As a Special Education Teacher at ACCEL, behaviors of individuals with autism has been remarkably consistent over time with the help of ABA therapy services, which include pet therapy and individualized education program.

What are your thoughts about pet therapy for this population? How is it proven to be beneficial?

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Dorian, please take a look here . This in general applies for all Stackexchange sites ... $\endgroup$
    – bummi
    Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ I suggest to drop "What are your thoughts about pet therapy for this population?", as it inspires subjectivity (you can edit). The other question seems okay. +1 $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


There is some evidence that pet therapy are effective for individuals with autism. The studies did not differentiate between children and adult though it is likely that the studies are focused on children.

This 2012 systematic review by O'Haire found increased social interaction and communication as well as a decrease in problem behaviors, autistic severity, and stress. There is a strong suspicion of publication bias and also a lack of control arms for comparison. O'Haire found 14 studies ranging from 1989 to 2012 that had outcome data for her review.

Another interesting 2012 French study by Grandgeorge et al) looked at the prosocial impact of having a pet in 260 families with children. What I thought was interesting was that having a pet since birth had minimal impact on the child which were the same rate as children without pets. However, if the family got a new pet after the age of 5, there was evidence of an increase in prosocial behavior.


Grandgeorge, M., Tordjman, S., Lazartigues, A., Lemonnier, E., Deleau, M., & Hausberger, M. (2012). Does Pet Arrival Trigger Prosocial Behaviors in Individuals with Autism? PLOS ONE, 7(8), e41739.

O’Haire, M. (2012). Animal-Assisted Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Vol 43, pg 1606–1622.


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