Every year, World Autism Awareness Week is observed from March 28 to April 3 to raise awareness and uplift the lives of those with autism. According to various studies, pet dogs can help autistic people, especially kids, by boosting their confidence and lowering the frequency of meltdowns.
Here are 5 ways how dogs can offer support to people with autism, according to pet care experts at Webbox.
1. A calming presence
People with autism are known to experience anxiety and stress. A study conducted by the National Autistic Society and Mind found that about 94% of autistic people tend to experience anxiety, with half of the people falling under the category of severe anxiety.
To lower stress and anxiety levels, autistic people can unwind and relax with the help of dogs, who can alleviate stress levels simply through petting. According to a study, petting dogs for 10 minutes can help reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.
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2. Sensory stimulation
Autistic people often struggle with sensory processing and find sensory messages extremely overwhelming.
One simple way to ease the nerves and curb hypersensitivity is by engaging in playing activities with dogs. Activities like fetch or tug of war can help a person with autism receive healthy sensory stimulation.
Also read: 6 facts you need to know about Autism
3. A routine-builder
Dogs can build daily routines in humans through their daily meals and walks. A daily routine is crucial for a person with autism to help curb the anxiety of unpredictability and what happens next during the day.
4. Friendly support
Dogs, also known as a man’s best friend, can offer great friendly support to people with autism who find it difficult to build human connections. Having a dog as a companion throughout the day can help an autistic person be more confident in social settings.
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5. Four-legged companion
On a bad day, dogs can be perfect companions with their loyalty and love for their owners. Spending time with your dog can help boost overall happiness and reduce feelings of loneliness.