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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

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Having a Pet

By Sarah Matincheck

Something I’m sure everyone wants in the world would have to be a pet. Whether it be a cat/dog/fish/hamster/bird/lizard, heck even a rooster. They are all pets someone would want to have in their life. I myself am blessed with four adorable cats, Skipper, Oliver, Willow and Olivia. And having a pet can give someone with autism a great sense of companionship, responsibility, and help someone feel less lonely. I remember when we first got the boy cats, I was in elementary school and it was my younger sister’s birthday party in the summer and we were both given a gift that day. When my dad showed us the cats as kittens I was over the moon happy. Jessica named her cat skipper from the tv show Penguins of Madagascar leader penguin. And I named my cat Oliver after my favorite kid movie Oliver And Company. After having the cats, I began to feel less lonely because back then I wasn’t that good at talking to other kids my own age. I was able to talk to the teachers, other adults and my cousins of course. But after a while I was able to talk to people much closer to my own age thanks to Oliver. When I talked to him as a kid, I pretended I was talking to someone my own age and it was easy because I had someone to talk to constantly. Not to mention love and care for.

With my autism I feel that it’s very important to have a sense of responsibility whether it be having a pet, keeping an eye on something and or someone, doing a chore, or something else. My point is, if you have a pet you can gain more skills that can be very helpful such as responsibility, better social skills, a great sense of hard work, a great conversation starter when trying to make friends, and an amazing coping mechanism for when you feel anxious/frustrated.

Meaning I will at times be scratching my leg and or tying my shoe when really, I’m pretending to be petting my cat as a way to calm me down from something. Now I know there are certain things that can prevent others from having a pet such as apartment rules and family allergies. But an alternative could be working at a pet store so you could be surrounded by many pets and help others find a great pet. You could also try walking dogs for someone be around other dogs because that way you can again, be around other dogs and get some fresh air. That’s all I have for today, but I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I do because my cat deserves the credit for the inspiration of this great blog.

Have a great day!