Autism strongly affects the ability to establish social interactions. However, there is some suggestion that people with autism establish close social relationships with nonverbal communicating and intentionally acting animals (such as dogs). In this study, 14 children with autism (3 females, 11 males; mean age=11.4 years) were observed when given the choice to interact with a person, dog (certified therapy dog) or objects (e.g., toys). The children interacted most frequently and for longest with the dog, followed by the person and then the objects. We suggest that animals, specifically dogs, communicate their intentions in a way more readily understandable to people with autism. We also suggest that autism affects predominantly interpersonal interactions.
|Author Address||Technical University of Munich, University Hospital rechts der Isar, Children's Hospital, Koelner Platz 1, D-80804 Munich, Germany.email@example.com|
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