ACCESS-ABILITY Volume3_Issue2 - Page 47

NANCY'S TIPS If you h ave a ch ild w it h addit ion al n eeds r elat ed t o ADHD, pr ocessin g disor der s, lear n in g disabilit ies or beh avior al issu es, you m ay h ave n ot iced t h at h e or sh e is calm er an d m or e con n ect ed ar ou n d dom est ic an im als. A f am ily-f r ien dly pet m ay be ben ef icial t o a ch ild w h o st r u ggles w it h sen sor y, social or beh avior al issu es. of cor t isol, a st r ess-r espon se h or m on e pr odu ced by an au t ist ic ch ild u pon w ak in g in t h e m or n in g. Th e am ou n t of cor t isol in a w ak in g au t ist ic ch ild decr eased f r om 58 per cen t t o 10 per cen t w h en a ser vice dog w as pr esen t . Wh en t h e dog w as t ak en aw ay f or a sh or t w h ile, t h e am ou n t of cor t isol in cr eased t o 48 per cen t . Ben ef it s of Pet s Blood Pr essu r e an d Hear t Rat e: Ch ildr en in volved in an im al-assist ed t h er apy (AAT) h ad low er blood pr essu r e an d h ear t r at es w h en in t er act in g w it h an d st r ok in g a dog, im plyin g t h at t h e act ivit y is r elaxin g. Resear ch sh ow s t h at pet s m ay ch ildr en in t h e f ollow in g w ays: h elp In t er act ion : Ch ildr en t en d t o in t er act ver bally an d socially f or lon ger per iods, en joy t h em selves m or e, an d ar e m or e aw ar e of t h eir su r r ou n din gs w h en playin g w it h pet s r at h er t h an w it h in an im at e object s. Em pat h y: Bon din g w it h a pet is t h ou gh t t o en cou r age em pat h y t ow ar ds ot h er h u m an s an d an im als. Posit ive M ood: In t er act ion w it h a pet t en ds t o im pr ove m ood an d pr om ot e posit ive em ot ion s. An t i-st r ess: A lin k exist s bet w een pet ow n er sh ip an d an xiet y r edu ct ion . Th e pr esen ce of a pet can r edu ce t h e am ou n t s Lear n in g: Alt h ou gh it 's n ot k n ow n if t h e br ain ben ef it s dir ect ly f r om ow n in g a pet , pet ow n er sh ip does seem t o assist in lear n in g. Th e pr esen ce of a pet im pr oves m ot ivat ion an d speed w h en com plet in g t ask s, an d in cr eases list en in g sk ills an d con cen t r at ion . Wh at Type of Pet is Righ t f or M y Ch ild? Bef or e you r u sh ou t an d get a pet , con sider a f ew t h in gs. Lif est yle: If you live in a sm all apar t m en t or don't h ave r eady access t o open spaces su it able f or exer cisin g a dog, ch oose a pet