Dogs for AutismPublished July 25, 2008
Do you know someone with autism? This confusing condition affects a multitude of children with a variety of challenges. And carefully trained dogs make a positive difference in their lives and that of their parents. DogsForAutism.com focuses on German Shepherds because their versatility, trainability and herding instincts make them ideal companions for many autistic children. The breeder of my own Magic sent me information about the group, which trains Assistive-Search-Alert (ASA) dogs. Every child is different, and therefore each dog’s training must be specific to his or her needs. The goal is to increase security, functionality, and independence for children with autism. But unlike other assistance dogs that partner with one person needing help, the ASA dogs are part of a team that includes the child's parents. The dog offers assistance, safety, and more independence in public. For children who tend to wander, a trained dog can help contain, stay with, or search and find a child. ASA dogs also are trained to alert a parent to specific activities or situations. You can do a search for “dog + autism” and find several organizations that train for this purpose in different areas of the country. I would encourage you to support these programs. All are in need of financial aid, because it costs dearly in time and funds to train and place these dogs—often at no charge to the family.
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