Autism Assistance Dogs
Autism Spectrum Disorder affects the entire family. Amazing dogs are now being trained to assist the child and parents in a variety of ways. These dogs have shown to bring the child comfort and confidence, as well as openness during therapy, school and public outings.
Autism Assistance Dog Tasks and Work
· Traumatic episode reduction and recovery/Meltdown management
· Increased Social interaction
· Friendship and acceptance
Is an Autism Assistance Dog right for my child?
Just as vast as the range of capabilities and independence experienced by those challenged by autism, are the ages, environments and family structures. Fortunately, if your child and family situation permits an Autism Assistance Dog, the solutions are vast as well. As an Autism Assistance Dog’s serviceable life provides for a long-term solution, sometimes exceeding 10 years, the malleability of our dogs and handler-based training program allows modifications throughout the life of the dog/handler team. As the child grows and develops, adapting and benefiting from integrating therapy and an assistant, his forever best friend, life and character shall grow, develop and adapt as well.
Often handlers are asked if their Assistance Dog is in training; the standard reply is “Assistance Dogs are always in training.” Utilizing a handler-based training program allows the parent to assist in this process.
The program we utilize in training Autism Assistance Dogs parallels the training program protocol we employ for PTSD and Psychiatric Service Dogs.
In some cases, the child or young adult’s range of capabilities permits the child to participate in these training protocols, with proper parental supervision.
The parent participates as the Handler of the training team as the challenges of a Service Dog precludes the child from specific training exercises.
As each child, dog and situation vary, we tailor a strategic plan to produce a miraculous solution.
Our organization offers a lifetime commitment to each recipient and each dog. Our ongoing drop-in training platform allows your child, your dog, and your family to grow and adapt as your child grows and adapts.
Medium functioning autistic children are in some ways similar to their forever best friends; they live in the moment. In many ways the behavior modification exercises we employ to shape the dog have a similar effect on the child. An example; we tether the dog to the handler/child to shape the dog’s behavior so that he remains in the Handler/child’s proximity at all times and under all distracting situations. In a similar way, tethering the child to the dog over time shapes the child’s desire to remain in the perimeter of the dog, fosters increased focus on the dog, and reduces instances of a child darting about. In public excursion situations these dogs help the child to remain calm, holding onto the handle of the dog’s harness, providing comfort and confidence, which has the effect of moving the child along.