Is your Autism Spectrum child attracted to animals? Here are some guidelines.
It can often be hard to find things for Autism Spectrum children to do to entertain themselves. Since children with Autism have difficulty socializing, they often don’t care much for organized games. In my twenty years of bringing up my child with Autism, I have learned that sometimes, it works for children to have animals as pets. Here are some tips for introducing a pet into a child’s life.
Perform Allergy Testing
One of the best first steps is to get your child allergy tested. Take him or her to the allergist in order to determine which animal if any the child is allergic to. It would be very detrimental to get a dog for instance only to learn afterword that the child is allergic to dander. Therefore, get allergy testing out of the way first.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Don’t get discouraged if your child does not “take to” the animal right away. It takes time for a relationship to be built. Don’t push it. The child definitely sees the animal and is aware of it even if they seem to be ignoring it. Give it time.
Children with Autism must be supervised around animals. The child could inadvertently hurt the animal otherwise. Likewise, the animal may become frightened easily or have certain tendencies that the parent will not know about initially. Therefore, an adult should be present at all times.
Take Sensitivities Into Account
Each child has sensitivities. These are all different for each child. That is why it is important to take sensitivities into account. It is a bad idea for instance to get a sound-sensitive child a dog that barks often and in a high- pitched way. So, think it through and select the right pet.
These are tips to bear in mind if you would like to introduce your child to animals. Always get allergy testing performed before introducing a pet into a special needs child’s life. Don’t get discouraged if the child seems to ignore the pet at first. Provide supervision to ensure that the child and animal are both safe and that the animal is treated properly. Finally, take sensory considerations into account when choosing the best type of pet. All of these suggestions will help your child move toward having a successful relationship with a pet.