London: Dogs can help reduce stress in parents of children with autism, a new study has suggested.
Researchers at thee University of Lincoln compared 20 families with dogs with 20 without. They found the canines had helped the families in many ways, from developing language and establishing a routine to using the pet to request action in a non-confrontational way.
Lead researcher Daniel Mills told a Royal Society of Medicine conference that early results suggested any breed of dogs could improve communication and relationships.
"While there is no shortage of opinion on how dogs can help, there has been little money given to scientifically look into this," the `BBC` quoted as saying Prof Mills who hopes to
use video footage to show how the man`s best friend can help improve child eating, sleeping and tantrum behaviour.
The Dogs for the Disabled charity in the UK has had 1,300 inquiries during the past six months from parents of children with autism asking how dogs could help them.
Chief executive Peter Gorbing said: "Dogs are relatively low-cost and low-tech. Now is our moment. People were previously sceptical of what role they could play, but
recently I have found a more receptive audience. Things are changing rapidly."