If you have a neurodiverse child, you may be wondering how they may handle the introduction of a furry friend into the household, and whether there are any benefits to buying a pet. In fact, there are many reasons why bringing home a new pet could be beneficial, helping them develop all different areas of their personality. In this blog post, we will explore some of those advantages, and highlight just how important a pet could be in your child’s development.
Improved Social Interactions
Pets can make it easier for children to interact with their peers at school or in a more general social setting, as they are a great conversation starter. It can be difficult for neurodiverse children to make new friends or communicate with other children, but having a pet as a topic of discussion is a great way to make social interactions easier. What’s more, smaller pets like rabbits or hamsters could be perfect for show and tell sessions at school, giving your child the platform to talk about something they love infront of their classmates.
Comfort and Reassurance
It can sometimes be difficult for neurodiverse children to articulate their thoughts, or even make sense of them in their own head. They may also struggle to communicate how they’re feeling to other people.
A pet can be an invaluable member of the family, giving your child the chance to offload whatever worries or anxieties they may be feeling in whatever way works best for them. For many kids on the autism spectrum in particular, pets can serve as a calming presence and a source of non-verbal communication.This can ultimately provide a unique level of comfort and support for children who may otherwise not know where to turn.
In Australia, one in 20 children are affected by ADHD. It’s a condition that can make it difficult for children to concentrate on tasks, and can mean they’re constantly fidgeting or unable to sit still. If you’re struggling to establish a routine for your child outside of school hours, a dog could help in so many ways.
All different pets can provide children with a sense of structure to their days, but dogs in particular can be very beneficial. A dog’s need for regular exercise gives a child the perfect excuse to regularly get out of the house and go for a walk, serving as an outlet for any excess energy ADHD sufferers may have.
Dogs can also offer your household and family a level of protection, and they can be trained to perform specific tasks that help children with neurodiverse conditions stay safe and independent. For example, some dogs are trained to alert their owners if someone attempts to enter the house without permission. Even just having an animal companion with them for company whenever they’re alone can help children to feel comforted and reassured.
To Sum Up
All neurodiverse children can benefit from having a pet that can boost self-esteem and promote feelings of independence. Whether it's a furry friend or a scaly one, a pet can make a world of difference.
AUTHOR: Simon Jones is a pet lover and animal advocate. When he's not taking care of his beloved cats and dogs, he enjoys travelling and exploring new places. He loves learning about other cultures, and has been lucky enough to visit many different countries in the course of his work. Simon is always up for an adventure, and can't wait to see what the world has in store for him next.