Life in the 21st century is fast. Opportunities to have a quiet moment and relax often need to be pre-planned if they are to take place. Yet, in this often maddening hodgepodge of daily activities, many turn to their pets for a bit of downtime. It is always a smart decision to spend time with an animal. They do not pass judgment nor blame. Instead, they will offer unconditional love and attention. That’s why we wanted to answer the question In what are ways dogs help people with autism.
Dogs are fantastic when it comes to taking on the role of the best four-legged buddy. Nobody can appreciate this more than parents who are raising a child with autism.
Research has shown that autistic people, children especially, are less prone to meltdowns if they have a dog as their trusted companion. Naturally, that immediately lowers parents’ stress levels.
Top 10 Ways Dogs Help People with Autism
Of course, it would be rather shallow and ill-advised to say that every autistic person or a child with autism should get a dog. It is crucial to consider several things before deciding to take such a huge step. Because pets are also like children and are, more or less, entirely dependant on adults in the family.
Before you decide to get a dog, the family dynamics have to be taken into account. Additionally, it is also essential to assess the child’s response to the dog. Whether that will, in the end, be a good pairing or not.
Last but not least, parents need to decide (preferably by consulting an expert too) what kind of a dog would be most appropriate for the child.
There are autism service dogs, a therapy dogs, or a companion dog. While differences are not vast, they still exist, and parents need to be aware of them. Also, there are now specially trained dogs that help autistic people and, more specifically, children with autism.
If the answer to all those questions is yes, then the benefits for an autistic person can be truly amazing, especially for a child with autism.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 ways dogs can help people with autism.
Canine Companion and Children with Autism
There is a whole spectrum of benefits that come with having a dog that has been trained to help children with autism. The same goes for adults dealing with the same diagnosis.
- Autistic children are less likely to experience meltdowns and agitation when in the company of dogs.
- Parents’ stress levels are lower because the child is less prone to having a meltdown.
- Dogs provide overall safety, especially road safety, which is crucial for adults and children with autism.
- Tackling anxiety and fear becomes much more comfortable with a loving and calming presence of a well-trained dog.
- Playing can be a challenge for children with autism. Dogs can help tremendously in this respect as the benefits of play. Learning through playing has such an essential role in every child’s life, even more so for an autistic child.
- Contact with “the outside world” is much easier for both children and parents. Research shows that children feel much more relaxed when they have a dog beside them. Children’s social behavior experiences a shift when they interact with animals in general.
- Slowly assigning tasks to autistic children, which involves taking care of their companion dog, can have tremendous benefits and boost their confidence levels.
- Levels of aggression, both physical and verbal, are reduced when autistic children have a canine companion.
- Children with autism often stick to familiar things and routines. However, with a dog present in their lives, they are more open to trying out new things.
- Having a dog has also proven beneficial when it comes to speech, for both adults and children with autism. Children’s speech is known to become more fluent as they are more relaxed with dogs. Adults become more prone to chatting and show their unique sense of humor.
No doubt, having a well-trained companion dog can have a positive impact on an adult autistic person as well as a child with autism. Provided that a family can take care of a dog properly and that a child shows clear signs of comfort around a dog, a canine companion is a great and helpful addition that will undoubtedly improve the quality of the child’s life. Also, research has proven that interacting with animals usually has a positive effect on children with autism.