If you are a parent of a child with special needs, then it is understandable if you are hesitant at the thought of getting them a pet. Whether your child has ADHD, a sensory processing disorder, learning disability, or behavioral issues, you already have a lot on your plate. And a pet is a big commitment that requires additional time and money. However, you might be surprised at how much a pet can really help your child. Here are some benefits of your child with special needs having a pet of their own.
There are countless studies that show how pet ownership can dramatically improve a person’s emotional state. And for your child, the simple joy of coming home to an eager puppy after school can turn even the roughest day around. Not only can a pet help lift mood ease anxiety, but in the long run you child will learn to be more empathetic when they see the importance of treating their pet gently and nicely.
It might sound odd that living with a pet could help someone develop social skills, but if you had a pet in any point in your life then it is possible that you can agree. All people tend to build a social connection to their pets by talking to them, even though they know the animal can’t respond and probably doesn’t understand. The point is that introducing your child to another living creature is like giving them a companion that’s far more real than any toy like a doll or teddy bear. Without realizing it, by interacting with their pet your child will be preparing themselves to open up to social situations.
Most parents who get pets for their children do so partially because they hope it will teach their child responsibility. Of course, your child is no exception and having a pet can help your child practice life skills such as keeping a routine and completing chores. A pet can motivate your child to learn these important life skills and more because the reward is getting to enjoy giving their pet a happy life and spending time with it. Eventually, your child might even start training their pet which will build their own confidence and advocacy skills.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.