Can dogs help treat children with ADHD?

June 14, 2011

IN THE NEWS: The girl, looking something like a well-mannered cherub, sat primly with her hands folded, raised her hand to speak, and made direct eye contact as her teacher told a story. Her reward: permission to leave the table and join Cinder, a large, friendly golden retriever and a glutton for affection, on the classroom rug.

The girl is among six children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder who are taking part in a four-year, $2.2 million experiment by scientists at UC Irvine, according to an Orange County Register article. The question: Can dogs help the children learn to act appropriately in social situations? And will animal-assisted therapy yield more solid, lasting effects than non-animal conditioning?

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