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Animals May Ease Anxiety in Autistic Children

Pets are no longer just fun companions - new research suggests that docile animals, such as guinea pigs, can help to reduce anxiety in autistic children. Researchers from Purdue University recently designed an experiment that exposed children to three different activities for ten minutes each- first, reading aloud, secondly, reading aloud and group play, and lastly, play with a guinea pig. Their stress levels were measured by special devices on their wrists, and the device showed that their anxiety levels were the most significantly reduced while playing with the guinea pigs. The research also suggested that the guinea pigs could help autistic children expand on their feelings of empathy, and improve their social interactions.

While the researchers chose guinea pigs as opposed to cats and dogs because of their docile nature and the ease with which they can be taken care of, live animals are not for everyone. Fortunately, PlayAbility Toys offers a Buddy Dog stuffed animal and an Echo the Elephant stuffed animal with bright, contrasting colors that kids love. These sensory toys enrich children’s sensory experiences, and improve their sensory, cognitive, communication, and physical skills. Check them out today!

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