Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Miracles with Fur, Pets and Autism

“A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull.
Give him your heart and he will give you his.” -John Grogan

I believe this quote applies to most animals in general, they don't judge.
Their nature seems to allow them to provide instinctual nurturing and unconditional love.
In the past, I have written of personal accounts that can confirm this. I have a vivid memory of  lying on the bathroom floor with food poison. My kitty, Raven never left my side and patted my face with her tiny paw. My dog Odin does not care if I look like death warmed over, he is always there with a big ol' kiss when my tears need wiping away. They are natural healers and provide compassion without uttering a word. When Odin had oral surgery Raven stayed by his side for 48 hours only leaving to eat and use the litter box.
Raven staying by Odin's side after surgery

I have read so many stories of miracles animals have performed in people's lives that just warm my heart.  I would like to look a little deeper and share some information about how our animal friends have helped children with autism.

Statistics show autism is alarmingly on the rise. "New numbers just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that one in 68 children now has a diagnosis of ASD—a 30 percent increase in just two years. In 2002, about one in 150 children was considered autistic and in 1991 the figure was one in 500."
Personally, I would like to know, "Why is this happening?"
In my research some theories include:
The amount of vaccines given now compared to 1991 has increased dramatically since that date. Another theory is the increased amount of toxins in our environment and  ingredients in our food. Regardless of the cause, the fact is, it exists.
Wikipedia defines autism as, "Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior." The movie titled "Temple Grandin" is such an eye opener about autism, but also inspirational about making a difference in this world. She has educated the world on this disorder. She states, “I am different, not less." Temple Grandin went on to get her doctoral degree, is a well renowned speaker, professor, and proponent for the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter.  Autistic people simply have to find ways that make them comfortable to communicate and to be in social situations. That can be very difficult for them.

This is where animals can make a life changing difference for those with autism, especially children. Studies show  children are more likely to relate and communicate without fear in the presence of animal versus a human.

 In the book "Angel Animals Book of Inspiration"  there  is a story about a boy who achieved ways to communicate, and attain enough social skills to fulfill his dream of baseball, all thanks to a ferret named, "Rocky". He found the courage to interact with the other children if Rocky was with him. Eventually he could play ball as long as Rocky was in the stands for reassurance.

I have volunteered and organized fundraisers for "Heal with a Horse", equine therapy. It is amazing how much self esteem and smiles the children get from the horses. The horses can sense the children need them to be patient and parents can testify how much it helps them. Many autistic children do not want to brush their teeth or hair, etc.  Emphasis on caring for the horse can be transferred and help the child to take more interest in their own personal hygiene.
Photo courtesy of Heal with a Horse

I have read not just one but numerous accounts of autistic children uttering there first word to their pet.  A pet does not judge, and has all the patience in the world for the child. Unlike human, animals, are just there waiting with a wagging tail and love for whenever the child is ready.

Autistic children can wander away and do quite frequently. This has got to be so stressful for the parents. There are now many service dogs available to help aid with this along with many other special needs these children may have. Can you imagine how much stress can be reduced for a parent, knowing there is a four legged angel that will alert them if the child is in distress or wanders?

Photo courtesy of  Autism Service Dogs of America

If your child is autistic, I hope this may give you other options that may be helpful to your in particular situation.
If you are looking for a worthy cause to support, Odin Raven and I suggest these charities to help partner angel animals with these children who need them so much.

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