Canines 4 Hope Dog - Autism Service Dogs

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Autism Service Dogs - Raising Awareness
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Autism Service Dogs, Trained Service Dogs for People with Autism

Autism Service DogsWhat is Autism?
Condition disturbing perceptions and relationships: a disturbance in psychological development in which use of language, reaction to stimuli and interpretation of the world, and the formation of relationships are not fully established and follow unusual patterns.

Autism Service Dogs

Dogs have been proven to be an asset for children diagnosed with autism and their family. These dogs provide a social "bridge" for children who are often secluded by others because of their behavior or lack of social interaction. These well-trained dogs can also provide comfort as well as calm children who suffer.

An Autism Assistance Dog or Autism Service Dog can change the lives of a family with a child that has been diagnosed with autism or autistic symptoms. The diagnosis of Autism can turn a family's life and normal schedules upside down but with the help of a trained Autism Assistance Dog or Autism Service Dog, some of the intense pressures can be relieved.

Autism Service Dog Training

Trained dogs to respond to the following Autistic symptoms:

  • Impulsive Running - dog will help retrieve and get child back to parent
  • Self Harming Behavior - dog will interrupt behavior and alert parent
  • Awakening at Night - dog will bark to alert parents
  • Interpret Mood Swings - dog will crawl into child's lap to calm child
  • Interrupt Social Isolation - child tends to focus on dog companionship
  • Non-Verbal Child - child learns to give dog commands
  • PICA - dog will stop child from eating inappropriate items
  • Self Stimulation - dog can interrupt behavior

Autism Service DogBenefits of Having an Autism Assistance Dog
There are countless benefits of owning an assistance dog for children and families affected by autism. These dogs are faithful companions that assist these children and families with activities of daily living as well as increasing the safety of the child and reducing the stress level of their family. Other advantages of having an autism assistance dog are:

  • Increased social interaction - assistance dogs have proven to improve social skills and social interaction with children affected by autism. These dogs are naturally interesting which often draws the attention of the autistic child as well as others.
  • Redirecting repetitive behaviors - dogs can be taught to nudge a child that is performing repetitive behaviors, this touch is often all that is required to redirect the child from these behaviors.
  • Improved independence - assistance dogs can provide independence by allowing the child to walk with the dog as opposed to constantly holding the hand of a parent or adult. These highly skilled dogs can assist the child while under the direction of the adult.
  • Increased vocabulary - children with autism are often noticed to have an increase in vocabulary after being paired with an assistance dog. The children seem to be more comfortable in speaking with the dog which transfers more verbal interaction with people.
  • Improved quality of sleep - assistance dogs provide a certain level of comfort that can often improve a a child's ability to sleep more throughout the night.
  • Overall calming ability - when performing everyday tasks, children feel less pressure working with a dog as opposed to their peers. The tactile experience of having a dog as a companion has also proven to provide calming effects. Autistic children who work with dogs have been documented to feel less anger and experience less act of aggression compared to the time before receiving an assistance dog.
  • Recovering children quickly - these assistance dogs are taught to track the child in the event that they bolt or become missing. These dogs are capable of locating the child in a variety of environments and terrain. This ability to locate the child quickly, greatly reduces the risk of serious harm.

Autism Service Dog at work, Stuart FloridaAutism Service Dogs are trained to assist the person with autism and help them gain the independence and the confidence to perform daily activities similar to most people. An Autism Service Dog will help a person or child living with Autism prioritize incoming information and assist in handling normal situations in a proper manner.

Personalized training of an Autism Assistance Dog will help enrich the lives of the family and provide a child with autism the companionship, protection and independence they deserve.

NBC News Affiliate, WPTV Florida, Features Autism Service Dog, Dacen's Story

Parents with son on the autism spectrum turn to service dog to stop their son from leaving

 By: WPTV Staff

PALM CITY, Fla - A major concern for parents of children with autism is they can quickly run away without knowing where they are going.

Vanessa LeBlanc remembers the day her six-year-old son, Dacen, bolted from their house.

"I said who lets their kid run down the street, and I realized it was my son. I jumped out of the car and I was screaming because we live off a main road," she said.

"My husband came running out of the house, and Dacen crossed the street. We're grateful that he didn't get hit. It was a very scary time for us."

Autism Service DogsThat's when they decided to add Bastogne to their family. He is a service dog trained by Canines for Hope in Palm City.

"Our goal with Dacen and his dog Bastogne is to be able to have a dog that is capable of laying beside him indefinitely anywhere that he's going to be," said Jason DeVito, a dog trainer and owner of Canines for Hope.

When we caught up to them, Dacen and the two-year-old Labrador were in the bond-building stage of their training. "Dacen sees a school bus driving down the street. He's interested so he takes off. So Bastogne will help keep Dacen where he needs to be," said LeBlanc.

The key to Bastogne's training is not letting Dacen run away "The dog's going to be tethered to Dacen, where he'll have a waist leash that goes from his waist to the dog and the dog's trained not to run when he darts out," said DeVito.

If Dacen somehow slips out, they'll look to Bastogne to lead the search.

"Bastogne is in ongoing training to search him out and find him, recover him a lot faster than calling 9-1-1 and putting out a bulletin to search for our son," said LeBlanc.

When the training is over, Bastogne ideally will be a service dog as well as a companion for Dacen.

"Dacen has really attached himself to Bastogne and I think Bastogne really likes him a lot. I think it's going to be good," said LeBlanc.

Autism Service Dog, Miguel's Story

My five year old son Miguel is the most precious gift in my life. He was recently diagnosed with Autism. My husband and I were very concerned and overwhelmed when we heard the news.

Miguel has a limited vocabulary and rarely speaks. He suffers from mood swings and has violent tantrums several times a day. Miguel receives occupational and speech therapy several times a week. As a parent there is nothing that I wouldn't do to help my son. After countless hours of research on the internet for ways to cope, and to improve my sons quality of life, we were blessed with a gift from God. A service dog.

Lucy is a one and a half year old Golden Retriever who is being trained to work with our son Miguel. Lucy is Miguel's new best friend and the two of them are inseparable. In the short period of time since Lucy's arrival, we have seen a significant improvement in Miguel's behavior and speech development. He is a much happier little boy. His outbursts have diminished greatly, and his recovery time has improved.

Lucy offers Miguel unconditional love and companionship. Miguel's speech therapist and Occupational Therapist are now integrating Lucy into their sessions. For example, the speech therapist uses Lucy to help Miguel learn Lucy's body parts. His increased vocabulary has greatly improved his social skills and his ability to communicate with family and friends.

If you have a special needs child and want to do something to improve their quality of life we definitely recommend the addition of a service dog into you life.
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