Get-hooked May 6, 2020
Having a pet is great therapy for kids with autism & their parents, says this study
A new study has revealed that pets can have a positive impact on lives of children with autism as well as their parents. They can help reduce stress and anxiety levels to a large extent. Read on to know more.
Over years, researchers have found out how pets can benefit people in different ways, especially those with disabilities. Therapy dogs are becoming popular not just the western world but in India too. A recent study has revealed that having a pet at home benefits children with autism and their parents as well. Pets help in reducing stress levels for the parents to a large extent.
An interesting study
Having a pet dog or cat at home has helped children with autism in many ways. Those with autism lack communication and social skills. Interacting with a pet in their own way can reap many benefits for the child.
This latest study was conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the USA. The research was conducted on over 700 families who have children with autism. All of them had pets too. The study looked into how owning a pet can make a difference to their lives. The more time children and their families spent with pets, the lesser they were stressed out.
Researcher Gretchen Carlisle in the study says, “Some of the core challenges that children with autism face include anxiety and difficulty communicating. As pets can help increase social interaction and decrease anxiety, we found that they are not only helpful in providing comfort and support to children with autism, but to their parents as well”.
This latest study even revealed that having dogs and cats can have separate effects on children. Having both dogs and cats can have numerous benefits too.
Owning a pet can do wonders
Animal therapy is also catching up in India. “Animal assistive therapy is popular in western countries for over four decades. But it is new to India, and even now many people refuse to accept this form of therapy. Children with developmental disorders like autism and cerebral palsy are the ones who benefit the most from this therapy. Most of the times, people tend to think that having a pet at home is animal therapy. It is not. That is just a comfort animal for your child. Basically, animal assistive therapy is physiotherapy involving an animal. There are trained therapy dogs and horses who reach out to children who need them”, says Subhadra Cherukuri, a certified animal assisted therapy practitioner
During the current times with spread of COVID-19, children with autism are stuck inside their homes. This can be traumatizing and irritating to many. A pet dog or cat can be the ideal partner to not just the child, but the parent as well.
Pratima Vikram Bhinge’s 16 year old son Kush who has a developmental delay found his best friend in their pet dog Maggie. This lockdown period is spent mostly with Maggie and Pratima says that the family is loving it completely.
“Maggie is very playful. Many times, I have stressed on how she has made a positive impact to our lives. A two year old Golden retriever, she is a powerhouse of energy and spreads that same energy levels to us too. Kush connects with Maggie by playing with her and giving her treats”, says Pratima.
Planning to have a pet at home? There are numerous shelter homes across India that have rescued animals who are undergoing distress. You can even adopt a dog or cat from the street.
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