If you, your child, or someone you know is living with autism, you may be wondering if there’s a way to make your daily life easier, without feeling like everything is too much at once. Specialist trained dogs have had proven results with individuals living with autism, and we wanted to put together this article to highlight some of the ways that a furry friend can assist you.
When a dog is trained to help an individual who is living with autism, they can help the individual become more confident and help them achieve their goals – small and large.
Road safety is a huge concern for young children living with autism, because they may not have the same sense of danger when it comes to crossing roads that they should. By pairing an autistic child with a specialist trained dog, the dog will be able to help them cross the road safely and keep them out of danger when they’re out and about during the day. Adults can also can benefit from having a dog who is autism-aware.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of having a specialist trained autism-aware dog is the companionship that a dog can offer someone living with autism. It’s very easy and often very quick for a dog and their human to connect. When someone is living with autism, they can often feel isolated by their peers and separated from the rest of the world. A dog can help them reconnect and will always be their friend.
As a parent, having a child who is living with autism can sometimes feel like an impossible challenge, but by having a specialist trained dog who can help guide and assist your autistic child, you can see the positive impact the trained dog can have on their life. You’ll also have a “furever” friend around the house who will look out for each of you. A specialist trained dog who is aware of autistic traits are often more mindful of the atmosphere they’re in, too, which means that they’ll pick up on things like sadness much more easily.
Dogs who are specifically trained for individuals living with autism can offer a calming focus for the individual. Autism often affects how the individual sees the world and sometimes it can become overwhelming to a point of utter confusion. Having a grounding presence like a dog can help the individual have a focal point to return to. This is perfect for particularly stressful situations, such as vaccinations and starting school, as well as things like job interviews or even going out into the city. Autism and anxiety often go hand-in-hand.
The reassuring pressure of a dog’s head resting in an individual’s lap has been shown to bring about feelings of calm in moments of high anxiety. This can give a huge amount of support to a person with sensory needs or someone living with anxiety as well as autism.