How Animals Are Helpful to Autistic People

How Animals Are Helpful to Autistic People

The idea of having an animal as a companion has been around for a long time.

Have you considered how useful animals could be for those with special needs?

Science shows that animals are helpful to autistic people and their families.

Autistic people can reap several health benefits from forming meaningful connections with animals as they help better manage their symptoms, as recent studies have shown.

Studies carried out in regard to pet therapy for autism have shown that:

Having a pet as a buddy and companion can help autistic children feel less lonely and anxious.

Animals have a mellowing influence on most people, but they may have an especially profound one on autistic kids.

Interacting with animals rather than toys can be helpful to autistic children's interaction with their peers.

Animals are helpful to autistic people in the area of encouraging independence.

More often than not, they'll feel more comfortable going to places when they have their pet with them.

In particular, children with autism may benefit from spending time with pets because of the love and companionship they can provide without bias or prejudice.

Read on to learn how animals are helpful to autistic people.

Autism Therapists in Colorado

Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Mallory Heise, LPC, LAC

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(719) 602-1342
Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Whittney Romero, MA, LPCC

Whittney Romero, MA, LPCC

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Katie Bennett, LPCC, NCC

Katie Bennett, LPCC, NCC

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Julianna Miller, LPCC

Julianna Miller, LPCC

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Katelynn Dwyer, LPCC

Katelynn Dwyer, LPCC

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Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021

They Facilitate Relaxation 

For some people, animals play as important a role in family life as any human member.

Animals have the ability to aid the entire family, relieve stress, and can be extremely beneficial to autistic children.

Whether you're just watching them or playing with them, pets have a calming effect on people. Watching a dog run around in circles can be so relaxing and therapeutic.

Most significantly, oxytocin, a brain hormone connected with emotional connection, is released when one loves and cares for another species who loves them back.

Stress and worry are reduced even further when oxytocin is produced in the brain.

Children who have pets are less likely to have severe or frequent "meltdowns," as these outbursts are met with unconditional love and acceptance from their companions, regardless of the cause.

Their Companionship is Non-Judgmental 

Many children with autism spectrum disorder experience social isolation and loneliness as a result of their difficulties interacting with others and making friends.

Animal companionship has been shown to help autistic children in a number of ways, including decreasing their feelings of isolation.

The non-judgmental nature of pets and their unconditional love are some of the reasons why animals are helpful to autistic people.

Due to the fact that animal companions can't respond, autistic children who have pets are able to freely share their feelings without feeling ashamed.

Although animals obviously can't understand human speech, most kids will find themselves chatting away with their animal companions.

As a result, not only does the child learn to connect and communicate with the companion, but the child also learns to communicate with the parent.

This can have a positive ripple effect on the child's ability to communicate with others.

They Help Practice Social Interactions

What makes animals (and pets in particular) so special is their capacity to capture and hold our attention.

Children with autism can benefit from having pets like dogs and cats since they can help break down inhibitions when it comes to striking up discussions with others and making new friends.

For example, a dog can operate as a unifying force when people get together to pet and play with the animal.

To achieve this, the dog functions as a magnet, drawing in other kids for a nice playdate.

Having a pet around is a certain way to break the ice and start a conversation, paving the way for new connections and the development of important people skills.

They Encourage Independence 

A child with autism spectrum disorder can benefit from the reassurance provided by a pet.

An autistic child who has an animal companion at their side may be more inclined to engage in social activities, such as playing with other children or going outside.

The act of caring for the pet not only fosters happy emotions but also aids in the development of a child's sense of independence and pride in themselves.

As they can foster lowering anxiety, animals are helpful to autistic children in navigating challenging locations.

They become calmer and more comfortable when they go out with their animal companion beside them.

Most children will wander off at least once after the age of four.

Having an animal companion can help contribute to the security of the child.

Not only are animals trained to keep the child safe, but they also help children develop their independence.

They Teach How to Care for Something 

Having a pet also means having certain responsibilities.

Animals, like human beings, have basic needs, including eating, bathing, going for walks, and learning certain skills (like, not eating shoes or urinating in particular places, etc.)

Having a companion is a great way for children, even those on the autistic spectrum, to develop their sense of personal responsibility.

The great thing about personal responsibility and routines is that people on the autism spectrum like having routines for things and sticking by them.

Being responsible for the care of one or more animals can provide your life with a framework that is more predictable and stable.

Once they are taught that they are required to carry out certain tasks for the well-being of the animal, they will learn responsibility.

They can become accustomed to following a regular schedule that includes feeding themselves, going for walks, and doing chores around the house.

Also, they learn to perform other tasks that will help them care for themselves as adults.

Thus, caring for an animal or pet provides a means for them to learn life skills.


Animal therapy for autism is no doubt efficient in boosting the overall well-being of autistic children.

Animals are helpful to autistic people in many forms.

Pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and even guinea pigs are being used to improve the quality of life for autistic people.

Animals are helpful to autistic people when it comes to facilitating calmness and relaxation, non-judgmental companionship, improving social behaviors and interactions, encouraging independence, fostering responsibility, and teaching about how to care for something.


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June 18th, 2024

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