09 août 2014

Social behaviors increase in children with autism in the presence of animals compared to toys

Traduction: G.M.

 2013;8(2):e57010. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057010. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Les comportements sociaux augmentent chez les enfants autistes dans la présence d'animaux par rapport aux jouets

  • 1School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. maggie.ohaire@gmail.com


Previous research has demonstrated the capacity of animal presence to stimulate social interaction among humans. The purpose of this study was to examine the interactions of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with an adult and their typically-developing peers in the presence of animals (two guinea pigs) compared to toys.


Ninety-nine children from 15 classrooms in 4 schools met the inclusion criteria and participated in groups of three (1 child with ASD and 2 typically-developing peers). Each group was video-recorded during three 10-minute, free-play sessions with toys and three 10-minute, free-play sessions with two guinea pigs. Two blinded observers coded the behavior of children with ASD and their peers. To account for the nested study design, data were analyzed using hierarchical generalized linear modeling.


Participants with ASD demonstrated more social approach behaviors (including talking, looking at faces, and making tactile contact) and received more social approaches from their peers in the presence of animals compared to toys. They also displayed more prosocial behaviors and positive affect (i.e., smiling and laughing) as well as less self-focused behaviors and negative affect (i.e., frowning, crying, and whining) in the presence of animals compared to toys.
Les participants avec TSA ont montré plus de comportements d'approche sociale (y compris parler, regarder des visages, et faire des contacts tactiles) et ont reçu plus d'approches sociales de leurs pairs en présence d'animaux par rapport aux jouets. Ils ont également manifesté plus de comportements prosociaux et d'affects positifs (c'est à dire, en souriant et en riant) ainsi que moins de comportements auto-centrés et d'affects négatifs (c.-à-, les sourcils froncés, pleurer, gémir et) en présence des animaux par rapport aux jouets. 


These results suggest that the presence of an animal can significantly increase positive social behaviors among children with ASD.
Ces résultats suggèrent que la présence d'un animal peut augmenter de manière significative les comportements sociaux positifs chez les enfants avec TSA


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