Changes in behavioural synchrony during dog-assisted therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder and children with Down syndrome

Richard Eric Griffioen*, Steffie van der Steen, Theo Verheggen, Marie-Jose Enders-Slegers, Ralf Cox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Dog-assisted therapy (DAT) is hypothesized to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Down syndrome (DS).

METHODS: The present authors compared synchronous movement patterns of these children (n = 10) and their therapy dogs during the first and last session of a DAT programme, and their post-therapy changes in emotional and behavioural problems.

RESULTS: The present authors found a significant increase in synchrony between child and therapy dog over time. Exploratory analyses suggest more synchrony between children with ASD and their therapy dogs, compared to the children with DS.

CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to test the synchrony hypothesis, shedding light upon a mechanism that may underlie the effect of DAT and how this may be different for children with ASD and DS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-408
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Volume33
Issue number3
Early online date6-Dec-2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May-2020

Keywords

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • behavioural synchrony
  • cross-recurrence quantification analysis
  • Dog-assisted therapy
  • Down syndrome
  • COMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT
  • INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY
  • LEARNING-DISABILITIES
  • EARLY RECOGNITION
  • INFANT SYNCHRONY
  • EFFECT SIZE
  • ADOLESCENTS
  • PARENT
  • GAZE
  • INTERVENTION

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