Pets can improve both mental and physical health for all people, but a new study suggests that introducing an animal of any kind, to an autistic child at the right time in life may help with human bonding as well.

French researchers studied 40 children with autism and their families, examining whether the family had a pet and, if so, when the animal was acquired, and whether the presence or absence of a pet had any influence on the autistic child’s ability to bond.  It appeared that having a pet at all didn’t matter as much as when the pet was introduced to the home.

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Pets Can Help Autistic Children Learn to Share and Comfort Others