Published on January 13th, 2014 | by admin

Helping children with autism: the unlikely heroes

Maggie O’Haire returns to Human Animal Science to discuss her innovative research (based at the University of Queensland) helping children with autism with assistance from some unassuming guinea pigs. Maggie is currently completing her PhD and is Project Director for an NICHD-WALTHAM funded grant to study Animal-Assisted Intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder and their peers. The results are amazing!

Listen to this podcast:

Human Animal Interaction Research 


O’Haire, M. E., McKenzie, S. J., Beck, A. M., & Slaughter, V. (2013). Social skills increase in children with autism in the presence of animals compared to toys. PLoS ONE, 8(2), e57010. [web] [PDF]

O’Haire, M. E. (2012). Animal-assisted intervention for autism spectrum disorder: A systematic literature review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1707-5 (link)

O’Haire, M. E., Rand J. S., McKenzie, S. J., & Slaughter, V. (2010). Guinea pigs as classroom pets: Helping children with autism and their peers. Society for Companion Animal Studies Journal, XXII (4), 11-13(PDF)

If you’d like to support further research in this area, you can donate to the
Australian Anthrozoological Research Foundation

Donate to AARF



Image credit: Flickr/kimandchantelle

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