Everyone knows that dogs are man’s best friend, but what if the saying went one step further? Every day service dogs for autistic children are changing lives across the country just by doing what dogs do best — being a best friend.
The service dogs for autistic children play a slightly different role than the typical service dog that comes to mind. Rather than providing physical guidance or help with daily tasks, these dogs are providing emotional support to children who struggle with autism.
Let’s take a look at these amazing pooches and see how service dogs for autistic children are changing lives for the better.
Feeling the Love
Autism is a disorder that causes individuals to have difficulties with social interactions and communication. Service dogs for autistic children can make a huge impact on those who suffer from the disorder. The warm comfort of a service dog can help an autistic child be able to communicate and interact better with their family.
A furry friend can also help them begin to adjust to being out in public. Dogs provide unconditional love, and that makes a difference in the child’s life by giving them a narrow focus when situations get difficult. That unconditional love also spreads to the whole family. Not only do service dogs for autistic children provide ease for the children, but they can provide ease to the parents as well. A service dog’s presence in the family can quickly remove a layer of stress from the parents that was weighing them down before.
Many families who have a child in the family with autism will struggle to interact outside of their home socially with or without their child. Most of their time goes to making sure their child is relaxed and content rather than making time for friends. With the addition of a service dog, parents will see their child willing to enter social situations that before they would have adamantly refused. Their child might be able to handle more problems on their own with their dog nearby, taking the pressure off of the parents to be on their toes every second of the day and night. Service dogs for autistic children are trained to handle common issues that arise with the disorder such as wandering off or trouble sleeping. The dog’s presence also takes the focus off of the child in situations outside of the home, allowing the child to avoid negative stigma they would have encountered if they were alone.
Made for Each Other
The selection process for dogs to become service dogs for children with autism is highly selective. Personality is key, because the dog and the child have to be able to work together. Especially with autism, the dog has to have the right temperament to be sure that he’ll be able to act as a crucial calming presence.
Places like Paws With A Cause and Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence are great resources for finding out more about what kinds of services dogs can provide for children with autism, or taking the next step into adopting a service dog. Both organizations, and many more like them, make sure that the dog and child are able to work together and bond before they are officially made a team.
The process of adopting a service dog typically involves going through a class to get the child used to working with the dog. The class also works to determine how the child interacts with different environments to make sure the service dog and the child are able to establish the right relationship dynamic.
There are countless stories on how quickly a service dog makes a difference an autistic child’s life, and each one will warm your heart. Read more about service dogs in action and learn about how Betty, an adopted service dog, changed this boy’s life