family, pets

The Reasons Autistic Children Need Dogs in Their Life

Everyone knows how beneficent having a dog is. Reducing the sense of loneliness and urging one to work out are merely a few of the many benefits. For autistic kids in particular, owning a dog might prove to be assisting in dealing with anxiety and other forms of life challenges.

Kids with autism need love, comfort, and empathy; this is exactly what dogs have and provide. ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is unfortunately a not-well-understood disability; organizations such as Autism Speaks (as well as uneducated folks) advertise some treatments which can cause serious damage to people with autism. Sensory toys, stress relief, and counseling sessions are some of the countless skills of self-care that exist. A good support system -which involves having a dog- though is one of the most effective means to live a better autism life.

If you are a parent of an autistic kid and you are still confused whether or not to get them a dog, the following are some reasons HOW it is very helpful for their development.

Encouraging Communication

A big number of people who have autism – kids and adults – cannot communicate verbally. Being unable to use words, they generally resort to body language in order to communicate. So, obliging a nonverbal child to talk is very dangerous, for it may lead to anxiety and distress. Being unable to speak and being noncapable are two hugely different things. There exist clearer, more loving and more comfortable ways people can consider while communicating with autistic kids. 

When not barking, dogs are always communicating in a nonverbal manner. To show that they need a certain treatment, they perform some compatible moves. If they need to pee for example, they usually scratch at the surface of something (a door). Children can learn many aspects of communication from dogs without the need of producing any sound. Children can learn from dogs that being silent and communicating can take place at the very same time. Besides, it is proved that being around dogs frequently can be helpful to autistic kids in acquiring the confidence of trying to speak. Not just that, dogs are supportive to kids in many other ways.

Buffers and/or Lubricants

Autistic kids find social interactions very challenging, because being unable to handle anxiety and decipher communication codes (hints) are the main factors of autism. Pets usually take the initiative to approach other kids; consequently, these kids make a reaction and based on it your kid may have an idea to whether they are down for communication or not. Moreover, dogs can encourage autistic kids to talk by initiating the conversation with others.

Your kid can also spend some time with other children without being required to speak (playing fetch game or fondling a pet are examples of silent activities). Dogs can also prevent the pressure of autistic kids by wearing a badge of service worker that tells others about your child’s unseen disability. When people see the emotion-supportive pet, they realize that your kid requires special and sensitive treatment.

Emotional Assistance when Breaking down

People usually consider autism meltdown to be a tantrum, which is not very true. A meltdown happens when the body has too much negative energy due to the senses overload or over-stimulation. This is similar to the common panic when the rate of the heart and emotions get out of control. Dogs are extraordinarily emotionally intelligent; they can feel it when people are not okey.

Generally speaking, when a kid is crying their dog cuddle them or lick their face. And if it’s a trained puppy, breakdowns can be spotted before taking place. Trained dogs are equipped with the technique of gently approaching and snuggling up with people who are having a meltdown. This can be helpful in regulating a child’s feelings and calm them down. Besides, in risky or harmful situations, they would search for possible exits leading the kid to safety.

A Decrease of Stress

Many research papers have shown that having a dog has various advantages and that petting has considerable health-related benefits. Johns Hopkins Medicine states that “simply petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol , while the social interaction between people and their dogs actually increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin (the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies).” For kids with autism, petting might be considered as a way of stemming which is very assisting to them. In addition to their amazing ability to help children pass a breakdown, dogs can also reduce the feeling of stress eventually. Be around a fury bud during most of the day time, your kid is likely to be more relaxed and at ease. In busy or hard days, coping sessions of autistic kids can sometimes be compensated by playing with their funny friend.

Self-Independence Encouragement

Owning a dog helps greatly in terms of encouraging kids’ independence. Autistic kids need this help more than others, because they are vulnerable to fear of failure and anxiety. So, assign your kid more tasks and responsibilities to do with their pet such as brushing it, feeding it, and holding its leash while outdoors.

To begin with, letting your kid choose which dog to get, gives him/her more responsibility. For autistic children, there exist so many wonderful pets. But still, the best one for them will always be that they personally chose. In contrary of what is wrongly believed by so many, children with autism are very caring and empathetic. And if you want them to even increase their sense of empathy and the feel-good about themselves, take them to get a rescue dog.