Can cats be autistic?

Autism: Pets can reduce stress for both parents and children

24.07.2020

Parents of children with autism are usually exposed to more stress than parents of children without this condition. American researchers have now observed that pets, such as cats or dogs, can reduce stress for both parents and children and convey joy and affection.

Research from the University of Missouri has now found that pets lead to stronger bonds and less stress for both children with autism and their parents.

Gretchen Carlisle, a researcher at the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, interviewed more than 700 families on the Interactive Autism Network the benefits and pressures of having a dog or cat in the family. She found that despite taking responsibility for caring for pets, both children with autism and their parents develop strong bonds with their pets. Indeed, pet ownership seemed to have more advantages than disadvantages.
"Given that the characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder are so broad, it can be difficult to identify measures that can be helpful," said Carlisle. "Some of the key challenges for children with autism are their anxiety and their communication difficulties. Because pets can help improve social interaction and reduce anxiety, we have found that they not only affect children with autism, but also their parents emotionally and." also support differently. "
For parents considering adding a pet to their family, Carlisle recommends involving the child in the decision and making sure that the pet's exercise needs are well aligned with the child's needs.
"Some children with autism have specific sensitivities, so a large, noisy dog ‚Äč‚Äčthat is very active, for example, may be sensory overload to some children, while a calm cat may be more appropriate," said Carlisle. "My goal is to provide parents with evidence-based information so they can make informed decisions about their families."

Sources: ScienceDaily, MU College of Veterinary Medicine Missouri, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders