Man’s best friend can truly be your child’s best friend, according to recent studies on the interaction between dogs and children with autism. Reports from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state that approximately one in 88 U.S. children will develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is characterized by significant social, communication and behavioral difficulties. Many parents of individuals on the autism spectrum wonder about the potential benefits of Service Dog assistance or have heard about the profound impact Service Dogs can have on children with autism from another parent. Whatever prompts you now is the time to look into the amazing benefits a Service Dog can have not only on your child with autism but your whole family.
For many children with autism, social interactions with strangers can be awkward and anxiety-inducing. But if the stranger is a gentle golden retriever puppy with huge paws and a quiet snore, something remarkable happens, anxiety disappears and conversations start. There are multiple studies showing that Service Dogs consistently change the lives of children with autism for the better. Service Dogs are a wonderful addition to families with children who have autism and can even accompany children when they are away from home, helping to keep them calm and comforted. Service Dogs Benefit Children with Autism by providing:
The Service Dog acts as a physical anchor for the child with autism. The dog is trained to stop on command thus preventing the child from entering into potentially dangerous situations and thus giving time to intervene.
Independence and Public Outings
Families are able to pursue activities together that may have been difficult in the past due to concerns for the child’s safety, difficulty in coping with new environments or managing the child’s behavioral outbursts and anxiety in public settings. The Service Dog allows the child to walk more independently of the caregiver and acts as a constant companion to the child. The child can assist with the daily care of their service dog, thus furthering opportunities for independence, and a sense of responsibility for another.
Service Dogs may help modify behavior by providing a calming influence, allowing the child to cope with transitions between places, activities, and changes in routines.
The Service Dogs are seen as bridging the social gap between children with autism and others by providing opportunities for communication and assisting with the integration of children with peers and the public.
Pets quickly become a treasured member of the family, offering love and companionship. For a family that includes a child with autism, the rewards can be even greater.