Kids can have a hard time growing up, especially when they have conditions like autism and ADHD. This isn’t necessarily because of the condition (after all, they tend to grow into brilliant people), but due to ridicule from peers and an outdated mindset from teachers as well as other parents. It can feel like a downward spiral for kids and parents alike, but you may be surprised to discover that dogs are able to help children with autism and ADHD – and here is how.
How Dogs Help Build Social Skills
Research has shown that children who grow up with dogs have better social skills when they are older. There is a lot that dogs can teach them, like respect, kindness, and how to share. Additionally, a dog is the perfect foundation for children to learn about emotional attachments and friendship, as well as providing them with someone to practice their communication skills on.
Dogs and ADHD
High energy levels, difficulty concentrating, and feeling like a coiled spring are not easy things for a child to deal with. It can be difficult for parents and children to work together to find ways to cope, but equally a child can end up feeling frustrated and alone. A dog is not just a confidant that will never tell a secret; they provide emotional support that will not judge or scold them. Plus, walking and playing with the dog is a great way to burn off extra energy – giving both parties something enjoyable and beneficial.
Dogs and Autism
Autism is a vast spectrum, and in many ways, it is true that there are no two autistic people who are exactly the same. However, regardless of where a child is on the spectrum, a dog can really help. As an example, there are some autism service dogs that are trained to detect and calm a meltdown, offering the child comfort and support when things become overwhelming, and it works excellently as a calming method.
On the other side of things, nonverbal children often struggle to fit in and express themselves, becoming frustrated and angry because they cannot communicate their wants. Dogs provide a companion that doesn’t mind, and that also expresses themselves in a way that is different. They do not judge, and a bond is often built quickly. In fact, it is often the case that nonverbal children or those with a limited vocabulary will find new things to say so that they can talk about their furry friend.
Dogs are wonderful companions for every member of the family, but for children with ADHD and autism, they can be a form of security and acceptance that they sorely need. You can find the resources and research for each of the points made here, as well as more information on how dogs are able to help mental health, here. Hopefully, this will help you to better understand and assist your children when they are struggling.
About the Author
Will is a freelance writer, his blog can be seen here . If you are interested in more information on the benefits of dog ownership including health tips, buyer’s guides and gear reviews, then check out his guides over at Dogowner.co.uk