Benefits of Pets for Children with Special Needs
Updated: Apr 9
There's no doubt that pets are special. Dogs and cats give their human owners all they have — their hearts, souls, and their love and affection. They live for us in a sense, their entire existence depending on the love and care we offer them. In gratitude, they are our companions, our friends, our confidants, and our joy. Pets grace our lives in so many ways, and for children with special needs they can make a huge difference in their lives.
Inland Respite offers in-home respite care for parents of children with developmental disabilities, as well as adults with special needs. Based in Southern California, our team of highly-trained and caring companion caregivers offer non-medical services in the comfort of your own home. We can help with daily living needs, daily tasks and routines, and help to maintain a safe home environment. O
ur mission is to provide rest for parents, guardians, and family members from the constant caregiving they perform every day. Below, we'll go over some of the many benefits of pets for children with special needs. Contact our team to learn more today!
BENEFITS OF PETS FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Have an Automatic Friend
For many children with learning disabilities and other developmental disabilities, it can be extremely difficult to make friends. As you know, friendships are extremely important in life, as it offers us a sense of community and connection to others. When your special needs child has a dog, a cat, a horse, or another pet, they instantly have a friend. Pets don't judge; they only love. They don't care what you look like, or how you behave. All they care about is you. A pet can fill the void that is left when human friends are hard to come by. Dogs and cats will play with children and sit with them, being a constant presence in their life.
Have a Calming Presence
One of the major benefits of pets for people in general is stress relief. Pets have been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Pets don't get upset, so when your special needs child is about to lose it, pets can calm them down and help them control their stress and challenges that come with their disorder. Pets have been shown to help lower cortisol, a stress hormone in the body, when they are around. Overall, pets can help improve the behavior of children with developmental disabilities considerably. Those in treatment for a certain disorder have shown faster progress when they own a pet. Watching fish also can soothe children, too.
Promote Social Interactions
It's easier to talk when you have a pet around, and it's easier to ask questions. Research has shown that children with developmental disabilities are more likely to engage with humans if a pet is around or if they own a pet. They make eye contact more and talk to others more. In addition, a pet offers a great opportunity to practice interactions with humans. Pets also help special needs children interact socially for longer periods of time and have a good time doing so. They help to make social situations less scary for kids and thus more meaningful.
Help with Learning
For many children, school is boring. After all, they'd rather be outside playing all day long, reading a book, or doing something else that is fun. However, when a pet is present, they can help to motivate your child with special needs. Pets have also been shown to help improve listening skills and concentration. Pets themselves serve as learning opportunities, giving children with developmental disabilities the chance to take care of something. They can learn to feed their pet, walk them, brush them, play with them, and give them love and attention on a regular basis.
Help Children Understand Emotions
Many children with developmental disabilities have a hard time grasping the concept of emotions and how others feel. This explains many of their behavior and social problems as well. When a pet is around, it's hard to not feel their love for you. If you accidentally hurt them, such as stepping on their tail, they cry out, and children with special needs intuitively understand this. When special needs children have a pet, they are better able to empathize with humans, and they are more likely to be in a positive mood as well.
Offer Emotional Support
Emotional support animals have grown in the last decade amongst the entire population. Emotional support animals are critical to many in order to be able to function on a daily basis. They are different from service dogs that are trained to specifically do work or perform tasks for someone with a disability, such as helping to decrease anxiety in a social setting and providing constant comfort that the world is not a scary place. Autism assistance dogs are trained to provide tactile or deep pressure stimulation for children who have sensory issues, and they can help with many tasks. Regardless of if your pet is official or not, there's something to be said for having an animal to hold when your child is upset, crying, or can't be soothed in any other way.
CHOOSE INLAND RESPITE FOR YOUR IN-HOME RESPITE CARE TODAY
Parents of special needs children experience more stress than the average parent. Every day there can be something new that arises with their child. They spend hours trying to find the right treatment program, the right school, and how to help their child fit into society as best they can. Plus, many children with developmental disabilities need help on a daily basis with normal activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and more. All of this can take a toll on the parents.
Respite care offered by Inland Respite gives parents in the Southern California area the break that they desperately need. Whether you just need an afternoon to hit the grocery store alone and then grab coffee with a friend or you are looking to go on a weekend getaway to recharge, we can help.
Our team of dedicated and compassionate caregivers have years of experience in taking care of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Our staff undergoes a rigorous application process that entails a criminal background check. They are all certified in CPR and first aid, and they are all experienced companion caregivers. We work hard to give you the peace of mind you need when you leave your child or adult in our care. Plus, you are more than welcome to call and ask questions about our caregivers so we can match you with one that will fit your family.
If you are interested in our respite care in the Southern California area, call us today!