Today’s guest post is brought to us by Brad from Therapy Pet.
Down syndrome is set of mental and physical traits, which result from a gene problem caused prior to birth. Children with Down syndrome have a certain degree of intellectual disability, which will vary from one person to another but is usually mild to moderate. Children with Down syndrome will face difficulties in socializing with their family and peers, and will have general trouble making friends. However, carefully chosen emotional support dogs can meet their personality needs and offer the following benefits:
Activities like going outdoors to walk the ESA dog can help your child get plenty of fresh air, and pastime, such as playing fetch, can help strengthen muscles and also stimulates the brain.
A soft and gentle ESA dog can bring a calm and soothing feeling to us all. Research shows that physical contact can flood the body with feel-good chemicals. Like adults, children also feel stressed, especially at school and among the peers. Merely stroking the dog or snuggling up against it will help release stress and make the child feel happy.
Children with Down syndrome may particularly have difficult when it comes to academics and learning in the classroom. However, a legally recognized therapy dog can be a massive help to children when it comes to their schoolwork. Even hesitant readers are more than happy to read to their pets if they think they are listening. Children will be more prepared to work hard and then show their progress to their furry audience as it brings them happiness.
Owning a dog is a big responsibility on its own, and this teaches children plenty about the needs of their animal friends. Following a routine will help the child understand its importance and is more likely to incorporate it in his/her daily life.
ESA dogs can be a great way to teach children the importance of showing love and caring for those below them. It also teaches manners and the fact that they don’t allow kids to tug tails or pull out fur.
As children, including those with Down syndrome, grow with their pets, they develop a strong bond sense of responsibility towards them, which in turn increases their confidence. Emotional support dogs offer encouragement and support in a number of ways, for instance, a water-loving dog will tempt reluctant swimmers to dive in the water, pushing them to face their fears and learn a new skill that they will be proud of and confident about later.
Helps with Communication
Dogs have a special way of understanding children even in absence of verbal communication. They also communicate about their needs for walks, food, sleep, to be left alone, or to be pet softly and children with Down syndrome too will enjoy having such unspoken conversations with their dogs. Dogs can also be used to assist children in opening up about their grievances and problems and an increasing number of therapists are recommending them and other pets as emotional support animals.
Teaches Life Skills
Having a dog as an emotional support animal can help children with Down Syndrome by teaching them important life lessons, such as feeding the pet in a timely manner, brushing its coat, cleaning up poop and putting down water.
Children with Down syndrome may be hesitant to interact with people, but they will certainly have a strong bond with their dog that will be based purely on love. Animals don’t judge nor complain, are great listeners and love spending hours with their owners and making them feel loved.