In honor of my family getting a puppy 2 weeks ago, I thought I'd post this link on how animals can help children with special needs:
Animal Assisted Therapy for Special Needs Children
When I worked at a rehab hospital for adults with neurological injuries I really enjoyed seeing the trained dogs come in and mingle with the patients. So many of the adults were so happy to see the dogs, and it was amazing how some of them tried to move an injured arm or speak more around the pet! I've also seen this same effect with children with special needs. Even children with only developmental delays do well with dogs. A few years ago I was working with a 16 month old boy who wasn't walking; he had mild sensory modulation problems, but other than that just a delay with walking and talking. His mother adopted a 2 year old dog, and guess what, the boy began walking and talking within 3 weeks of the family getting the dog. These two were best buddies, and it was so amazing to see how this gentle dog helped this boy. The little boy was motivated to walk so he could keep up with his best friend! I have many stories about how dogs, cats, and horses have helped the children I work with. I would love to hear your stories too!