Children and animals are a winning combination. Pets can be great companions, often teaching children the real value of responsibility. For children with disabilities, this companionship can be something incredible. They might find it difficult to make friends with other children their own age and might find the problems of mobility a struggle, even if they have assistance from technology such as scooters. This can happen because of misconceptions that others have about their disability or even from the disabled child’s low self-esteem levels.
Animals provide the opportunity for children of all ages to connect with another living being. This is something that can be very important to the development of any child.
This blog post will take a closer look at a couple of the ways that assisted animal therapy can benefit children who have special needs.
Having the opportunity to ride horses for therapeutic value has helped children with a great number of disabilities. Parents of the sufferers of Autism, Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy have often been able to see improvements in their child’s posture, balance and muscle tones. Other benefits include improved motor coordination along with perhaps more importantly greater self-esteem and confidence levels.
Equine therapy can be tailored to each individual, allowing for specific areas to be focused upon. Riding can also train the body to walk in the correct way, as the rocking motion of being on a horse closely mimics that of pelvic movement during walking.
Gaining in Confidence
Children with verbal difficulties are encouraged to control their horse by speech. Whilst this can be difficult at the beginning, a little patience from mum, dad and the trainer can bring excellent results. Once your child is able to issue simple commands they will gain in confidence. Using the horses name is another way to make things more personal for your son or daughter. Further speech development is then made much more likely.
At some point the child will become more confident and empowered. Most parents will be quick to notice such changes in their child’s outward demeanour. Other people including children will perceive them differently from this point. This is regardless of whether or not they have a history of emotional issues or are indeed sitting in a wheelchair.
Of course depending on the nature of your child’s disability, attending these events can prove difficult. For car owners it might be necessary to install one of the many scooter car lifts to make your son or daughters journeys that bit easier. Non vehicle owners might need to source a riding centre that can accommodate pick-ups for your loved one.
Canine Assisted Therapy
Dogs have one significant advantage over horses when it comes to helping children with disabilities. This is of course that they can actually live with the child. The bonds that this closeness can deliver prove to be one of the biggest ways that you can help with the development of your child.
We are all probably aware that dogs can help blind children get around in a much safer way. Things like crossing a busy street or walking through a crowd can become much simpler tasks. Additionally dogs can also alert children if they are about to have a seizure. This might well be something that could prove vital in protecting the well-being of your child. What’s more, new research is being put into practice which explores how dogs could help people who suffer from mobility or memory issues. Experts believe that a dog could get things for people who use mobility scooters that they cannot reach quickly or easily and could even remind people who suffer from things like Alzheimer’s to take their medication at a certain time.
In much the same ways as talked about earlier, children with disabilities can gain in confidence when interacting with dogs. An example of this might be that your child takes time to read in front of their dog. Since dogs don’t have the ability to criticise or comment, your child could start to feel more comfortable as their own fluency increases. Most dogs tend to have a calming influence when in these environments, which in turn will help to put your child more at ease and speed up their development.
Bill Jobs is a writer who believes that animals can benefit disabled individuals in many ways, just as technical innovations such as scooter car lifts help to improve their mobility. A dog for example could be trained to fetch things for someone who struggles with their mobility to make life that little bit easier for them.