Can Service or Therapy Dogs Help Children with Autism?
There are thousands of different types of disabilities that impact both children and adults alike. Autism is just one of them and as a parent, you want to do everything you can to make your child’s life as great as it can be. This often means thinking outside the box and exploring options that you otherwise might not think of as a possibility. One such option that has been gaining popularity and visibility is using service or therapy dogs to help with autism.
Can Dogs Help with Autism?
Strictly speaking, it depends on the child. Some children are inherently afraid of dogs while others actively seek them out when they’re in public. This is because many children with autism find it easier to interact with animals than other people.
Dogs give children with autism a sense of companionship and can help them cope with stressors and triggers out in the world. However, it only works if your child is comfortable around dogs in the first place. Investing in a canine companion to help with autism symptoms won’t be worth it if your child doesn’t feel comfortable.
Which Option Is Best?
Many families with children on the spectrum who present mild to moderate symptoms often choose to have a family pet. These dogs don’t have any special training or certifications, but if they’re calm and tolerant, can help with autism symptoms. They can also help your child develop a sense of responsibility. Even better, you’ll have the opportunity to show your child how to care for others and express feelings of affection.
Therapy dogs, like family pets, can help calm children with autism and keep certain situations from becoming overwhelming. They have exceptionally calm demeanors and can have advanced training to allow them to better help with autism symptoms. Unfortunately, therapy dogs aren’t allowed in all public venues, but they can still be beneficial at home.
Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that are dictated by the needs of their handler. This is by far the most expensive option, but if your child has trouble taking care of certain tasks, a dedicated service dog could help them the most. Service dogs are also allowed to accompany your child into all public places without issue.
Get More Information
A dog may be a great addition to your family, no matter how mild or severe your child with autism’s symptoms are. The most important thing to do is look for a dog that’s calm, responds well to your child, and will react with patience and tolerance during stressful events. Work with one of these service dog organizations to find a certified therapy or assistance dog that can better help your child. Or for questions, please contact our team to speak to a licensed therapist.