On a recent summer vacation to New Orleans, one of the things our family did was take a Swamp Tour. On our wait for the boat, my children saw dragonflies, for the first time in their lives. Christopher, who is sometimes wheelchair-bound, and seemingly nonsocial, felt the uncontrollable urge to get up and play with the dragonflies. He smiled, laughed and ran, swatting at the flies so they would chase him.
I don’t believe that children and/or adults with autism are asocial, as some people believe. I feel some just respond different socially. To see Christopher rise from a wheelchair to run and play was awesome. The happiness he felt was exuberant and infectious. I look forward to the day when he learns to interact with other children like that so he can make friends.
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that uses animals as a form of treatment. The goal/function is to improve a patient’s social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning. It is believed that animals can be useful for education and motivation, and I hope to involve Chris in these types of therapies in the future!