AUTISM ASSISTANCE DOGS – Points to Consider
Before you begin the application process, it is important that you read this information and give it some serious thought. The following information is given to you so that you realize everything that is involved in applying for and having an Autism Assistance Dog.
- Child must have a documented Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis
- Child’s age at time of application’s submission: 4 to 11 years old
- Child’s age at time of Autism Dog placement: 5 to 12 (max)
- No other dogs in the home
- Child must not have fear of dogs
- Child must not have aggressive/violent behaviors towards others
- Home must have fenced yard (a common use area will not qualify)
- Ability to practice obedience and manners with Autism Assistance Dog daily
- Ability to always deal patiently and positively with your Autism Assistance Dog, as well as providing supervised exercise and play time
- Ability to attend and pay for obedience classes and/or hire a private trainer
Please carefully consider the following points
Our professionally trained Autism Assistance Dogs require:
- Minimum of one full year as a training year for both of you
- Total commitment and willingness to work with your dog daily
- The ability to place practice sessions ahead of other pressing demands
- Being patient and positive with your dog
- Play time and rewards for a job well done each and every time they work for you
- Exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis
- Family members to refrain from giving the dog attention until the dog has completely bonded with the child
About our Dogs
Dogs for the Deaf trains Autism Assistance Dogs for children and families living with autism. This program is geared towards successfully integrating children with autism into daily routines. Autism Assistance Dogs often have a calming effect on the child, increasing the child’s willingness and ability to communicate.
Autism Assistance Dogs can help to improve social skills and also reduce undesirable behaviors common to children on the autism spectrum. In addition, our Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to act as an anchor, providing a stabilizing force to keep the child out of traffic, bodies of water, and other dangerous situations.
Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to work with the parent/guardian and/or caregiver of the child with autism. When the “team” goes out in public, the child with autism is tethered at the wrist to the dog. If the child bolts, the Autism Assistance Dog is trained to sit, thus allowing the handler the ability to protect the child from danger. The handler can also cue the Autism Assistance Dog to sit, allowing the handler the ability to focus on a task that requires them to take their attention off the child.