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Research Project

in partnership with The National Autistic Society and the University of Lincoln

Partner logosAnecdotal evidence suggests that owning a pet dog can have a positive impact on children with autism and the family as a whole. Currently there is little information as to what types of interactions with pet dogs result in beneficial effects for children with autism and other family members, what exactly these benefits might be, and whether certain traits (such as breed or age) may make particular pet dogs more effective.

We have just completed a three year research project investigating why dogs affect children with autism and the impact on the family as a whole through a partnership with The National Autistic Society and the University of Lincoln’s Department of Biological Sciences.  All results will be made available in the coming months, but in the meantime the highlights are provided in a short film including some or our research participants (click here to see the film).

This research will help us provide more detailed guidance for families seeking a pet dog as to exactly what they and their child with autism may expect to gain, what type of dog may be best for their family, and how they can gain the most benefits from their relationship with their pet dog.

PAWS is the first ever project of its kind, so in partnership with The National Autistic Society and the University of Lincoln, we were awarded a grant to carry out this research  funded by The National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

We are grateful to all the families who took part in the research and made it a success.

For summaries of research studies to date examining interactions between dogs and children with autism, visit our research studies page.