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Adventures in Autism 008 07-06-15 Pros and Cons of Pets

Open Eyes Podcast



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The subject of pets when you have children with autism is a big one, and we cover our thoughts on this subject, as well as others. The pros and the cons, and what we’ve had in our experiences with Seth.




Adventures in Autism is a show about our experiences with our son, Seth, diagnosed with Severe Autism at the age of 3. It has been a difficult journey, but an adventure nonetheless.

Each week, we will bring you a different topic and how it relates to a child with autism. Topics will include things like siblings, favorite foods, toys that work (and ones that don’t!), schooling, emotions and more.

The show will air on Mondays and Fridays at 12:00 PM and 12:00 AM EST.

IF you have a story of your own relating to autism, please contact us and come be a part of the show.


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The following are the show notes used to record this episode. They are here for your reference and convenience.


Talk about our situation with Seth and.. previously with Fish Sandy.. and now Elliott.


  • Companionship… any pet can fulfill this
  • Helpful.. explain how there are special needs dogs trained specifically for kids with autism.. plus a regular, loyal house dog could be helpful if it is smart and alert you of danger
  • tactile pleasing.. whether it is a fluffy cat or dog.. or scaly lizard… or feathery bird… the tactile sense could also be of either comfort or calming
  • help to learn express emotions… “Awww Elliott is soo adorable!” …
  • Responsibility… from feeding, cleaning/bathing, bathroom duties. They may or may not be able to do all, and maybe not alone, but could help give a sense of responsibility and duty for others (seth likes to feed elliott and will occassionally clean his litter box with my supervision)


  • Unforeseen allergies
  • Fearfulness of the animal.. or habits of the pet
  • Annoyances with sounds.. smells.. textures from the pet
  • Depending on what type of pet.. pet destroying and/or getting into childs things and upsetting them
  • Child harming the pet.. whether intentionally or unintentionally
  • Pet harms the child.. causing distrust or fear

Before getting a pet.. be sure child is ok with the idea and is ok with the pet type.. do NOT make getting the pet a surprise (xmas box puppy example) unless you are absolutely sure it is what they want and can handle it.. let them help pick out the pet.. and name it (if they can speak). Make sure the child has been exposed to the animal type before so that they are more comfortable around the pet.. and.. to start off with.. do not get a baby pet (elliott was not a kitten when we got him example)


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