Therapy with animals makes a big difference in the therapies that are carried out with children with SEN. Therapy animals have become increasingly popular with families with children with SEN. There is research showing that animals can make a big difference in children’s physical independence and emotional well-being. Additionally, service and therapy animals are being trained to help a wide variety of people with many different disabilities, in many settings.
Therapy animals receive specific training to perform different tasks and have access to public places at different levels. According to the Service Animal Association, a disabled-trained dog works to help the owner perform tasks that he cannot perform on his own due to his disability, an emotional support animal works to improve the health of its owner who is disabled, and The therapy animal works with its owner to improve the health of others.
Dogs or horses are the animals that are most used to do this type of therapy. For example, the horse helps people with postural problems to improve their posture thanks to riding the horse. Dogs can guide people who are blind or deaf, alert others to a person having a seizure, pull a wheelchair, retrieve dropped items, and perform meaningful physical services to a person with a physical disability.
Service dogs are not pets; they are highly trained and are considered "medical teams". As a result, they have a special legal status and can accompany their owner practically anywhere they can fit.
Dogs are good for emotional support, but there are more species that can also improve emotional state, such as cats. Emotional support animals are not highly trained, but they do provide significant emotional support and comfort; as a result, they are allowed to travel on airplanes and in hotels, restaurants and other public facilities that do not allow pets.
As for animal therapy, they are animals that have been trained for the domestic environment . They do not belong to a disabled person but to someone who brings the animal to the facility for therapeutic purposes. A therapy animal may visit nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, or schools to provide stress relief and comfort. Unlike service animals and emotional support animals, therapy animals are not medically necessary and therefore cannot (for example) enter a school without special permission.
The animal and the child with SEN
Service and emotional support animals can do a lot for your child with SEN, regardless of their disability. Of course, the animal must be trained to be more than a warm and friendly companion, you must learn to work with the animal to make the most of its capabilities and abilities. Here are just a few of the things a service or emotional support animal might do for your child:
-Guiding the child with a disability, enhancing their physical safety
-Alert others that something is happening to your child, such as a seizure
-Pulling out of a wheelchair or improving balance
-Help you pick up objects that have fallen to the ground
-Provide companionship and emotional support
-Improve social skills
-Develop self-esteem and responsibility
-Helps to control anxiety or improve mood
-Helps to model appropriate behaviors
If you think it may be a good idea for your child, you will only have to go to the disability associations that your child has and ask about this type of animal to assess whether it would be a good idea for your child or not.