Dogs for Children with Autism

The way Dogs for Children with Autism help is a lot different and more unique then a regular assistive dog. The major difference is that a regular assistive dog helps with every day tasks but a dog for children with autism is there mostly for support emotionally. Because children with autism commonly have sensory overload, having an assistive dog there as a solid companion can help with the sensory challenges the child with autism may have. Most children who have autism have senses that work all at the same time and have a difficult time dealing with that much stimuli all at once. Children with autism are also known to roam outside and in to the street because they do not understand danger. When they have a dog beside them it gives something to focus on and help control their experiences in the environment that are constant. One way dogs for children with autism helps to protect the child is for the dogs and children to be harnessed to each other (not appropriate for every child).  It can take time for the dogs and children to get used to the harnesses. It also helps for the child with autism to hold a handle on the dogs collar while the adult holds another handle or leash attached to the dogs collar.

The main breeds of dog that are chosen to be included with the dogs for children with autism are Labrador retriever or Golden retriever. They also use a combo of theses 2 breeds. The reason for picking these breeds is cause of their calm nature and their tolerance of the autistic child. These breeds are not bothered by an autistic child’s sudden outbursts or sudden body movements. These breeds can put up with a lot more than most other breeds.

Dogs for children with autism are able to open up the connection between the child and the world around them. They help the child to be able to come out of their shell that autism has them trapped in. These dogs are good at not getting nervous when an autistic child has behavior issues and acts out wildly. Dogs for children with autism can be trained for touch therapy, pressure therapy or help with walking and getting around. The dogs are a way to let people know you have a special needs child and not just a misbehaving child who seems to be spoiled. Dogs for children with autism can really make a difference in the life of an autistic child.

Several behaviors that an autistic child can have that a dog for children with autism is:

Some autistic children do not respond when they are spoken too. They act hard of hearing when they are not.

Sometimes they have bad gross/fine motor skills.

Most autistic children are either over active or under active.

They may be too sensitive to pain or not sensitive enough.

They do not have a concept of danger.

They can be really attached to objects of all sorts.

They like objects that spin around.

They like lots of odd play

They can’t be taught in the usual ways.

They do not like to make eye contact with people.

They do not like to be cuddled.

They are not good at interacting with others.

They can have a tantrum when they are upset.

They prefer to be alone.

They can suddenly laugh or cry for no reason.

They can be distressed without anyone knowing why.

They can tend to repeat themselves rather use proper sentences.

They have a tough time telling you what they want. They make noises and point at what they want.

They like everything to be the same and get upset with change.

Dogs for children with autism can help give children with autism live a more normal, happy life that they might not normally have.

4 thoughts on “Dogs for Children with Autism

  1. My dogs have taught me what certain emotions feel like. Without my dogs, I wouldn’t know how love and warmth and hurt felt. They’re also a necessary anchor after a day of anxiety and stress. I recover much more quickly by being able to cuddle my dogs.

  2. We are currently going through all the paperwork and starting to fundraiser so we can get one for our daughter.

  3. This is one of the best articles on children with Autism that I have read. Thank you so much for Sharing this truly educational piece.

  4. I’ve been wanting to get a dog for my son… he really loves animals. Thank you for sharing this!

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