Raising an autistic child can be challenging and as a parent, you may try a variety of different things to help your child grow, advance, and develop. One thing you may not have yet tried is getting a dog. Autistic children can benefit greatly from having a pet dog, but you should make sure you choose the right type and discuss this with your child's doctor and with your veterinarian before you get one.
How Can A Dog Help?
Children with autism are often non-verbal, anxious, and fearful. They may have trouble in new situations, and they may even get nervous going to normal places such as the store or the doctor's office.
When an autistic child has a dog, he or she may begin developing a close bond with the dog. This bond can build confidence and communication skills, and it can bring a lot of comfort to a child. In addition to these benefits, research on this subject also shows that autistic kids with dogs also benefit by:
- Improvement in behavior
- Reduced anxiety
- Improvement in social interactions with others
- Enhancement of fine motor skills
If you would like to see all these changes in your child, it might be worthwhile to get a dog. It certainly couldn't hurt the situation, and if it didn't work out, you could always get rid of the dog.
How Do You Choose A Dog?
The first step is talking to your child's doctor to make sure that he or she agrees that this would be a good step to try. After that, talk to your veterinarian to find out more information about dogs and autism. Your vet might be able to recommend a certain type of breed, or he or she might be able to help you find an organization that specializes in dogs for the disabled.
Once you find a dog, you can introduce your child to it. If your child speaks at all, you could have the child help you select a name for the dog, and you can then let the fun begin. Once your child starts feeling comfortable around the dog, the bond between them may begin to develop.
If a strong bond develops, you may want to talk to your vet about getting a note that allows you to take the dog with you and the child to various places. This could include doctor appointments and dentist appointments, or any other places the child goes regularly.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of dogs for autistic kids, talk to your veterinarian. This is a great way to find out where to go to adopt a dog, and you might even be able to get one that has already been trained to assist disabled people.