Trained Service Dogs for People with 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.
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
Service Dog Training
Trained dogs to
respond to the following Autistic symptoms:
Running - dog will help retrieve and get child
back to parent
- Self Harming
Behavior - dog will interrupt behavior and alert
- Awakening at
Night - dog will bark to alert parents
- Interpret Mood
Swings - dog will crawl into child's lap to calm
Social Isolation - child tends to focus on dog
Child - child learns to give dog commands
- PICA - dog
will stop child from eating inappropriate items
Stimulation - dog can interrupt behavior
Benefits 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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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."
That'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,
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
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
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.