The use of service dogs to aid those with autism has been on the rise in recent years, but in a new trend so-called therapy dogs play a similar role in shorter bursts.

While service dogs traditionally are trained to be full-time companions for an individual, therapy dogs work with a variety of kids at residential schools and treatment centers.

The dogs are capable of withstanding high levels of stress, allowing them to act as a calming influence when a person gets frustrated or loses control. More than that, however, kids are encouraged to pet, play with and care for the dogs, tasks that can form a bond that experts say allows them to relax and improve communication skills.

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While not everyone responds to the animals, progress can be remarkable for some. One teacher said her functionally nonverbal students are more motivated to learn to speak now that Yori, a yellow Labrador retriever mix, started attending classes, reports The New York Times. To read more click here.

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