Can service dogs help children with autism?
posted: Feb. 22, 2023.
Service dogs for autistic kids have been increasingly used in recent years as a way to provide support and improve the quality of life for families dealing with autism. These specially trained dogs are able to assist children with autism in a variety of ways, from providing comfort and security during stressful situations to helping with daily tasks like getting dressed or staying safe in public.
Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior. Children with autism may have difficulty with communication, struggle with sensory overload, and have difficulty with social interactions. This can make everyday activities, such as going to the grocery store or attending school, challenging and stressful.
Service dogs for autism are trained to perform specific tasks to help children with autism. For example, they can be trained to help children stay calm during stressful situations by providing deep pressure therapy. This is achieved by the dog lying on the child's lap or applying gentle pressure to the child's body. This can help reduce anxiety and meltdowns, which can be common in children with autism.
Another important role of service dogs for autism is safety. Children with autism may wander or bolt, which can be a dangerous situation if they are in a busy public area or near a busy road. Service dogs for autism are trained to stay close to their child and prevent them from running away or wandering off. They can also be trained to help the child cross the street safely, alert a parent or caregiver if the child is in danger, and even find the child if they are lost.
Service dogs for autism can also help with daily tasks, such as getting dressed, brushing teeth, and going to the bathroom. They can be trained to fetch and carry items, open doors, and turn lights on and off. This can be a big help for families who have a child with autism, as it can make their daily routine much easier and less stressful.
In addition to providing practical assistance, service dogs for autism also provide emotional support. Children with autism may struggle with loneliness and social isolation, and having a loyal companion can help reduce these feelings. Service dogs for autism are trained to be affectionate and provide comfort, and they can be a great source of comfort and support for children with autism.
However, getting a service dog for a child with autism is not a simple process. It requires a significant investment of time, money, and effort. Service dogs for autism are trained for hundreds of hours and cost thousands of dollars. This can be a barrier for many families, but there are organizations that provide assistance with the cost of obtaining a service dog.
It is also important to understand that service dogs for autism are not a cure for the disorder. They are a tool to help children with autism and their families deal with the challenges they face. It is important to work with a professional organization to determine if a service dog is appropriate for a particular child with autism and to make sure the dog is properly trained for the child's needs.
Service dogs for autism have the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of children with autism and their families. They provide practical assistance, emotional support, and a sense of safety. Although getting a service dog for a child with autism is not a simple process, it can be a valuable investment for families who are looking for ways to improve their quality of life. By working with a professional organization, families can ensure that their child with autism receives the support they need to thrive.