We usually try to make our competitions relevant to those working with special needs. This year we’ve given away lots of fantastic books, PECs kits and sensory toys, to name but a few. However, for many people, we appreciate that December can be an expensive month, so we decided to offer some shopping vouchers. You can either buy your own special needs resources, or you can use it towards your Christmas/January sales shopping – the choice is yours! To enter, send us your “Pets doing Christmas” photos – these will be published on our social media pages and a winner will be selected to win an Axcis Andy bear as well as some online shopping vouchers. So get your pics in now!
Why pets are great for children with SEND
It’s not just all fun and games – pets are fantastic for many children with special educational needs or disabilities. Special Needs Jungle have a great article about this – they explain some of the benefits, which include:
- Physical Improvements Activities such as going out of doors to walk a dog can help you get plenty of fresh air, and pastimes such as horse-riding can help strengthen muscles in those with low muscle tone, and improve co-ordination.
- Calming Qualities A wise and gentle pet can calm and relax us all. A cat, or even a guinea pig on a child’s lap brings de-stressing benefits as they stroke the soft fur.
- Educational Tool Pets can be used to help children with their school work. Even reluctant readers are often willing to read to their pet hamster if they think they are listening.
- Teaches Responsibility Owning any animal is a big responsibility for the whole family and children can learn a lot about what the animal’s needs are. They rely on us for everything.
- Promotes Empathy Being respectful and gentle to animals is a very important lesson for even the youngest of children to learn. Owning a pet teaches children very quickly that pulling fur or tails will not be tolerated.
Boosts Confidence As children develop a successful relationship with a pet and learn to look after them, you can see them develop and gain confidence. Animals can give confidence and encouragement in others ways too. Dolphins have been known to tempt reluctant swimmers into the water, boosting them to learn to swim.
- Provides Companionship Anyone who has ever owned a much-loved pet will understand the strength of the bond and the friendship that grows between owner and animal. Animals do not judge and are happy to spend hours near a bed with a poorly child when perhaps they are unable to get out and meet friends. You can tell your pet everything after all.
- Aids Communication Animals have an instinctive way of understanding children even without verbal communication. They too communicate their needs for food, walks, to be stroked, to be left alone or to sleep very cleverly and children with SEND will enjoy having these ‘conversations’ with their pets. Animals can also be used to help children open up about their problems, and more and more therapists are using non-threatening pets for therapy.
- Life Skills Learning to complete tasks such as cleaning a chicken house, collecting eggs, feeding a cat, brushing a pony, putting water down for a dog, washing bedding or cleaning a cage are important life skills.
- It’s Fun! About as much fun as you can throw a rubbery stick at! Well, if you chose a dog that is… and having fun and laughing is what it’s all about. We all need a bit more of that in our lives don’t we.
Enter the Axcis December Giveaway today
If you’re a pet lover and would like to be in with a chance to win some shopping vouchers, why not submit a photo of your pet getting into the Christmas spirit? All you need to do is email them to us. All entries will go into a draw and one winner will be selected at random when the competition closes at the end of the month.
Terms and Conditions are applicable to all giveaway entrants.