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The Meaning of Companion Animals for Children and Adolescents with Autism: The Parents' Perspective

Bystrom, Kristina M. and Lundqvist, Cristina LU (2015) In Anthrozoos 28(2). p.263-275
Abstract
The aim of this study was to understand parents' perspectives on how children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) benefit from a relationship with companion animals. Parents were invited to participate in focus-group discussions. One open-ended question with follow-up questions was asked and the parents' responses were subsequently categorized. Three main themes emerged: the quality of the relationship with the companion animal; increased interaction with people; and optimization of the child's function and development. The results show that companion animals can contribute to social and behavioral development support, and improved mental health and quality of life. The children's and adolescents' interests and activities... (More)
The aim of this study was to understand parents' perspectives on how children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) benefit from a relationship with companion animals. Parents were invited to participate in focus-group discussions. One open-ended question with follow-up questions was asked and the parents' responses were subsequently categorized. Three main themes emerged: the quality of the relationship with the companion animal; increased interaction with people; and optimization of the child's function and development. The results show that companion animals can contribute to social and behavioral development support, and improved mental health and quality of life. The children's and adolescents' interests and activities with companion animals were more social than non-social and of different quality than the restricted and repetitive activities in which children with ASD are normally engaged. Our findings describe a complementary developmental support for this vulnerable group of children and adolescents, which give them possibilities for expanded social contacts, diminished anxiety and depression, and facilitated learning. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
autism spectrum disorders, child development, human-companion animal, interaction
in
Anthrozoos
volume
28
issue
2
pages
263 - 275
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • wos:000355041100006
  • scopus:84953860266
ISSN
1753-0377
DOI
10.2752/089279315X14219211661813
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3d8117ac-8f98-43c0-929c-76e33b5e0223 (old id 7411495)
date added to LUP
2015-06-29 08:18:47
date last changed
2017-07-30 03:27:24
@article{3d8117ac-8f98-43c0-929c-76e33b5e0223,
  abstract     = {The aim of this study was to understand parents' perspectives on how children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) benefit from a relationship with companion animals. Parents were invited to participate in focus-group discussions. One open-ended question with follow-up questions was asked and the parents' responses were subsequently categorized. Three main themes emerged: the quality of the relationship with the companion animal; increased interaction with people; and optimization of the child's function and development. The results show that companion animals can contribute to social and behavioral development support, and improved mental health and quality of life. The children's and adolescents' interests and activities with companion animals were more social than non-social and of different quality than the restricted and repetitive activities in which children with ASD are normally engaged. Our findings describe a complementary developmental support for this vulnerable group of children and adolescents, which give them possibilities for expanded social contacts, diminished anxiety and depression, and facilitated learning.},
  author       = {Bystrom, Kristina M. and Lundqvist, Cristina},
  issn         = {1753-0377},
  keyword      = {autism spectrum disorders,child development,human-companion animal,interaction},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {263--275},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Anthrozoos},
  title        = {The Meaning of Companion Animals for Children and Adolescents with Autism: The Parents' Perspective},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279315X14219211661813},
  volume       = {28},
  year         = {2015},
}