This 6-year-old autistic boy reads to shelter dogs to keep them company

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Wednesday 18 May 2016 15:00
news

The internet isn’t all conspiracy theories and Kim Kardashian: sometimes you can find stories which positively melt your heart.

This is one of those stories.

Jacob Tumalan is six years old and he has autism

Picture: NBC News

He also likes to read stories to rescue dogs

Picture: ABC News

Jacob’s aunt, Lisa Dekowski-Ferranti volunteers at California’s Carson Animal Shelter, and one day she decided to take Jacob with her.

Ferranti told NBC Los Angeles:

Jacob is so calming…he walks through and he's not yelling or banging on the cages. He comes with a book and his mat and sets it up, and the dogs just listen.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) sometimes need special care to maximise their social development, and studies suggest that interacting with animals may act as a ‘buffer’ against social stress.

Jacob’s mum, Katie, told ABC News:

My son has always had a big problem with loud noises and a lot of activity around him.

When he's [at the shelter], he looks like he's pretty focused and he could block a lot of that out. At times he'll cover his ears, but he stays in tune with the dogs while reading his books, so that's pretty awesome to me.

Jacob is part of a group called 'Rescue Readers', led by his cousin, Lindsey, and he has been reading to rescue dogs for the last six months.

Jacob himself told NBC Los Angeles:

If I read to the dogs they will come out of their cages and find homes. They have to find new homes because they are alone.

More: The signs that can indicate whether you have any autistic traits

More: Everyone in this completely awesome Finnish punk rock band has either Down's syndrome or autism

Trending