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Dogs, cats and other animals may help autistic children to be more assertive, says a new research. A study by the University of Missouri researcher has found that children with autism have stronger social skills when any kind of pet lived in the home.
Research fellow Gretchen Carlisle surveyed 70 families who had children with autism between the ages of 8 and 18. Carlisle said that when she compared the social skills of children with autism who lived with dogs to those who did not, the children with dogs appeared to have greater social skills.
She also found that children's social skills increased the longer a family had owned a dog, yet older children rated their relationships with their dogs as weaker. Many books will tell you the latest theories about what causes Autistic Spectrum Disorder, ranging from severe autism to Aspergers syndrome, but what you really want to know is how to get a good night’s sleep, or find time for your other children. Carly was a severely autistic little girl unable to speak a word or connect to the world around her in any way.
Something extraordinary happened to Carly Fleischmann, a severely autistic 14-year-old who, unable to speak, was once written off as mentally deficient. There are experts and skeptics who believe that nonverbal people like Carly are incapable of thinking or writing.
Her words may never have been found if not for the relentless determination of her family, who never gave up on her. Born in Toronto, Carly was 2 years old when it became clear she wasn’t keeping up with her twin sister, Taryn.
Experts told the Fleischmanns that early intervention was critical, and since Carly was 3, her therapy has been intensive and unrelenting, sometimes working with three to four different therapists daily for up to 60 hours each week.
But if there was intelligence, Carly’s ceaseless rocking, flailing arms and tantrums hid any trace of it. For many years, Nicole Walton-Allen, a clinical psychologist, led Carly’s therapy program.
But then one day, three years ago, when Carly was 11, she was working with two of her therapists when she started to feel sick.
Carly’s typing showed them that there was a lot more going on inside her head than they had thought. Because nobody apart from two people had ever seen it, the skeptics were desperate to see proof. Through her torrent of words, Carly began to unravel some of the mysteries behind her often wild behavior, like banging her head. Carly started to realize that by communicating she had power over her environment, and she wasn’t shy about expressing her desires and frustrations.
For the first time, Carly was able to have conversations with her parents, even instant-messaging her father at his office. Carly has been very clear that she sees herself as a normal child locked in a body that she has little to no control over. Side by side with her twin sister, Taryn, it would be easy to dismiss Carly as intellectually challenged. Carly’s brain, unlike most of ours, is overwhelmed by the senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.

Carly’s family and therapists emphasize that no one is physically directing her to type, as some skeptics, they claim, have suggested. Besides her obvious spunk and tenacity, Carly is empathetic and recognizes the love and sacrifice her family has made for her, something she conveyed to her father on his birthday. He also notes that Carly’s breakthrough was the result of thousands of dollars spent on years of intensive therapy. But experts we spoke to said Carly’s abilities are extremely rare and that her case should not raise false hope. Two years ago, working with pictures and symbols on a computer keyboard, she started typing and spelling out words. Then Carly began opening up, describing what it was like to have autism and why she makes odd noises or why she hits herself. Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date.
Therapists say the key lesson from Carly’s story is for families to never give up and to be ever creative in helping children with autism find their voice.
Carly Fleischmann, 13, is autistic, but after years of training, is able to articulate her feelings and thoughts.
Question: “Carly, I am so happy you found a way to communicate with those around you! Hello, Im a mother of two beautifull austic kids, one is a 14 yr old boy, and my other one is a 8 yr old girl.
I saw Carly yesterday on the TV show the Doctor’s I was just simply blown away by Carly.
To learn more about the history, meaning, power, and growing influence of near-death experiences, watch NHNE's How Near-Death Experiences Are Changing The World. Almost 70 percent of the families that participated had dogs, and about half of the families had cats. More significantly, however, the data revealed that children with any kind of pet in the home reported being more likely to engage in behaviours such as introducing themselves, asking for information or responding to other people's questions. This supportive guide helps parents understand their ASD child and offers practical advice. Carly’s story is how one child found her way out of the dense forest that is autism, and how her experience may unlock the mysteries of this baffling disorder. When her parents, Arthur and Tammy Fleischmann, learned the diagnosis was autism they expected the worst — that one of their twins would never achieve milestones most take for granted. Like most autistic children, she was lost in her own world, perpetually swimming under water. Unable to communicate what she needed, she ran to a computer and began to type for the first time.
Her therapists were shocked: They had never specifically taught her those words, and they wondered where she had learned them. Her family stopped looking at her as a disabled person and instead met the funny, sassy, intelligent girl that had been trapped inside. A family member or aide is always at her side, directing her through simple daily tasks like brushing her teeth, fixing her hair, even eating.

It’s the kind of money most families unfortunately could never afford to spend on their autistic children. She also has her own internet blog and twitters regularly, answering questions from people all over North America about her experience with autism. But thanks to years of expensive and intensive therapy, this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can’t talk or I act differently than them. She provides rare insight into a world few people understand, and she answered some of our viewers’ questions below. Your amazing courage, and inspiration has encouraged me to try this new way of communicating with my kids.
I never understood why he did the things he did but I always knew he could communicate by written word .he could write letters just like Carly types words her story touched me because she is helping the world see there is a person inside that wants to get out . Other pets owned by participants included fish, farm animals, rodents, rabbits, reptiles, a bird and even a spider. Such social skills typically are difficult for kids with autism, but the study showed children's assertiveness was greater if they lived with a pet. Carlisle said that kids with autism were highly individual and unique, so some other animals might provide just as much benefit as dogs.
Many nights Carly only slept four hours and, unable to control herself, still displayed disruptive behaviors. Thousands of hours over months and years passed, and Carly’s progress was excruciatingly slow. After nine years of intensive therapy, and not much to show for it, Carly was finally emerging out of her silent, secret world. If I could stop it I would but it is not like turning a switch off, it does not work that way. I can only imagine how challenging and difficult things have been for all concerned, especially your sister. We would have never seen how she could write these things  how articulate she is, how intelligent she is,” the grateful father added. I’m not autistic, but I feel like this is an amazing real life story that people need to see.
Friends had suggested that they place Carly in a group home or institution, an idea her parents rejected. Several months later, Carly started to type, and what came through her finger, typing one letter at a time, with fluency that no one could believe, was simply remarkable. In the old days you would say mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential,” Arthur Fleischman said. His situation seems similar enough to the autistic kids that i wonder if using an iPad might help him as well.

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