One look at a dog’s happy face or stroke of its soft fur is enough to put just about anyone in a good mood. But for people with autism, dogs can be so much more than a beloved pet — they can be an important member of the family and potentially even a lifesaving companion.
Dogs — The Ultimate Companion for People With Autism
1. Communication is more well-understood between dogs and people with autism.
Like people with autism, dogs live in a more sensory-based world. In their everyday life, dogs are taking in the world around them and making patterned-based associations in their mind — much like people with autism do.
2. Dogs are consistent and rule-abiding.
One of the major keys to success for a person with autism is consistency. Having a routine or schedule that’s followed every day allows people to anticipate what is coming next and respond appropriately. And the good news is, our furry friends are highly consistent creatures who also enjoy following a routine.
3. There are real, psychological benefits to being with a dog.
We mentioned before that the mere sight of a dog can put a smile on someone’s face, and we weren’t kidding! Research shows that “dogs could reduce childhood anxiety, particularly social and separation anxiety, by various mechanisms.” Having a dog’s calming presence nearby may help many people overcome their fear of certain social settings and give them the confidence to try something new.
4. Dogs never judge you.
What we love most about dogs is that they never judge! No matter what you’re going through or need help with, a dog’s unconditional love will always be there. After all, there’s a reason why they’re consistently called “man’s best friend!”
Are you looking to navigate your path to success? Debra Solomon of Spectrum Strategies helps young adults with autism and other learning challenges improve time management and organizational skills and guides them toward personal and professional goals by breaking larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. Her coaching is geared to facilitating the transition from school to college or employment. For more information and fees, call Debra at (516) 510-7637.