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Man’s Best Friend Comes Through for Autistic Children

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Lucas Verschall, 6, who is autistic, loves walking his new friend Sam, an assistance dog his family got five months ago from the North Star Foundation in Storrs, CT. Autistic children typically relate very well to dogs. (Courtesy of Jeff Verschell)

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Jeff Verschell and his sons Lucas, 6, who is autistic, and Hunter, 4, took their assistance dog Sam with them to the pumpkin patch this Halloween. (Courtesy of Jeff Verschell)

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The Verschell family with Sam, their assistance dog, visiting SeaWorld. (Courtesy of Jeff Verschell)

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Parents are turning to specially trained dogs to help autistic children. Children who are uninterested in human friendships sometimes form close bonds with dogs, though parents should exercise caution when purchasing an autism dog, because the temperament and training of a dog needs to be closely matched to the reactions of an autistic child.


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