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Autism Awareness Month: Studies on Autism and Pets

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Pets in the Classroom aquarium

April is Autism Awareness month.  As we gear up for a month of celebrating the unique traits of those with autism, bringing awareness to their circumstances, and searching for tools to aid in their development, the Pets in the Classroom grant program wants to share with you some of the research that has been done on how animals are providing growth in children with autism, specifically in the classroom.

In the past few years, numerous studies have been done and articles have been written discussing the benefits that animals can have with autistic children.  The articles and studies point to significant improvements in social skills and deceases in behavior problems when classroom pets are present:




Effects of classroom animal-assisted activities on social functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder.


Social Behaviors Increase in Children with Autism in the Presence of Animals Compared to Toys





Autism Speaks – Autism and Pets: More Evidence of Social Benefits


Autism Speaks – More Evidence that Pets Foster Social Skills in Children with Autism


Huffington Post – Pets May Help Improve Social Skills Of Children With Autism


LA Times – Teacher’s pet? Guinea pigs may help autistic kids in classroom – The Power of Pets: Animals Can Help Autistic Children Socialize


These studies and articles show that, through something as simple as a classroom pet, autistic students can make strides that their teachers and parents might not have otherwise thought possible.


For our teachers with autistic students, please take time to read through these articles and consider how a classroom pet could influence the students in your classroom.  If you would like to consider getting a classroom pet, please visit our website ( to learn more about classroom pets and to apply for a grant to aid in the cost of the animal and it’s supplies.



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