Science shows that interacting with animals may have big health benefits. Pets can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, increase the amount of exercise people get and decrease stress. Now, a new study finds that animals also may significantly increase positive social behaviors in children who have an autism spectrum disorder.
“The presence of animals appears to encourage social interaction among children with autism,” study author Marguerite O’Haire, a PhD candidate at The University of Queensland in Australia, told The Huffington Post. “Including an animal in children’s playtime or home activities may be an effective way to encourage socialization with other children as well as adults.”