A friend and Donkey Dream supporter [Thanks, Cathy!] sent me a link to a wonderful story about an autistic boy who after years of frustration of trying to communicate, found comfort and companionship with cats. The child's father had tried a lot of things, and one day read about an autistic girl who had been brought out of her inner world by her relationships with therapy horses. He decided to begin taking his son to as many places as he could with animals, to see what the reaction might be, and he started with the local animal shelter.
Having grown up around dogs, the father showed the young boy the area with all the shelter dogs. No reaction. But when they walked by the cat area awhile later, his four year old autistic son yelled out , "Cat!". They took a cat home, and from day one, they could hear the son in the other room, with his cat, having conversations.
I was so touched how the father pointed out that at that moment, talking to that cat, that child finally had language. He had only needed, he went onto say,
someone with the patience to listen and not ask him to repeat himself or explain what he meant.
The article "Cats and Autism" had many comments from readers, dealing with various conditions like autism who have also been helped by animal therapy.
You can read the full article here