Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #259

The Effects of Human-Animal Interaction on Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Sunday, May 26, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich D
Area: AAB; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Valeri Farmer-Dougan, Ph.D.
Chair: Valeri Farmer-Dougan (Illinois State University)
MARGUERITE O'HAIRE (Purdue University)

Dr. Marguerite (Maggie) O’Haire is an internationally recognized Fulbright Scholar who is currently an Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction in the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. She earned her BA in Psychology from Vassar College in New York and her Ph.D. in Psychology from The University of Queensland in Australia. Her research program focuses on the unique and pervasive ways that humans interact with animals. From research with household pets to highly trained service animals, her findings have been instrumental in evaluating the value of the human-animal bond. She has received funding from three different NIH institutes to fund her human-animal interaction research, including an NICHD-funded trial of animal-assisted intervention for autism. In addition to her peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, her work has also been highlighted in over 1,000 media stories around the globe, including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. For more information, see


The field of human-animal interaction encompasses the unique and pervasive relationships between humans and animals. These relationships can influence human health, well-being, and development. An emerging body of research has begun to systematically evaluate these effects across a broad range of populations and settings. One population that has received growing attention is children with autism spectrum disorder. This talk will review the evidence base for this practice as well as provide concrete examples of research with various animal species, including guinea pigs in inclusion classroom settings and therapy dogs in a specialized psychiatric hospital program.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify different types of animal-assisted intervention; (2) describe outcomes of animal-assisted intervention for autism spectrum disorder; (3) list behavioral changes from animal presence.



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