Gesean wants to explore how genuine friendships with animals can be crucial for the social development of people with autism. Many adults with ASD desire friendships but end up living very socially isolated lives outside of their families. Because of this many opt to getting a pet and that pet becomes their primary source of friendship and community. But what if having a pet could be a catalyst for the development of social abilities that are needed for building human relationships? Gesean suspects that making a genuine social connection with an animal can be a precursor to forming genuine social connections with other people. To investigate these questions, Gesean plans to conduct a qualitative study that examines relationships between adults on the autism spectrum and their pets within the context of their everyday life experiences.