Parents' perspectives on the value of assistance dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder: a cross-sectional study

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dc.contributor.author Burgoyne, Louise N.
dc.contributor.author Dowling, Lisa
dc.contributor.author Fitzgerald, Anthony P.
dc.contributor.author Connolly, Micaela
dc.contributor.author Browne, John P.
dc.contributor.author Perry, Ivan J.
dc.date.accessioned 2014-07-23T09:13:18Z
dc.date.available 2014-07-23T09:13:18Z
dc.date.issued 2014-05
dc.identifier.citation BURGOYNE, L. N., DOWLING, L., FITZGERALD, A. P., CONNOLLY, M., BROWNE, J. P. & PERRY, I. J. 2014. Parents’ perspectives on the value of assistance dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open, 4, e004786. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-004786 en
dc.identifier.volume 4 en
dc.identifier.issued 6 en
dc.identifier.startpage e004786 en
dc.identifier.issn 2044-6055
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/1596
dc.identifier.doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-004786
dc.description.abstract Objective While there is an emerging literature on the usefulness of assistance dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there is a dearth of quantitative data on the value of assistance dog interventions for the family unit and family functioning. Using previously validated scales and scales developed specifically for this study, we measured parents’/guardians’ perceptions of how having an assistance dog affects: (1) child safety from environmental dangers, (2) public reception of ASD and (3) levels of caregiver strain and sense of competence. We also obtained open-ended response data from parents/guardians on benefits and constraints of having an assistance dog. Setting This study was based in the primary care setting, within the context of a specific accredited assistance dog centre in Ireland. Participants A total of 134 parents/guardians with an assistance dog, and 87 parents of children on the waiting list were surveyed. Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary outcome measures were scores on environmental hazards and public reception scales. The secondary outcome measures were scores on caregiver strain and competence scales. Results Parents/guardians of children who have ASD and an assistance dog rate their child as significantly safer from environmental dangers (p<0.001), perceive that the public act more respectfully and responsibly towards their child (p<0.001) and feel more competent about managing their child (p=0.023) compared with parents on the waiting list. There was a concentration of positive feeling towards assistance dog interventions with particular focus on safety and comfort for children, and a sense of freedom from family restrictions associated with ASD. The amount of dedication and commitment required to care for a dog were viewed as the primary constraints. Conclusions Our findings indicate that parents perceive that assistance dog interventions can be a valuable intervention for families with children who have ASD. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher BMJ Publishing Group en
dc.relation.uri http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/4/6/e004786.abstract
dc.rights This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ en
dc.subject Autism spectrum disorder en
dc.subject Assistance dogs en
dc.title Parents' perspectives on the value of assistance dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder: a cross-sectional study en
dc.type Article (peer-reviewed) en
dc.internal.authorcontactother Louise Burgoyne, Epidemiology & Public Health, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. +353-21-490-3000 Email: l.burgoyne@ucc.ie en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.date.updated 2014-06-16T08:53:09Z
dc.description.version Accepted Version en
dc.internal.rssid 259518519
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.identifier.journaltitle BMJ Open en
dc.internal.copyrightchecked No en
dc.internal.licenseacceptance Yes en
dc.internal.IRISemailaddress l.burgoyne@ucc.ie en
dc.internal.IRISemailaddress j.browne@ucc.ie en


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This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/
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