How Therapy Dogs Can Help Children with Special Needs

by Marie Rodriguez

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


They are also capable of using senses like humans. Their eyes are able to see wider, making it seem that they have a panoramic view. Training them is best by 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 4 times farther away than humans are capable of hearing. 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 stronger compared to 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 aroma association.

Using all these makes a dog’s obedience training program easier compared to 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 do 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 feel understanding and acceptance, that’s when they flourish. That’s when they are able to 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. But expert studies show that when dogs are with them, they become more articulate. 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 becomes 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 are able to demonstrate 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. In special ways, they have the ability to 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 game of throw and catch. And they will catch the toy in ways that impress their kid. And of course, their companionship cannot be matched.

Kids in 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 stronger as a result.

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

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