People with ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder have a variety of behavioural difficulties. They often find verbal communication, non-verbal cues and social skills, in general, to be uncomfortable and difficult. As those who suffer from conditions like autism are said to be on a spectrum, not everyone has the same symptoms.
Unfortunately, support and resources are still limited for autistic people and children. One of the most popular though is emotional support dogs. Perhaps that is why you are visiting this page. After all, as cockapoos are known to be amiable, loving and sociable, you may wonder if they are good dogs for people with autism.
While we believe the short answer to this is yes, let’s look at this subject in greater detail. Before we go any further, we will look at how dogs can benefit autistic children.
How Do Autistic Children Benefit From a Support Dog?
It’s important to note that, as highlighted by the Autism Society, the specific resources and tools that help one child or adult with autism, will not necessarily work as well for another. While the research is still very new, there have been several studies that have shown that a bond formed between an autistic person and a dog can offer them positive sensory experiences and help boost their self-confidence, particularly in social settings.
As reported by a study in 2019 by the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, researchers noted that there were five overarching themes with autistic people who had reliable, dedicated, emotional support dogs. The themes were ‘love, companionship, ownership perception, calming and comfort influence and the ability of the dog to assist the child they were with in understanding the world and handling challenging experiences.
Choosing the Right Breed of Dog For Your Autistic Child
An emotional support dog does not necessarily require special training. If a child and a dog form a positive bond and the dog help the child meet goals and enriches their life, then that is a good thing. Some organisations, though, have found that there are specific breeds that are better for this kind of companionship than others. Ideally, dogs that are obedient, affectionate, eager to please, and sociable are best.
What About Cockapoos?
Looking at the personality traits listed above, it’s not hard to see why cockapoos would be considered a good choice for people with ASD. One of the most popular breeds in the UK and in other countries too, cockapoos are known for their friendly nature and for having an almost innate sense for knowing when their owners or people in their “pack” are feeling sad or unwell.
The Mail Online featured the story of a 6-year-old autistic boy who had developed a strong, unbreakable bond with a cockapoo puppy and how they were going to train for Crufts.
Food For Thought
Although we would say that generally speaking cockapoos would be a great choice for children with ASD, you need to remember what we already said – not all autistic people are the same. While some families have had positive experiences bringing a dog into the house. That their dog and child bond and better each other’s lives. There are also instances where this has not been the case.
Only you know your child well enough to decide what to do. You need to think about what is going to be involved in having a child with ASD and a dog to look after, especially if you get a puppy. You also need to consider the possibility that your child might not like dogs.
While cockapoos, in our opinion, are one of the best options for families with autistic children, you need to think about your own child, their ASD and whether a dog is a good fit or not. It may be an idea to introduce your child to a friend or relative’s dog first to see how they get on.