autism and animals

Discussion in 'Dog News and Articles' started by smkie, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    There is a show on pbs radio right now about animals and autism..how the animals relate differently it is a very interesting program, i won't go into it but I thought if anyone was interested it is on right now. I find the fact that animals (especially dogs) are being used to detect cancer, work with epileptics, depression, as well as seeing eye, just goes to confirm my feelings about Mary in the first place..she is an angel...and she knows it. i just posted this incase anyone has autism in the family they might be interested. The book name i missed, as well as the phone number, but the email is uptodate atkcur.org
     
  2. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I've been seeing more and more about dogs and their work with autistic people. Jane Pauley did an entire show on it the other day. They help adults as well as children.

    Our animals give us so much; we've only begun to understand the barest part of it, yet so many of these wondrous creatures are still living the lives of slaves and are being used as petri dishes in laboratories - even in the halls of companies that sell pet products.
     
  3. fennash

    fennash Border Collie Lover

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    I think it's wonderful the way dogs can help people. My dad is a dog behaviourist and trainer and has just started working with a charity that teach disabled people's own dogs to help them around the house.
    We did have a sad story about a dog and a child with autisum though. The dog was very frightened of the child, I guess she couldn't understand the strange body language and noises. They family had to give her up (I can't imagin having to make that sort of decision) but she has a lovely new family now, who adore her.
    Lynn
     
  4. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    That is sad, I am glad it worked out for the dog. It takes a special animal to understand when the communication is different. Bronki was especially good with alzhimers. He would hold so still and that would provide an non-threatening type interaction. I worked with autistic and retarded adults for a year. once when just killing time I asked a client which hand, I had a couple tic tacs in one..he chuckled and brought down two fingers on each hand..this is the first time I had ever been given a response to anything. I was astounded..I looked into his clear brown eyes and thought "you are in there aren't you" there are different levels, the people I worked with were considered extreme, or what they labeled profound. If dogs can reach these people I think it is another vote for the fact that they are the angels on earth and we are just beginning to realize it.
     
  5. Melissa S.

    Melissa S. New Member

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    I am a special education teacher, with quite a few students with Autism. In fact, we have a service dog at our school for a student with Autism. It is such a cool relationship. He is a brilliant dog. The HARDEST part, is teaching the rest of the school not to touch, call to or even give commands when the dog is 'working'. We are K-3 so all the children are facinated with him.
     
  6. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    That's interesting. What kind of dog is he? On Jane Pauley's show that dealt with autism, there was a teenaged boy with autism who had a service dog, but the opposite was true for his dog. His therapists actually wanted and chose the dog to be outgoing and interact with other people to help the boy connect and deal with other people.
     
  7. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    Melissa if you have the time, could you tell me how the dog interacts with someone that has autism? i would be very interested in knowing about how the dog "helps"
    I worked with four adults, all young, in their 20's,all considered profound.. i don't know what the dog would do that would help them cope in our world..how they would bridge the gap..I hope you know what I mean because I can't find the right words..
     
  8. Melissa S.

    Melissa S. New Member

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    "Buddy" is a Golden Retriever. The student at our school sometimes has a hard time coping with change, or things not going the way he thinks they should go, often resulting in 'melt-downs' (crying, tantruming, screaming out, etc) This of course, is very disruptive in a 2nd grade classroom that changes constantly. Buddy has been trained to remain passive and in the background while the student is doing well. He sleeps most of the day (of course) on his bed in the back of the classroom. However, if the student gets upset or worked up, Buddy has been trained to come to his side and offer calming reassurance. The student pets and talks to Buddy- helping him remain calm and accept the change or dissappointment. Buddy is allowed to take his "working harness" off at recess to play and interact with the other children. When is vest is on, however, no one is allowed to pet or talk to him other than the student or teacher because he is "working" It is quite a neat thing to observe and be a part of.
     
  9. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    That's fascinating, Melissa!

    My younger sister isn't autistic, but she has always - from the time she was a baby - thrown the most horrific tantrums; screaming at the top of her lungs, kicking, flailing, hitting anyone who got near. Our big yellow cat, Gulliver, took it upon himself to stop them. He would run to her when she'd start and if she didn't stop immediately he would rub the front of his fangs on her head to get her attention. Once he got her attention he would turn his motor up loud and look at her and purr until she calmed down.

    When she didn't want her tantrum interrupted, she'd just run to her room and shut the door before Gulliver could get to her . . .

    Amazing gifts these animals have. Often they don't get enough credit for their intelligence, initiative and capacity for problem solving.
     
  10. Melissa S.

    Melissa S. New Member

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    YOu are exactly right Renee. It amazes me how from being dead asleep, Buddy can recognize the difference between noise in the classroom (which can become very noisy) and when he is actually needed by the student. He just seems to wander over to his desk when the student is becoming worked up-even before I notice it.
     
  11. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    That is so perfect!!!! i wish the men I worked with could have someone to care about them like that. I was good working with the two becuase I am soft spoken and have a quiet manner...loud people would just make the whole situation so much worse..i thought that was what the dog would do. but I wan't sure .i am glad for both of them.
    Gold stars for the school system in providing the service too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  12. Melissa S.

    Melissa S. New Member

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    Well they had to be very very careful in the dog selection. The first dog he got didn't work out. He got scared/intimidated when the student acted out. Buddy has to remain calm and by his side no matter what happens. He would never hurt the dog, but he definitely 'needs' him physically. The studen't family and the community had a HUGE fundraiser for the dog. Every vet had a collection jar, etc...The dog was soooooooooo expensive.
     
  13. nicco

    nicco Wolfpack

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    I too trully believe that these animals have gifts. Speaking of cats, Renee, once I had a terrible stomach ache and I was home alone. The pain started around 1 a.m. and it wouldn't stop and I was moving and turning on sides and couldn't sit still from the pain. My older cat (usually he sleeps with me and if I move too much until I fall asleep he leaves :p ) was with me in bad that night and the more I moved the closer he got to my stomach and kept me worm. I couldn't believe it :eek: . He took care of me that night.
    But I've heard that cats can sence pain and negative energy..things like that...
    Nicco :cool:
     

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