1. The dog can assist children with autism safely access different environment’s. This could help your child become more independent and also help with transitions, which can be difficult for children with autism.
2. The dog can be a calming influence and give a sense of security to your child.
3. The dog can actually help your child focus on academic and social tasks. The reason that this happens is not known by many trainers of these service dogs, but it is a good side effect.
4. The dog can be tethered to your child to prevent the child from wandering away, which a lot of children with autism are prone to do.
5. The dog can actually track and search for your child if the child does wander away (if the child is not tethered). This takes out a lot of parents fear about their child getting lost in school or public places.
6. The dog can try and stop a child’s repetitive behavior by nudging the child. This does take specific training for the dog on what your child’s behaviors are. But the hope is that the child will much rather pet the dog than continue the repetitive behavior.
7. Another positive side affect of having a dog is that it appears to help the child become more social with their peers. Again the trainers of these dogs do not know why this happens, but the dog does seem to help the child engage more in social activity.
Several organizations have sprouted up that train dogs for this purpose. Several names are: 4 Paws for ability, Autism Service Dogs of America, and Dogs for autism. While the dogs do cost approximately $10,000-$13,000 many parents have become creative, in raising the money for these dogs. Some have had bake sales, car washes etc in order to be able to afford this for their child. The sky is the limit when it comes to fundraising for your child!
Check this out to help your child with autism in school and in the community become more independent in their life. Good luck!
JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special eduation system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book “Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game.” The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled “The Special Education Spotlight” send an email to: JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com. For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to: http://www.disabilitydeception.com