Imagine living each day with overwhelming anxiety or having trouble engaging in social situations with others. These are challenges that some children face all the time. For children with special needs, therapy animals can provide much needed relief and support. Adding a dog, cat, rabbit or other small animal to your family can have a positive impact if it’s the right fit for your child.
Dogs are very loyal and assertive animals. They can sense when something is not right. For children with anxiety, a dog can be a source of calmness and relaxation. Petting the dog or sitting close can ease the panic they feel and give them more confidence. Having a therapy dog can also facilitate social interactions. Many people are naturally drawn to animals and it can be a way to spark conversation. Children with autism can find a mutual interest to connect with others and engage in ongoing conversation. They can talk about a topic they know well and that is meaningful to them.
Other animals can be beneficial as well. If your child is not fond of dogs, they may feel more comfortable with a cat or rabbit that will curl up on their lap and is smaller and easier to handle. Animals are also great companions because they provide unconditional love and do not judge. They communicate nonverbally, which can be easier for children to connect with.
Children with special needs can turn to therapy animals to help them relax and it can also build responsibility and independence. They can feel more comfortable doing things on their own and interacting with others. The right therapy animal can open up a new world for your child and help them to better cope with the world around them. They can be an effective complement to therapy services provided at PediaPlex and allow your child to continue developing their potential. The staff at PediaPlex can help you determine if a therapy animal could benefit your child.
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