Help your autistic child by having a pet

autistic child
BY JASON LADOCK 
Autism is a disorder diagnosed at an early age of a child; it is characterized by impaired communication and social behavior. It is a brain disorder causing restricted and repetitive behavior. Treatment of autism requires special attention as there is no single treatment for this. The main goal of treatment is to lessen the burden and distress feelings for the family of the patient. It also aims to develop the sense of responsibility and independence of the child.


One therapy that can help an autistic child is by having a pet. This is called pet therapy. Several things are to be considered in choosing a pet for your autistic child. Make sure that the pet can help in the development and improvement of your child’s condition. Common known types of animals to be considered as your autistic child’s pet are dogs, cats, birds, horses, guinea pigs or hamster and dolphins. Dogs, the man’s best friend, are the most preferred ones as they are easily loved and trained. They can be cared and maintained without so much effort and difficulty. It is essential that the pet can integrate several positive effects on the child. Examples of positive effects of having a pet are the following:

• Pets can help your child interact with others. Pets are loved by people; this will help your child to lessen their difficulty in dealing with others especially with children.

• Pets can instil the act of responsibility in your autistic child. Simple routine things such as feeding the pet, bathing the pet and playing with the pet. Through these things the child can be more responsible and can slowly progress to bigger responsibilities.

• Pets can help the autistic child develop self dependence and accountability when it comes to caring for their pet.

• Pets help autistic children communicate and interact. Simple pet training such as letting the dog sit, stay or fetch helps the child communicate effectively. The pet gradually becomes attached to the patient therefore creating a special bond. This bond allows the patient to become more open to everything and can easily communicate with their pet either by talking or by gestures. Then this bond gradually develops into friendship thus teaching the child several traits associated with friendship such as understanding and empathizing.

• Pets are always there for the autistic child anytime and anywhere. They can always accompany the child and be of full time service.


• Pets help not only the child but also the family specifically the child’s parents. The parents tend to be calm and less stressed once they can see their child finally interacting and pro actively developing some positive traits through the help of their pet friend.

In choosing a pet, make sure that the pet is trainable and can be safe around your child. A full grown pet can be preferred as you can gauge the temperament of it. Make sure that your child accepts the pet and would not eventually hurt it or abuse it.