What is Autism?
According to Austismspeaks.org:
“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors… ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances.”
How do Autism service dogs help individuals with autism?
With Autism diagnoses on the rise, there has been an ever increasing demand for Autism services dogs. This is especially true for children on the spectrum who can experience difficulty completing regular daily tasks and have difficulty interacting with their environment. After many months of specialized training, these dogs are able to provide emotional and physical support to these children who frequently experience a lot of anxiety and sensory challenges. Autism service dogs can provide physical safety to Autistic children who are non-verbal, wander or may not be aware of potential dangers in their environment. Individuals with Autism may also experience seizures. In this instance, Autism service dogs also provide protection, safety and support. Additionally, Autism Service dogs have the very special ability of helping kids on the spectrum learn how to interact socially, which can be a huge challenge for these children. Autism service dogs can drastically improve the quality of a person on the Autism spectrum’s life.
What is an Autism Service Dog?
Autism service dogs have been specially trained, usually by devoted volunteers, to successfully assist those on the Autism spectrum with their day to day lives. It usually takes many months, even years to train these dogs who are usually hand selected and sometimes specially bred to exhibit certain qualities, like intelligence, trainability good health and longevity. If they meet the requirements, some dogs may even come from dog rescues and shelters. Labrador retrievers, Golden Retrievers and often Labrador-Golden retriever mixes are chosen because of unique skills inherent in their breeds that make them great for Autism service. Much of their training is done in a home environment with skilled ASD service dog trainers. Additional obedience and socialization training is also undertaken to help the dog prepare for its important role to later provide support for an individual with ASD.
Autism service dogs are true companion for autism sufferers. Nuvet Labs appreciates their positive contribution and work for the well being of pets.
How are Autism service dogs paired up with people?
To ensure the best outcome for everybody, the process to receive an Autism service dog almost always requires that the guardian or parent of the individual with Autism fill out an application. This process can also include a personality assessment as well as letters of recommendation. Most organizations also request a prescription from a physician saying that a service dog is required for the individual with Autism to help manage symptoms or something similar.
Thousands of dollars goes into the training of these amazing dogs. Many organizations will request a donation or will ask families and individuals to engage in fundraising activities to help cover the cost of the dog. In some cases there are waiting lists. Some waiting lists are between 2 and 5 years long. Sometimes dogs can be attained much sooner. It all depends on the organization. Typically, the dogs are allowed to go to their new homes once training has been undertaken by the primary caregiver of the individual who has Autism. Once the dog goes to its new home, members of the supporting organization will do a home check and sometimes additional training to ensure that dog and family are adjusting well.
How you can help
There are many great organizations out there who make it their mission to place these awesome dogs in the homes of families that need them. Most of these organizations are not-for-profit so donations and fundraising efforts are always appreciated.
Organizations that you can help include:
The ways that service dogs can help people with special needs is almost unbelievable. They truly deserve our appreciation. One way you can show how much you appreciate your dog is by providing them with excellent nutrition and one way you can do that is by giving Fido a daily vitamin supplement like NuVet Plus. Users of NuVet Plus have shared with us amazing stories of how NuVet Plus has helped their Pup. To see for yourself, please check out the NuVet Reviews.