The beauty of guinea pigs in schools

Guinea pigs don’t bully and don’t judge. Characteristically, they are tactile, amiable and social. They comfortably tuck into the laps of the child and are very cute and lovely. When guinea pigs are introduced to school for children to play with, it was found that there is a high likelihood of children having autism spectrum disorder to attend, they become less anxious and tend to display social behavior that is more interactive.

In studies undertaken previously, Australian researchers captured the results after surveying teachers and parents or asked independent observers to undertake an analysis of video tapes that involved children playing. However, the new report analyzed physiological data that pointed at the calming effect that these children have on the children.

Kids were put in groups of three and were given two guinea pigs to play with. One of the kids in the group had the spectrum while the other two peers were typically developing. All the 99 children involved in the study were aged between 5 and 12 years and had wrist bands, which monitored their levels of arousal and the electric charges racing via the skin was measured. The levels of arousal could suggest if the subject is feeling excited or anxious.

High arousal levels reported

When the children were given the guinea pigs for the first time, they reported not only to feel happy but higher arousal levels were also reported by them as well. The animal’s novelty was believed to be the main reason behind the great excitement showed by the children. In addition to this, children having autism spectrum disorders reported also to feel elated even though their levels of arousal as indicated by their wrist band showed a decline. The researchers concluded that there is a likelihood that the animals managed to lower the stress of the children. The lead researcher, Geraldine Dawson added that the work was very promising. She said that autism is in most cases associated with high arousal levels as well as anxiety that tend to interfere with the child’s social interaction.

She said that the modest intervention could be adapted readily by teachers trying to cope with limited resources. She said that they didn’t know what are the mechanisms involved. There is a possibility that it is much easier for them to interact with others when a third object is introduced unlike in face to face interaction. And when these autism children play with toys when two other children were present, there was no elevation in their arousal levels. Something helpful about this animal was found and most likely, the children had no doubt that the Guinea pig loves them.