Impact of animals on autism

I have mentioned before that I think animals can have such a positive impact on children with Autism.  They seem to form a very deep connection with special needs kids in general.  I honestly don’t know how this bond is formed,  especially when connecting with other people is such a struggle at times for some kids on the spectrum. 

I wanted to share a picture with you all today of just how this appears at times.

Gavin had another massive meltdown this morning.  Something to do with Legos is my best guess.  Sometimes I don’t know why we are having a meltdown in the first place as Gavin can’t always articulate his feelings.

So Gavin is having this meltdown and the entire time Maggie is sitting there with him.  It’s like she is his little guardian angel.  She just sits there patiently waiting for him to regain his composure.  If he begins to get to aggressive,  she will nudge him and he will respond positively.

It really is an amazing thing to watch.  I think that Maggie is much smarter than we give her credit for.  I truly believes that she knows that Gavin is special and so she instinctively knows how to comfort him without really doing much of anything. 

We rescued Maggie about 3 years ago,  in fact it will be three years this December. She was seized in a raid on a fighting dog ring.  She had been badly abused and still has the cigarette burn scars in a few places. 

She sat at a shelter for over a year because no one would give her a chance due in part to her appearance.  She looks very aggressive and I think people were afraid of her and made assumptions based on appearances. 

We stumbled upon her picture online and searched until we found her.  We went up that night to meet her and ended up bringing her home that day.  She is a total sweetheart and has never been aggressive towards people or animals.  She was forced to do things that clearly went against her nature. 

She was a perfect fit for our family.  She needed us as much as we needed her.  We saw in her what other people missed because they didn’t look beneath the surface.  We know first hand how that works.  My kids are judged all the time by people who won’t give them a chance.

Maggie is a blessing to have around and illustrates perfectly why you should never judge a book by its cover. Who would have thought by looking at her how amazing she would be with kids and how deep a connection she would forget with my kids.


– Lost and Tired

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Rob Gorski
Father to 3 boys with #Autism, 1 with Fragile Health. Award winning blogger, techy and advocate. #AutismDad @GuardianLocate
Rob Gorski

Rob Gorski

Father to 3 boys with #Autism, 1 with Fragile Health. Award winning blogger, techy and advocate. #AutismDad @GuardianLocate

0 thoughts on “Impact of animals on autism

  • January 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I agree! We got a part Siamese kitten half tabby…half Siamese. She loves our son! He picks her up and hugs her and will not scratch. She will be three this year. I really do believe all cats have Aspergers. She has picked up on some funny behavior that often reminds me of our kiddo. She cracks me up!

  • December 31, 2012 at 1:56 am

    I love your story about Maggie.  I teach at a High School and for 10 years I rescued and raised kittens in my classroom and want to share the story of Kelly.  When she was first “assigned” to be in my class she refused to come in as she did not self identify as belonging.  I am the type of teacher that takes my cues from my kids and I would not force her and learned within less than half a day that no behavior plan would work.  She saw through all of that.  For two weeks we watched and monitored her where about on campus.  The first week we could not let her see us watching her, the second week she would accept seeing us but from as far across the campus as possible.  The third week we could get within 100 feet but not attempt to talk to her.  When I was watching her one day I heard a kitten (my kitten program had been in existence for 3 years already).  I had to crawl under a vending machine to get it and all of a sudden from behind me I hear Kelly say “whats that?”  I explained it was a kitten and told her it was very cold, dirty and hungry and I needed to back to class to help it and asked if she would come with me.  Without hesitation she followed me and we began our 6 year journey from someone who would have day long meltdowns in school with many social challenges to a young woman who had learned skills and became successful in school and worked 3 days a week at Petco.  The kittens were the best tool for Kelly to learn vocational skills, and self monitor her behavior by telling us she needed to be with the kittens when she felt herself getting upset or heading toward a meltdown.  It was profound and animals are such healers and guides in our journey of learning to live in right relation.

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