I have seen first hand how animals can open kids up, not only those with special needs, but also kids walking down the street. I have a very fluffy, small dog, and he's a hit with all kids! Kids always ask to pet him, and accept his kisses with giggles. He does great with kids with special needs too, and can tell when he needs to be calm and let them approach him. I feel, and have seen, that animals can read humans and adapt their behavior to best support the individual they are interacting with.
In the "Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Autism", the viewer is introduced to Zachary, a five year old with autism, who has been attending speech and language therapy and occupational therapy for approximately three years. Zachary is introduced to Henry, a certified therapy dog, during therapy sessions and makes great progress. Below are the five videos (20 minutes long broken into five separate videos) showing Zachary's progress over several sessions with Henry.
What are your thoughts on Animal-Assisted Therapy?
Shelly thinks her dog would make a great therapy dog!