Both a calming influence and a source of unconditional love, a service dog offers many significant benefits for a child with autism.
Specially trained to help the child in various life situations, it can be especially helpful in experiences that involve anxiety or stress. The presence of a service dog can interrupt repetitive behaviors, prevent or calm meltdowns, comfort the child enough to improve sleep and provide a real sense of companionship and acceptance.
Sometimes the dog also becomes a social bridge to other people, helping the child learn how to interact with peers in a way that otherwise would have been foreign. And in situations where a child wanders away or gets lost, service dogs can help track his or her whereabouts through scent.
For all these reasons and more, many parents and caregivers choose to get service dogs for their children. Before you do, however, there are several important tips you’ll want to keep in mind. From thinking through the responsibilities of caring for a service dog to knowing which breeds are best suited to the job, doing a little preliminary research can greatly improve your experience.
A good place to start is with the attached resource, which can help you plan and prepare for adding a service dog to your family. In it, you’ll find six key tips to guide you toward finding the right animal for your child.
From seeking referrals to understanding the difference between service dogs and pets, here’s everything you’ll need to know to make a good decision.
For more information, visit www.autismhomesupport.com