Dogs have been known to help people of all ages and diseases, and it’s no surprise that people who suffer autism especially children do better while having a dog.
What is autism?
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the development and function of the brain. People with autism tend to lack social and communication skills. Dogs used to help with these cases are socialized service dogs which help by their emotional support.
A survey was done at MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders to ask families with autistic children if they have pets. 70% of them stated that they have dogs. Based on the survey another study was conducted to measure how these children act in comparison to children without pets. The study revealed that autistic children who have dogs are more likely to engage in behaviors such as introducing themselves, asking for information or responding to other people’s questions. These kinds of social skills typically are difficult for children with autism, but this study showed children’s assertiveness was greater if they lived with a pet.
The best thing about the relationship between autistic children and their dogs is that dogs offer unconditional and nonjudgmental love and care towards them, which encourages the children to get more involved.
Trained service dogs can act as a bridge between social/communication skills and the autistic child. Instead of being nonverbal and non-responsive they get to interact more. Dogs also give them a better sense of responsibility and independence when they feel that there is another being that they can get involved with and even help whether that’s by playing, feeding or simply just talking to them.
Below are some of the characteristics that autistic children may have and dogs can help overcome
- Non responsive
- Not wanting to cuddle or be cuddled
- Difficulty in mixing with others
- Preference to being alone; aloof manner
- Showing distress for reasons not apparent to others
- Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
Did you know that Ta2heal is an online Arabic application, made in Egypt, to help develop autistic children’s skills? Check it out. Ta2heal offers a free 5 day trial period!
Compiled by Farah Khaled
Sources: Project Chance , Autism Speaks , Huffpost Science , Woofipedia