Does your family include a dog? If not, you should consider adding fluff to your brood.
Why do you ask? Well, dogs can build bonds with autistic kids in remarkable ways. We love our kids and do our best to meet their needs. But sometimes, a dog is that magic ingredient that makes all the difference.
Impressive Benefits Dogs Provide Children with Autism
Here are a few of the impressive health benefits of dogs to your children with autism.
It’s notoriously difficult for autistic children to build friendships with other kids. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need friends. It can be challenging to navigate this because there’s no way to force friendships and understanding.
Dogs can help! Research shows that in 94% of autistic families who own dogs, their autistic child is bonded to the dog. That’s a huge number!
Getting a dog means there’s a high chance of your autistic child making their first lifelong, ever-loving friend.
Dogs have an unusually calming presence. They don’t get flustered quickly, especially service dogs. A dog is an ideal companion to calm your child down when they have a meltdown.
Therapy dogs are trained to sense emotions and calm their owner down. When your kid’s dog senses that an emotional breakdown is imminent, they know the steps to take to bring the child back to a calm state.
They’re a comforting, loving presence and can be invaluable in helping your child control their emotions.
Improved Social Skills
Autistic children have impaired social skills, but they’re also often perceived a certain way by parents who don’t have autistic kids. This can make it difficult for autistic kids to fit in socially.
Studies have shown that parents of autistic children who have dogs find that the general public responds better to their children when they have a therapy dog.
The presence of their best furry friend may also put your child at ease in social situations. This puts autistic children in a far better position for developing social skills and interacting with other children, as well as other parents.
The same research paper above indicates that parents of autistic children feel that their child is safer from environmental hazards when they’re with their dog.
Therapy dogs are also often trained to assist their humans in avoiding things they know are hazardous. While this doesn’t mean you can leave your child to their own devices as long as the dog is present, it does add a buffer.
This puts parents more at ease about their child being independent and offers much-needed peace of mind when their kid gets bouncy, as kids do!
Your child will develop confidence and self-assurance with a trusty dog by their side! This means they could show an interest in things you may not expect, such as seeing other people or doing new things.
Things you may never have expected your child to want to do may suddenly be something they’re asking for!
Another opportunity that may arise is for your child to learn about taking responsibility for looking after the dog.
If you’re one of the 31% of families with an autistic child who doesn’t have a dog, it may be time to consider getting one! Check out this article to find the best dog breed for your child.
But remember, it may not be a family pet. Chances are your autistic child will bond with the dog, and the other family members may need to take a step back and let the friendship strengthen.