Humans and animals share a loving bond. Keeping a dog, cat or even a guinea pig at home assist in tackling loneliness, stress, and health issues in people. An animal-assisted therapy for autism help children as well as adults on the spectrum to revive their lost social functioning and communication abilities and also in controlling their outbursts and depression.
Animal-assisted therapy for autism involves therapists who have trained pets for providing joy along with the treatment of autism. They involve a range of animals in the therapy such as dogs (canine-assisted therapy), horses (equine-assisted therapy), guinea pigs, birds or even a dolphin.
Stress-related health problems including depression and anxiety are common in individuals with autism. These problems are associated with poor health, aggressiveness, and difficulties in maintaining a pleasant communication and social interaction. Thus, one of the benefits of animal assisted therapy for autism is to reduce stress-related outcomes in order to improve social interaction in individuals.
Individuals, especially children, are attracted to animals. They tend to bond strongly with their pets and also enjoy interacting with them. This bonding is because of unconditional love and a sense of companionship. Animal assisted therapy for autism with different animals is a psychological intervention beneficial for many reasons.
Dogs and horses are the most common pets used in animal-assisted therapy. Dogs are trained to assist individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. They help in improving their communication skills, love them unconditionally and make them feel safe in many situations. They can also provide comfort throughout stressful moments when others fail to understand what they want to convey.
Some of the benefits of animal assisted therapy, as a valuable intervention tool for autism are:
- Positive attitude and motivation.
- Animals can help individuals in gaining focus and stay attentive during the intervention. Children and adults with autism tend to maintain a steady gaze on the face of animals longer than they did before.
- Individuals learn to engage socially. They smile and interact socially when these animals are present.
- Individuals with autism are easy victims of abuse and bullying. These issues are of great concern as they are likely to experience stress and retreat into solitude. Moreover, a dog as a companion is a safe feeling.
Thus, an animal-assisted intervention eliminates the feeling of loneliness and provides a stress-free experience to individuals.
For those with verbalize or non-verbalize emotions, being in contact with animals provide a source of confidence. Exploring various types of animal-assisted therapies opens new ways of helping people deal with neurological disorders and health issues. This can lead to more positive outcomes and a quick way towards recovery.
Parents can keep a pet at home to keep children active and happy. It is also advisable to ensure that they do not have any allergy to animals before including a pet member in their home.
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