Ann Arbor, MI (October 26, 2021) — Story Time at the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) just got warmer and fuzzier.

“We’ve offered our Little Paws Story Time for several years, but we know some children struggle with sitting still for longer stories, or feel overwhelmed by bright lights or crowded spaces,” says Jessie Hitt, HSHV’s Humane Education Manager. “So we’ve started ‘Sensory Story Time’ to offer a welcoming space for neurodivergent and autistic children and their families.”

Sensory Story Time recently launched on select Tuesday mornings at HSHV. It includes stories, fingerplays, and personal interactions with the adoptable animals—along with modifications like low lighting, ample space for freedom of movement and multi-sensory play activities.

“We don’t want anyone to feel discouraged from participating in story time because they were worried their child may not ‘fit in,’” says Hitt. “There’s room for everyone who loves animals here, and the unconditionally-loving animals wholeheartedly agree.”

Research shows that youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) benefit from interactions with animals. A study published by the National Institute for Health showed children with ASD talked more, looked at others’ faces more, and demonstrated increased prosocial behaviors like smiling and laughing more when in the presence of animals.

Find out more about Sensory Story Time and sign up at