AIBU to not get my daughter, who has autism, a rabbit?

(92 Posts)
BuddyBear12345 Thu 31-Mar-16 13:19:37

I know this is an odd thread. However, my daughter (who's 7) has ASD, she is nonverbal. She sees a specialist speech therapist, they told us that children who are nonverbal, and who have ASD, come on leaps and bounds if there's an animal involved. Usually a rabbit is best.

I have considered it, but I'm not sure a rabbit is right for us. I don't think it would be fair on the animal - I wouldn't treat it bad, I'd feed it, give it a nice home, etc. but I don't particularly want one! Would you get one, if you knew it would help your child?

arethereanyleftatall Thu 31-Mar-16 13:21:48

No, I'm with you, I don't think it's fair on the rabbit.
My limited understanding of rabbits is that they don't want to be kept in cages. I might be wrong.

Tailypo Thu 31-Mar-16 13:24:38

I agree with you both. OP, is there a chance you could perhaps look at getting another animal? Would a cat or dog be a possibility? smile

CoraPirbright Thu 31-Mar-16 13:24:50

Is there a pet that you would feel comfortable with? I don't think I could ignore the suggestion that it would be hugely positive (maybe have a look into it and do some research on the 'leaps and bounds' claim and then have a think?)

MimiSunshine Thu 31-Mar-16 13:25:47

Absolutely not. The specialist obviously knows nothing about rabbits to recommend one.

a rabbit will not just sit nicely and be stroked or picked up (well they will but on their terms only) they aren't soft toys which only give in terms of affection etc.
They require a lot of looking after, interaction and exercise (they run 3miles a day in the wild which is a lot on such little legs)

If it's about having a pet that your daughter can care for and take ownership of in a set routine get a fish (even they require work from you)

Gizlotsmum Thu 31-Mar-16 13:26:01

Rabbits don't make great children's pets. They bite and scratch if mishandled and can be strong. They are also a big commitment and need space, minimum recommended is at least a 6' x 3' x 2' hutch and additional run space. They need yearly vaccinations and can require dentals if not fed lots of hay or badly bred. They can also live for over 10 years and can't be left for a weekend without being checked.. I have rabbits but they are my pets not the kids..

elephantpig Thu 31-Mar-16 13:26:13

No, if you don't want a pet, don't get one.
There's always the chance that once you see it helping your child that you will come to love it, but it's not worth the risk.
Also, rabbits are had work, they can't be left to roam like a cat, or even to freely roam the house / garden like a dog, but really they need the same level of care - they are actually quite complex. They can be 'sickly' animals too.

If you take her to an animal place like a zoo or an aquarium does she react? Maybe get some fish and see how she reacts to the first?

daisychain01 Thu 31-Mar-16 13:26:39

How about a cat as an alternative? I have heard lots of lovely stories of how caring for an animal and being given that responsibility can have a very positive effect on the development of children with SN.

I don't like the idea of rabbits in cages, or even in a run in the garden, but given a loving home a cat could work well. Of course it would need your support.

Hawkmoth Thu 31-Mar-16 13:28:23

Rabbits are difficult, have you thought about a fancy rat?

Angelika321 Thu 31-Mar-16 13:28:25

My DC has ASD and I would never buy a pet. I'd worry about them being too rough and inadvertently hurting the animal. Has been known to poke dogs in the eye and in the muzzle and try to climb on the back for a ride.

Plus I'd end up looking after the animal.

MrsJayy Thu 31-Mar-16 13:28:55

My friends dc have 2 rabbits they need a lot of care and she says 1 of them isnt that friendly yanbu to not get a pet you dont want it really isnt fair and it would be another thing for you to do

daisychain01 Thu 31-Mar-16 13:29:34

I think the research has tended towards the tactile benefits of owning and caring for a pet, ie the cuddles and stroking aspects. Plus the daily routine of feed

BathTangle Thu 31-Mar-16 13:29:35

Do you have any friends whose rabbit (or other pet e.g. guinea pig etc) you could visit? It might help you to see whether or not it might help your DD? It seems to me a big responsibility (rabbits can live 8 years+) to take on if it turns out not to help your DD - on the other hand, it might turn out to be a small price to pay if it does help her.

DawnOfTheDoggers Thu 31-Mar-16 13:30:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Minniemagoo Thu 31-Mar-16 13:30:16

DD (9) has just been dx with HF ASD and the psych recommended a pet also and gave some ideas. We have nearly settled on a guinea pig after a lot of research and talk. No way would I take any pet on board if I wasn't 100%

madcapcat Thu 31-Mar-16 13:30:36

Would something like going to Riding for the disabled regularly be possible for you / of interest to her?

PhilPhilConnors Thu 31-Mar-16 13:31:58

We've had rabbits, and they didn't make good pets, they don't always like to be picked up, they can be scratchy etc.

My ds with ASD has really bonded with our cat, but the cat is a lazy lump who stays at home all the time and likes being cuddled. Perhaps a rescue could help find the right cat?

Then again, if you don't want a pet don't do it, as its care will inevitable fall to you!

BarkGruffalo Thu 31-Mar-16 13:32:40

A rabbit is a baaaaaaaaad idea. They're not good children's pets for reasons listed above! I say that as a bunny lover myself...

However a pet may be a good idea, maybe ask on the SN boards for advice on a better choice?

LordoftheTits Thu 31-Mar-16 13:33:44

Rabbits really aren't great pets for children, as said above. They are fussy and don't particularly like being handled.

Guinea pigs, on the other hand, are great family pets. They need less space, are happy to sit and be petted, will play with you, learn tricks and they are really fun to watch/listen to. I had loads growing up and they all had brilliant personalities.

Miloarmadillo1 Thu 31-Mar-16 13:34:13

Most completely NT 7 yr olds, even those who "really, really" want a particular pet, will lose interest after a while and leave all the care to the adult.
Rabbits are social, it's cruel to keep them singly, they can live up to 10 years, they need lots of space, they are flighty by nature and generally do not enjoy being cuddled, and they are easily injured if they are dropped or not held securely. Unless the rest of the family have thought long and hard about whether a pair of rabbits is a good 'fit' for your circumstances then don't do it. It's completely unfair on the pet when you are viewing it as an unwanted burden from the start.
Would another type of pet suit you better? Or can you arrange for your daughter to have access to animals another way? Maybe you can regularly borrow a dog to walk or visit a local city farm type place? Try your local branch of PAT ( pets as therapy) they may be able to arrange something.

MrsJayy Thu 31-Mar-16 13:35:49

Syrian hamsters are lovely little things and do like being handled and are awake in the early evening so she could bond with it but if you really dont want a pet dont get 1

BuddyBear12345 Thu 31-Mar-16 13:36:11

Thank you all smile

Maybe a cat would be good... The only issue is, we are not at home a lot. I'd hate to be neglecting the animal of socialisation. I never thought of riding! There's a few near us, I'll see if they offer it for SN smile

She loves the zoo, we go twice a month!

didyoureally Thu 31-Mar-16 13:38:24

We have 3 bunnies and they are wonderful animals each with its own personality! However just to warn you, they can live for many years if they are well-looked after and in good health. Also, they need quite a lot of attention and are not cheap pets either.
I have a DC with ASD who does not particularly like the rabbits due to the fact that they can be a bit unpredictable (eg struggling and scratching when they are not in the mood for cuddles), and is much happier in the company of our laid-back cat! My DC also dislikes the large amounts of fluff that they produce when moulting.
Would it be possible for you (both) to spend some time with someone else's rabbits to get a feel for the commitment that it entails and also to see if you and your DD actually like them.

MrsJayy Thu 31-Mar-16 13:39:11

I used to go the riding for the disabled till I was 19 I loved it its very theraputic

IceRoadDucker Thu 31-Mar-16 13:40:08

A rabbit is NOT a low maintenance pet. If you can't give a cat enough attention you certainly can't care for a rabbit!

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