How Therapy Dogs Can Help Children with Special Needs

by Marie Rodriguez

Dogs are amazing animals. Their intelligence is off the charts. They can connect with people’s minds and emotions. Not only are they intelligent, but they are also compassionate too. Not only can they understand, but they also feel what their owners think.


They are also capable of using their senses like humans. Their eyes can see more comprehensively, making it seem that they have a panoramic view. Training them is best-using hand gestures as they recognize movements and gestures very well.

Their ears are designed to receive more sound waves. They get to hear sounds four times farther away than humans can hear. That’s why they dash towards the door at the sound of their master’s cough. And hearing firecrackers sounds like torture to them.

But the strongest among their senses is smelling. Research shows that dogs’ sense of smell is almost 100,000 more robust than humans. They can smell things even behind steel doors. They get to recognize people and things by sniffing. So they get to bond with their owners through an aroma association.

These make a dog’s obedience training program easier than other animals. And with their sensitivity, they become the best option to support children with special needs. Dogs love it when they are trusted. You win their loyalty by simple gestures. But when it comes to kids, they understand. And they know what to do.

But autism is way beyond behavioral disorder; you need to understand that children on the autism spectrum display confusing behaviors. But it is just the surface of what is inside of them.

It takes understanding and acceptance for you to address autism. When a child on the autism spectrum feels understanding and acceptance, they flourish. That’s when they can communicate in ways that their message connects. That’s where dogs come in and take over. That is when they turn into therapy dogs.

This article discusses how Therapy Dogs Help Children in the Autism Spectrum

1 ] Development of Communication and Social Skills

For kids on the autism spectrum, socializing is one of their challenges. This also includes their challenges in communicating things they want to say. However, expert studies show that they become more articulate when dogs are with them. They also become more engaged in activities presented to them.

They begin to talk and listen better at the same time. Those who show aggression become more friendly and playful. That is how therapy dogs influence kids on the autism spectrum. Their mere presence is like a magic wand. What’s better is these dogs don’t even have to say a thing. They only know how to understand and fill the emotional needs of their kid companion.

2 ] Emotional Connectivity

The sensitivity of therapy dogs makes them masters of their owner’s emotions. Sometimes, they know how to absorb. But they also know how to uplift and change moods, especially during meltdowns.

Therapy dogs know how to promote and demonstrate positive emotions. In return, their kid companion will be able to do the same. Kids on the autism spectrum can explain all these. Love, empathy, and care because therapy dogs show it. And these feeling connects with their friends and the surrounding people.

On the other hand, a therapy dog’s “love tank” gets easily re-filled. This happens when their kid companion hugs them, touches and cuddles them. These moments bond them together and bring their hearts closer to each other.

3 ] Promotes Calmness and Assurance

Whenever their kid companion experiences restlessness, therapy dogs know what to do. They know how to offer relief from anxiety. This time, they turn into the big brother or sister. They can uniquely communicate that “they got their back.” Bringing some sense of security.

They also display this by getting a toy and engaging their kid companion in a throw-and-catch game. And they will see the toy in ways that impress their kid. And, of course, their companionship cannot be matched.

Kids on the autism spectrum experience a special friendship because of therapy dogs. They learn to cope with loneliness. A dog’s silent acceptance helps their kid companion feel confident, secure, and comfortable, even with other people around.

These are qualities of a therapy that does not only help kids. They also help the parents and the whole family in more ways. The home becomes more peaceful, and the family gets more potent.

Dogs are known as “Man’s Best friend” for many unique reasons. But their qualities far exceed the rates of a best friend. They can become a brother or sister, a bodyguard, and a parent all in one. So, if you know of any kid with special needs, know that a well-trained therapy dog knows what to do.

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