Animals have this incredible gift of being able to communicate and touch someone's heart without words. Social interactions are one of the many challenges children with autism face on a daily basis. Depending on your child's area of the spectrum, that might be the least of the struggles.
Due to the nature of autism, getting an ESA– an Emotional Support Animal– can be extremely beneficial for your child, your family, and yourself. Here's why you should consider getting an ESA.
ESA vs. Service Animals
At the crux of the matter, an ESA serves a lot of the same purposes as a service animal. There are, however, some crucial differences to be aware of. An ESA can be any animal you choose that offers comfort and companionship do those facing prolonged emotional or mental duress (such as the death of a loved one) or mental illness (such as PTSD or anxiety). The animal is able to stay in rental properties that have anti-pet rules and travel on commercial airlines in the cabin, as long as it is something you can keep on your lap. If you have an emotional support peacock, he'll have to stay home.
A service animal is trained specifically to help one person with a physical or mental ailment. For example, someone who is blind or has severe epilepsy. Many people– adults and children alike– opt for a service animal to assist with their autism. Service animals can go places that an ESA can not, such as restaurants and movie theaters. They are also viewed as working animals rather than pets.
The main barriers to getting a service animal include availability, cost, and the distinction of being considered a working animal. As such, families lean toward an ESA instead so that the pet can be a loved member of the family and treated as a pet.
Where to get an ESA
As mentioned before, an ESA can be any animal you choose. Most opt for a cat or dog, though birds and rabbits are also popular choices. You can have your current animal listed as an ESA or adopt or purchase a new animal for this purpose. Adopting a rescue animal is a great way to give back the world and give love back to a creature who needs it.
To be eligible for an ESA, you must have a letter from a medical professional– either your family physician or a psychologist would do– stating the necessity of an ESA in relation to your situation. The information can then be provided to a registration agency to have the ESA registered, in return for paperwork you can present to landlords or flight crews regarding the animal. For more information on how to get an ESA, visit https://www.emotionalsupportanimalco.com/blog/how-to-get-an-emotional-support-animal/.
How an ESA Helps a Child with Autism
First and foremost, an ESA provides an autistic child with judgment-free, unconditional love, and companionship. Animals, particularly dogs, are highly perceptive when it comes to emotions. They do not require well-crafted sentences or commonly accepted social cues to communicate; they are more than happy to be present and loved.
Interacting with an animal can help a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder feel safe and cared for and empower them by teaching them passive responsibility for a living creature. The ESA can help reduce stress and frustration by providing a predictable communication pattern for your child. Finally, the animal can help your family bond together over the shared love.
If you've been looking for new ways to help your child with their Autism Spectrum Disorder, consider getting an ESA. The new addition will bring your child and your family years of joy.