Pigs help young brothers with autism

Jacob and Keegan. Originally published in The Oklahoman, photo credit  Nate Billings

Jacob and Keegan. Originally published in The Oklahoman, photo credit Nate Billings

Yukon, Oklahoma – Jacob, Keegan and Harrison Howell are triplets aged 12 and all are on the autism spectrum

Jacob and Keegan participated last summer in the Agvocates for Exeptional Individuals program that helps children with special needs by teaching them to care for and exhibit livestock.

By taking care of an animal Jacob’s verbal skills and social interaction improved, their father, Duane Howell said:

“We’d never been around any livestock,” Duane Howell said. “What we noticed was that the animals came to them, the animals initiated a social connection between them.”

Jacob and Keegan quickly learned how to guide a pig around a room and eventually they competed in a show.

At the recent Oklahoma Youth Fair Expo at the State Fair Park, Jacob’s pig Lindsay Loham, came third in the commercial gilt category. Keegan’s pig Ocho came sixth in the show.

Duane Howell said:

“Pigs are some of the most social animals for kids on the autism spectrum,” “They made a bond.”

The arrticle by Robert Medley, which originally appeared in the Oklahoman newspaper can be viewed on the NewsOk.com website