How dogs can help children with Autism

By gapnsw.com.au
How dogs can help children with Autism

The relationship between man and dog can be tracked as far back as 11,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age. There’s countless reasons why we share such a deep affection for our 4 legged friends, the enrichment they provide to our lives is limitless. But did you know that the bond shared between a dog and children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have far reaching benefits?
Here's a few more reasons why dogs are man’s best friend:

Reduce Anxiety

Statistics show that almost half of all children with ASD suffer from some form of anxiety. Dogs have proven to help with alleviating anxiety, simply through gentle petting or hugging. Some therapy dogs have also been trained to lie over a child to act as weight pressure (much like a weighted blanket can provide comfort to a child) which helps to relieve anxiety.

Forming Bonds

It can often be difficult for a child with ASD to make friends in social settings. As much as they want to form relationships, it may take them a little longer to learn the social skills required to make and maintain friendships in school, playgroups etc.

Dogs provide companionship and unwavering loyalty, becoming the best friend that will not judge them in any situation.

Improve Focus

Children with ASD often feel like their minds are racing at a million miles an hour. Dogs allow them to focus on something other than their own thoughts, as well as provide sensory stimulation.

Support During Meltdowns

Children with ASD can experience meltdowns which is an intense response to an overwhelming situation. Dogs can usually sense the emotional changes in the lead up to a meltdown and provide extra love and support to calm down the child. Dogs can learn to help during a meltdown by licking and leaning on the child to soothe them.

Vocalisation

It’s common for children with ASD to experience delayed speech, be nonverbal or selectively mute. Studies have shown that children will increase speech or vocalisations in the presence of their dog.
If you are considering adopting a dog to help a child with ASD, greyhounds are the perfect breed! They have a gentle disposition, are highly affectionate and are low maintenance.
We can match you with the right greyhound for your specific lifestyle and needs, get in touch today to find out how we can help.