A Retrospective: When we got our therapy bird Doodle

 Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Two Birds on the Spectrum

Quality Time Between Friends
In only a short week and a half, our little family has grown quite attached to our little pet bird. For me it has been a welcome reprieve from studying ASD and ASD therapy methods. I have always loved nature specials and have found the little details about caring for a bird really fascinating. It's funny to take such care with Sofie's Gluten Free/ Casein Free Diet and add to that a little bird's organic pellet diet. From what I hear it will affect how the bird acts as well. 
I really love spending time with the little bird. And I can't get enough of seeing Sofie interact with her "baby." It's really sweet to see how similar they are. And I couldn't help but laugh reading about cockatiels- Birds are animals with Autism OR are individuals with Autism humans with bird-like tendencies? I will give you a moment to recover from me blowing your mind.
A Happy Place
Here are some characteristics I have read about cockatiels (I don't want to generalize for all birds)....
-crave routine and can exhibit "behavioral problems" when in a chaotic environment
-love attention but you must learn to approach them gently and quietly. It is a good idea to present your hand so they can approach you.
-never just grab a bird. They will learn to be anxious with this approach.
-a great healthy balanced diet helps them be much more social and happier. Digestive issues can contribute to illness but also can make the bird withdrawn and reluctant to be held.
-always speak calmly. Even when you are disciplining a bird never yell. They will only get anxious hearing yelling.
-if you notice the bird sitting in a corner of its cage for a long period of time, open the cage and offer your finger. Gently move the bird to another area of the cage with a toy or take the bird out for some playtime. 
-birds that spend long days by themselves without any human or bird interaction become withdrawn and will startle easily when someone does try to interact with it. 
-often misunderstood as an animal meant to just look at in a cage, it can actually be incredibly affectionate when cared for by someone that understands the sociology of birds. 
-if possible, encourage your bird to fly in a safe environment. Encouraging flying will give the bird practice with using its wings and it will learn to fly strong. 
For those of us that love a little one on the Spectrum, these characteristics can feel a little familiar. I know that little Doodle feels like Sofie's spirit animal. They really look like kindred spirits. 

Going to bed happy.

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