This post is now available in the ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ ebook available to download from Amazon.
Funny, we need a new Dyson too! Interesting read, as we have similar dynamics in this household… I’d love a dog, having been brought up with one when I was young; however my husband refuses, saying it’s him or a dog (I tell him I’m just waiting until the children are older…). My common sense holds me back from taking on that extra workload just yet too – think I have enough to worry about without adding one more to the household. So why don’t you just get one and share the pics with me?! 😉
A long time ago a friend was considering whether to have a child or a dog. The thing about a child is that it will mess up your life whereas a dog will only mess up the carpet. My question is why is there a need to do both.
On a slightly more serious note, autistic children are often noted as being quite cruel to animals. Having a dog might just teach an autistic child to love animals. The problem is that it just might incubate a cruelty to animals.
The problem in having a dog is that it can limit what you might otherwise be able to do. Thus my advice to anyone thinking about getting a dog is to maintain a log of everything that they do. Then go back over the log and see what events would have been impossible with a dog and what events would have been enhanced with a dog. I have looked at this exercise. Having a dog would limit and restrict what we do. Many places including school simply do not allow dogs to enter.
Having said all of that I do keep the situation under review and personally would love another dog and particularly a yellow Labrador.
well I was one of those folks way back when that sort of teased you about “getting” a dog…Having said that, a dog does offer restrictions on the adults…(even if you are getting it for the kids)….Also, unless one parent is home all the time, it is tough on a dog to be alone for eight / ten hours a day….they are very social creatures / pack animals (at least if you get the sort you likely would want for a child)… They need to bond with the family too. Too, vet bills are expensive. etc..
Also, if there are many times like last posting, I wonder how that would all settle out? A dog could calm things down, or, it might make things all much more confusing.
On a similar, but other note, I read somewhere, about a family with kids who were having trouble calming down (dont recal the specifics), and they took them volunteering to help work with large animals, horses and elephants, I recal. I think there was washing of the elephants and combing / feeding the horses. I recal them saying that there was something about the quiet gentleness of these huge animals that clicked.
The last paragraph of the reply is really interesting. Many people who have a child or children that are autistic would have seen the film Horse Boy. It tells of the quest by two parents to seek a cure for their autistic son and as the title might suggest horses play a significant role. It is a very good film and raises many ideas.
Horses are probably a very good alternative to a dog particularly if both parents work full time and do not really have either the wanting or time for a dog. Further they do need regular exercise beyond going to the pub and in parks dog owners are forever chasing after their pets with poo-scoops and plastic bags (and those are just the more responsible owners).
Horse riding requires only a specific time commitment which can be tailored to what works best. However it is quite expensive and that is a major consideration. Owning an elephant might be an interesting alternative. I am not sure what the neighbors might say particularly if one is living on the top floor of a tower block.
Grin…owning an elephant…gosh..well, one’s (and indeed the entire neighbourhood’s) fertilizer needs would be taken care of..
No, if I recal, they went to a zoo, and helped to wash the elephant…grin
Interesting post – Not a fan of dogs but nearly had a cat named Vulpix! Sanity prevailed and she is called Eevee.
What I am interested in is B’s intolerance of crying babies. L was the same and it has causes us and her many painful trips to the shops, restaurants or public transport where we’ve had to move, leave or get off the bus and wait for the next one.
The worst on record was a crying baby on a plane ride back from Spain.
Two and a half hours of the baby crying and L spent the time shouting ‘shut-up, shut-up, shut-up and hitting her head against the plane window. I still feel sick when I remember this – as a parent I couldn’t do anything to help her. Fingers in her ears, headphones on didn’t help.
We didn’t take her on a flight again for nearly three years which was awful for us and her.
Eventually we splurged on noise cancelling headphones – don’t bother cos they are USELESS AND COST US £85!!
Now she grinds her teeth and hisses ‘why isn’t that parent looking after that child’ but she doesn’t hurt herself anymore – thank God!
I have a son who is autistic . When our last dog died we looked into getting a new dog for my son to train as his assistance dog. I got Misty (rough collie ) last September and have taken part in courses with PAWS. Misty is becoming a real blessing to our family. Yes I work from home so I am with her all day but as soon as my son gets home she is by his side. Watching him on the Xbox, playing games of catch, if he’s had a bad day at school she’s brilliant at sitting patiently while he gives her big hugs. I have trained her to sit at the curb and not cross til told too. The reason for this my son bolts across roads with out looking and several times almost run over , so as he’s holding the lead he can’t cross til he’s checked it safe for her to cross . it is slowly improving his road safety as well. I could go on and on with the benefits of having a dog. In truth he doesn’t always feed her / or walk her everyday that’s why I’m there to pick up the forgotton tasks but it is improving.
So if your looking at getting a dog you must accept the dog is your responsibility not the child’s as all you will do is add unnecessary pressure to the whole family in the end but the good outways the bad.
As a last note though the gentleman who suggested that autistic children are more cruel to animals than “normal” kids my son attends a special school with over 170 pupils NOT one is cruel to animals but the “normal” school locally had kids in the paper recently who tied firecrackers to a cats tail and set it off the cat died!!!
It’s hard enough to fight prejudice in every day life without rumours and inaccurate gossip being spread around .
Thank you so much for the last part of your post – saved me from posting a much cruder response in anger to the ridiculous assertion made earlier about animal cruelty. 🙂
Nice post. I’m puppy raising right now for an assistance dog in training. I want her to be an autism dog some day to help kids like your son. I have seen it change the lives of kids like your son and their families. Best of luck in dogsitting:).
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