, including keeping up with vaccines and preventive medicine 89% said they were more likely to maintain a pet’s health, including regular check-ups with a veterinarian 88% said they were more likely to provide a pet with higher quality nutrition 51% said they were more likely to purchase pet health insurance 62% said they were less likely to skip visits to the veterinarian 89% said they were more likely to take better care of a pet “When people find out that pets improve heart health, decrease stress, help alleviate depression and address specific conditions that include autism, PTSD and Alzheimer’s, they become more focused on caring for their pet’s health,” said HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman. “More awareness of human-animal bond science improves veterinary care and leads to a healthier pet population.” Veterinarians,...

Press Releases
New Study to Examine Social, Behavioral and Academic Effects of Pets in the Classroom

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) and the Pet Care Trust announced today they had awarded a combined $130,000 grant to American Humane, for a study titled, Pets in the Classroom (PIC): What are the Social, Behavioral, and Academic Effects of Classroom Pets for Children, 8-10 years? It is hypothesized that students with a classroom pet will experience increased social skills, improved academic competence and decreased competing problem behaviors compared to students who do not have a classroom pet. “Animals are common in today’s elementary school classrooms, and we are learning more and more about their positive impact on child well-being and development,” said principal investigator Dr. Amy McCullough, American Humane National Director of Research and Therapy. “This study will provide meaningful insight on the broad impact of child and animal relationships and help prepare schools and teachers with the responsibilities necessary to support the humane and effective incorporation of pets in classrooms and curricula.” The first phase of the PIC Study concluded in May 2015 and was supported by The Pet Care Trust, which operates the popular Pets in the Classroom grant program. The first phase consisted of surveying and interviewing teachers on their perspectives regarding the main benefits, challenges and uses of their classroom pets, which ranged from fish to guinea pigs, hamsters, bearded dragons, and others. This second phase of the study will examine approximately 650 students and parents, as well as 46 teachers from 23 U.S. third and fourth grade classrooms over the course of a nine-month school year. Students, teachers, and parents will complete questionnaires at three times throughout the study period to measure the social, behavioral, and academic effects of classroom pets and human-animal relationships on children. “The Pet Care Trust established the Pets in the Classroom educational grant program to provide children with an opportunity...

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!