Autism Support Dog

The Cause

"A few weeks ago we were given an incredible gift. Landon is an Autism Support Dog, and already, after only a few short weeks, he has changed our lives. "

Safety. Comfort. Companionship. Autism Support Dogs can dramatically and positively change the lives of children with moderate to profound autism and their families. The dog prevents a child from bolting or running away, keeping them safe. The dog aids the child with transitions from one space to another and with new tasks, new people and new situations. This helps reduce the isolation many families experience as trips to the park, a restaurant or even the grocery store become possible again as there is a higher degree of predictability of the child's behaviour in social settings. Having a dog lowers aggression and frustration levels for the child and passively teaches the child responsibility.

It costs up to $35,000 and two years to breed, raise and train each dog and fundraising covers all of the expenses involved so that each dog is given to the recipient free of charge.

Who Will it Benefit?

According to a surveillance study (done by the Centre for Disease Control in the United States) 1 in every 68 children are now found on the autism disorder spectrum. Boys were found to be five times more likely to be on the spectrum.

Imagine, just for a moment, having a child with moderate to profound autism. You love your child. He is bright, busy and has the best smile in the world! Autism does not define your child. Having autism does present some challenges for them though.

When he is uncomfortable in a situation he bolts or runs away with no regard for his safety. This is very stressful and you stop going out on family outings. He has difficulties understanding spoken language and non-verbal body language and may be non-verbal himself.

He struggles with transitioning from one environment to another and uses repetitive behaviours as a self-calming mechanism, something his peers are sometimes uncomfortable with. Your son has difficulties sleeping, waking up often and unable to get back to sleep.

Now imagine that an Autism Support Dog enters your family’s life.

Your son’s bolting behaviour diminishes as he is hooked-up to the dog’s working jacket, and he quickly learns that bolting doesn’t get him very far as the dog is an anchor. Your son focuses on the dog and derives great comfort from this friendship. You and your family can now do things other families take for granted like going to the park, as your son will be safe.

Your son may say the dog’s name out loud. The dog provides a bridge for your son to have positive interactions with his peers. Transitions are easier because the dog is a constant in your son’s world, something that is very helpful and comforting for a child with autism. Repetitive behaviours are replaced with petting the dog, and this calms your son. Sleeping becomes easier as the dog provides consistent comfort throughout the night.

One Autism Support Dog will not change the world, but that one dog has changed your son’s entire world!

One Autism Support Dog will not change the world. For a child with autism and their families, though, one Autism Support Dog changes their world in a SIGNIFICANT and LIFE-CHANGING way and can provide support for up to eight years, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.