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When you think about guinea pigs, you don’t necessarily think of their therapeutic value. Yet within a safe school environment, these little critters go to the head of the class when it comes to helping students with autism improve their social skills.
Bundles of personality in furry frames, guinea pigs have been delighting pet owners for ages with their spirited squeaks and cuddly behavior. Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia and Purdue University in Indiana conducted an experiment to test how students interacted with their peers and adults while playing with either toys or guinea pigs. The study found that children with autism who played with guinea pigs showed greater improvement in their social skills
than those who played with a colorful variety of toys. In addition, the animals helped create a bridge between children with general and special needs.
What behavior have you noticed when your child or student plays with an animal? Please comment below.