A new study shows that pets can aid children with autism.
French researchers found that giving an autistic child a cuddly pet after the age of five improved both sharing and the ability to offer comfort - traits that autistic kids often lack.
Oddly, those autistic children who grew up with a pet, did not show any improvements, reported Fox News.
The key is the arrival of the pet, said researchers.
"In individuals with autism, pet arrival in the family setting may bring about changes in specific aspects of their socio-emotional development," the researchers wrote in their study, according to WebMd.
The small, novel study is the first of its kind to look at the connection between autism with the adoption of a pet.
"To my knowledge, this is the first time that a study has demonstrated that the adoption of a pet is linked to social improvements for individuals with autism," says co-author Marine Grandgeorge of France's Hopital de Bohars, reported the Daily Mail.
Researchers warned, however, that the study was too small to be considered causal and that more research is needed.
The new study appeared in the journal PLoS One.