Did you know that dogs are often a source of great comfort for people on the autism spectrum? It is no surprise. Just think about how these two species share many similarities!
Dogs and Autism
Dogs are very intuitive. They know when a person is sad or needs to play. Many autistic children have severe problems with communication and require special care. Dogs can help autistic children learn about communicating, share their feelings and show them how to behave in society. Many autistic children are dog lovers from the time they are born.
Dogs as Therapy Animals
1. Dogs have been trained to help children with autism for years. These specially trained dogs are very well suited to this job. Autistic children often have problems with communication, and thus, a dog can help them learn how to talk with others and express their feelings.
2. Dogs can also protect autistic children if they feel that something is wrong or if they are just uncomfortable around people. The dog is a friend, and he will help the child by being there for them and helping them feel safe. Dogs can also help autistic children learn to read social cues because they don’t always understand the behavior of others. By spending time with a dog, a child can learn how to read these signals and better understand them.
3. Autistic children are often very sensitive, giving them some challenges with touching hard objects or feeling pain. Dogs can help them handle this. They will allow the autistic child to pet them, and they will not show signs of pain when touched. This makes it possible for the child to relax and not feel insecure around other people.
4. Another great thing about dogs is that they require very little training. The dog will be able to adjust to the needs of the person who is training him, and he will behave accordingly. Dogs also need very little care. Therefore, it is easier for an autistic child to learn how to take care of a dog than if he had a cat or a rabbit. He can practice how to bathe and feed the animal.
5. Dogs have a very calming effect on children. They can be trained to sit quietly for a long time. They will also react very well to the child’s behaviors and will be able to read them very accurately. As autistic children have a hard time reading these signals, this is a great benefit, especially when the dog wants attention or wants to play. The dog can help the autistic child learn how to calm down and how to control behavior.
6. Dogs also play a significant role in helping autistic children to be more social. When there is a dog around, the child will be eager to interact with other people because they want to show the dog that he can be sociable. This helps the child understand what it means to interact with others and how this works. Depending on the dog’s training, he can also help by giving high fives or sitting quietly when another person is speaking.
7. Children with autism often have sensory problems. This makes them want to avoid certain sensations such as touch. When they feel uncomfortable, they will often need space and peace and quiet. Dogs are very good at providing this because they are extremely relaxed. The child can relax around the dog because he knows that the animal won’t cause any pain or loud noises.
8. Another important thing about dogs is that they don’t stare at others. Instead, they look at people from the side. This makes them non-judgmental, and the child can learn how to react to this. Dogs also do not laugh or cry. They are usually very quiet. They won’t cause the child to feel self-conscious about his behavior because the animal won’t judge him on those things.
9. Dogs can also help children with autism by alerting them when it is time to do certain things, which will help them organize their days better. You must appropriately train the dog for this to be effective, though. Finally, when a dog is sick or needs a doctor, this is an excellent opportunity for the child to learn how to interact with healthcare professionals.
10. Dogs have even helped autistic people live independently by soothing their fears and helping them to be confident on their own. When an autistic person has a dog around, he feels safe and protected.
As you can see, dogs and autistic children can have a very beneficial relationship but only if the dog is adequately trained!
You may need to spend a little more time and money on training your dog. You may need to take your dog to obedience classes and agility classes. But the benefits your autistic child will receive from having a trained dog are enormous.
These are only some of the benefits of having trained therapy dogs in the lives of our autistic children. Do you anything to add?