Autism Service Dogs
Autism is a very complex condition and an Autism Service Dog can help a person with Autism in so many ways:
Increase Safety: Some children with autism have a tendency to bolt and have no concept of danger. Our dogs are tethered to the child and trained to take commands from the parent. The physical anchor prevents the child from going any further than the tether allows and provides the parents with an added sense of security. In addition to the physical tether, we have observed an emotional link between child and dog.
Increase Socialization: Having the safety and stability of a service dog allows families to get out of the house and participate in new experiences on a more regular basis. When individuals see the child with their service dog, it sparks interest and questions that engage the child and encourages the child to talk about their dog. Parents have often observed an increase in communication skills, sometimes immediately upon meeting their dog.
Provide Stability: Individuals with autism may have a difficult time transitioning to new environments and may experience sensory overload. The service dog remains a constant in their life and provides stability. Having a “constant” companion allows the child to focus on a known quantity as opposed to the new environment. This assists the child in dealing with a new situation or change in routine. Dogs have been used to help obtain better sleep patterns for children and parents.
Reduce Outbursts: Some Autism Service dogs help disrupt behaviors by making contact with their human partner by touch or by laying on their lap. With stimming or other outbursts, the dog may act as a tactile distraction to redirect the child to a more positive behavior. Some dogs will learn this behavior over time or can be trained to proactively perform a “touch.”