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Can you recommend a good first pet for a ASD child? Is it true a pet can have a calming effect?

I have a 5 yr old son with Aspergers and he wants a hamster. I would love a dog, but he is actually afraid of dogs and cats, so I am looking to find a happy compromise!

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Asked by 2boyz2pray4 at 12:32 PM on Jan. 19, 2011 in Pets

Level 13 (1,014 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • guinea pig
    it can run around more than a hamster. He can feed it greens

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 12:33 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • My son has Asperger's and loves all animals. He actually takes Horseback riding lessons at a Therapy center. WE have dogs cats and a tree frog. The tree frog is his. My problem with hampster's for any child is that they bite and escape! I suggest going to a pet store and looking around, asking questions and seeing if they will let you hold or pet all the interesting animals. I personally feel rats are the best cage pet. they are friendly and very very smart! a lot of people can't get past the bald tail though...

    Answer by But_Mommie at 12:35 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Maybe a rabbit? I like the guinea pig idea too...they are a little bit more sturdy of a :)


    Answer by mom2twobabes at 12:36 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Try a little dog.. there as with all kids is an adjusting period. Dogs and cats do have a calming effect. They also have health benefits like lowering blood pressure.

    Answer by dancer at 12:36 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • My son has Aspergers and he has a whites tree frog. The frog is a 'no touch' pet, but he can be interesting to watch. My son also likes our calico cat Sassy.

    Answer by MizLee at 12:39 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Guinea pig all the way. We have 3 little potties and they are so sweet and will cuddled with you and are very entertaining

    Answer by mtnaspen at 12:42 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • I bet you if you take him to the Shelter in No Time; your Son will find his New Best Friend:) Wishing you lots of luck!

    Answer by daisyb at 1:02 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Guinea pig is right. I have a therapy dog and we worked in a school for all ranges of autism and aspergers. The school got a pet for the kids to have there because the dog was such a hit and they selected a guinea pig, which worked out well.

    Keep the guinea pig in a more public area of your home, like family room where you can keep an eye on the handling of the pet. Guinea pigs need clean cages, water, food and exercise all of these things your child can be hands on to help him bond, encourage other social interactions, without fear, peer pressure, or judgments.

    Guinea pigs are really responsive too. They can come when called, learn their name and they make a lot of vocalizations from purring to grunting to squealing.

    They are soft and cuddly and comforting too.

    Yes, animals often have a calming effect.

    And don't forget the great opportunities for having your child read to his pet too, another bonding exercise.

    Answer by spottedpony at 1:23 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • have you thought about a ferret? i have three of them and though they run around and are crazy, they are wonderful for my son. i let them out in the kitchen and they play chase with my son. he loves it. though i do supervise the play time, it gives them all excersice. and summer we take them for walks on there harnesses. good luck finding a pet for him. also, have you thought about a rat or two? they are very fun pets as well.
    i would try and push a dog on him. maybe kill two birds with one stone. get a puppy so hes not so affraid of it, maybe? and they can grow together and maybe it will cure his fear of them.
    the horse back riding is such a great idea! i work at horse farms all over and a couple of them have therapy groups. a few of the kids have autism, and cp, and aspergers, and one is very very "miserable", but when he shows up to the barn, he is a totally differant kid!
    honestly i would try the horse thing first!

    Answer by mama2bof2 at 3:01 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • contin......horses have a very calming effect. the kids learn all aspects of horse care, and i even have one little girl, 6 yrs old, who comes in and helps me clean the stalls and groom them, "in exchange for her riding".....not really, but she thinks it does, her and she is wonderful with the animals......good luck!

    Answer by mama2bof2 at 3:03 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

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