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Fish - Calming Sensory Input I know a lot of parents of children with various isms who refuse to get a pet because they’re worried that their child will harm it or that it will take too much effort to care for a pet.  Unenlightened, they seem to feel that pets could be a bad thing.  Pets are one of the best forms of therapy and support that a child with isms can have – let me enlighten you. As a general rule, the more interactive the pet, the better. There’s a bit of a scale per se – fish are the least interactive while dogs are the most interactive with other pet options in between.

Fish – Visually Calming
If your child really can’t handle pets at all, then fish are a good choice. You’ll find that if you go somewhere with a large fish tank such as a doctor’s waiting room or a restaurant, your child may be “glued” to the glass watching the fish move about.  Gazing upon swimming fish has a very calming effect.

In my opinion, caring for fish is not maintenance free.  The downside is that the tanks need regular cleaning and the aquarium plus accessories have a lot of up-front costs. If you do go the fish route, consider a larger self-supporting tank with a lid to reduce the risk of your child pushing it over or putting undesirable objects in the tank.  If your child has frequent meltdowns which involve throwing heavy objects inside the house, then fish aren’t a good idea. Keep in mind, fish tend to die easily which can cause a bit of trauma for children. If you’re really unsure about fish, a fish screen saver will do just as well with smaller children.

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