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Therapy dogs for children with learning disabilities

Therapy dogs for children with learning disabilities

A therapy dog ​​may not sit on the couch and ask you how you feel, but it may sit on the couch next to you in your psychotherapist’s office if you feel comfortable with it. Therapy dogs provide comfort and assistance to those suffering from disease, anxiety and disabilities.

Therapy dogs are dogs whose purpose is to provide comfort.

In nursing homes, for example, therapy dogs can come in and treat the residents. They have also helped in hospitals, schools, disaster areas and with people with learning difficulties Yes developmental disabilities . .

How does a therapy dog ​​help?

The comfort that a therapy dog ​​offers literally helps to relax the brain. Just as healthy relationships with others change the way our brains work, the presence of the therapy dog ​​can have an impact on the various neurotransmitters released by the brain.

Oxytocin, for example, also known as the «hug hormone», calms and calms the nervous system, increasing cognitive function. It has also been found that therapy dogs help reduce blood pressure and the amount of cortisol released, which has implications for increased healing capacity.

How can a therapy dog ​​help my child with a learning disability?

If a child is struggling to learn, it can be a stressful experience to keep trying to read or write or participate in an unnatural learning activity.

Due to its calming effects, a therapy dog ​​can help calm children and make them feel more relaxed, which can help the learning process.

Therapy dogs are not necessarily service animals

Therapy dogs can provide comfort to the sick or help calm a child with reading difficulties. Dogs and service animals also exist to help people with disabilities, but have different training criteria than therapy dogs.

Service animals are specially trained to perform tasks for someone with disabilities. There is a great deal of confusion about how a dog can qualify to be a service animal. Unless the service animal meets a set of minimum standards, it cannot be considered a service animal.

However, once these minimum standards are met, a service dog allows a person with a disability to have greater independence. Someone who is blind, for example, can use a stray dog ​​to travel independently in a city without having to rely on an assistant. A child in a wheelchair, for example, can rely on the therapy dog ​​to lift a dropped object without having to rely on the support of another adult.

This independence can result in greater self-esteem, a greater sense of freedom, and a better quality of life. .

Where to find out more

Here are some organizations where you can learn more about therapy and service dogs:

  • www.petpartners.org
  • www.therapydogs.org
  • www.schooltherapydogs.org

While many people are skeptical about the benefits a therapy dog ​​can have, research supports its ability to calm, soothe and aid in healing.

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