Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


School of Nursing


Nursing (B.S.N.)


autism spectrum disorder, dogs


Pediatric Nursing | Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that primarily affects neurological development, causing decreased social aptness, diminished executive function, and abnormal sensory processing, among many other characteristic symptoms. Additional problems that often accompany ASD include anxiety disorders, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Canine assisted animal therapy is one non-pharmacologic therapy option that has been researched for children with ASD to improve their social, psychological, mental, and other difficulties. Studies thus far have shown positive results in children with ASD who have dogs as pets or access to therapy dogs, including improved social functioning, decreased anxiety, overall improved behavior, and increased responsibility and task completion.