My mom is going to school now. It seems if you are over 60 you can go to school for free here. How exciting for her. Shes taking English and PortugueseII and another class. I forget which one really but there is a third. She also works at sears and is a LMT. pretty cool to have a mom that can come and give you a massage when you need it , don’t you think? Anyway ,I digress. She wrote a paper on dogs and autistic kids. It got me thinking.
It seems for some autistic kids there is a huge imbalance in cortisol (stress hormone) and circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles). Sammy seems to be one of those kids. He has a hard time both sleeping and waking , resting and regulating. He becomes anxious easily and stresses over things beyond my comprehension. Kids like Sammy struggle with a higher level of cortisol and have difficult with day to day regulation.
“Cortisol rhythm is extremely out of sync in children with ASD, due to imbalanced melatonin and ACTH production. The more severe the autism, the more abnormal the diurnal rhythms.9 The need for cortisol is so great however, that cortisol suppression is resistant to dexamethasone-suppression testing.10 While there is a huge cortisol dysregulation, DHEA-S and testosterone seem to be similar in children with autism and those without.11″ read the full article here
There is evidence suggesting that animals, like dogs, lower cortisol in children like Sammy. It can help them adjust to new environments and new people. The mornings are the hardest part of our day and it seems some ASD kids have a spike in cortisol about 30 minutes after waking in the morning.
In the two weeks before the dogs were brought in, the children’s cortisol levels rose 58 percent during the first 30 minutes they were awake in the morning. But when the dogs were present, this awakening response was reduced to just a 10 percent rise. And when the dogs were taken away after four weeks, the cortisol awakening response jumped back up to a 48 percent increase. read the full article here
So maybe a dog would help him. I don’t know that I interested in an actual service dog but maybe more a companion dog. There are tons of articles supporting companion dogs for kids like Sammy. He melts around dogs and babies. The barking doesn’t seem to bother him and maybe I could teach the dog to wake him in the morning rather than me. I don’t know whats best for Sammy yet. I know an older dog would be best for us and it has to be a bigger breed dog to not get lost in the shuffle. Of course there is cost, vet bills,upkeep and grooming. Does the cost negate the benefit? How do I make this decision
I just want to make things easier for him. I hate seeing him struggle in the mornings and cry about everything. Maybe if his stress levels were lower he would be able to get dressed and enjoy time in the morning without all the tears. Like everything else it is simply about making t better for Sammy and the rest of us. His autism affects all of us in this house.
What do you think , would you consider a dog to help your child? whats the down side? Is there anything I am forgetting?