Young Iris Grace, a spectacular five year old autistic girl who paints some of the most moving artwork we’ve seen (seriously, she rivals Monet and Andy Warhol).
Well now we’ve found that she’s not only creative and adorable, but she’s also found a true friend to show her overflowing compassion for.
Thula, a one year old Maine Coon (a large cat bread known for its gentle demeanor) has become a strong companion for Iris.
Her mother Arabella Carter-Johnson was thrilled when, after a long search to find the right pet for her daughter, Iris became attached to a Siberian that the family was cat-sitting for Christmas. This led finally to their discovery of Thula.
Throughout history we’ve heard of the exceptional value of a good friend and I’m sure we all know that there is nothing more important than your friends and how you treat them.
But for a child with Autism – a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs social interaction – it can be exceptionally difficult to find the words to speak let alone developing a connection with others.
Just last year, Naoki Higashida who is also a young child with Autism (he was thirteen at the time he wrote his book, The Reason I Jump) opened our minds to the world of a child dealing with Autism with his harrowing account of the struggles of one living firsthand with the disorder.
Much like Higashida, Iris offers a view of the world that is at once entirely unique and also moving to any individual. Unfortunately, that view is rendered unavailable to the rest of us too often.
But pets are proven companions that bring the best out of us, especially at our worst. There is a growing body of literature on pet therapy as a viable option for providing comfort for patients with cancer, heart disease and mental disorders.
The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that Animal Assisted Therapy can aid in the physical, cognitive, social and emotional functioning of clients.