Do Autism Assistance Dogs Help Soothe Meltdowns?

Time and again statistics have reported that companion animals provide a sense of comfort and a relief from stress for humans of all ages and cultures. There is a calming effect from the sensation of stroking their soft fur, looking into those big beautiful eyes, and knowing that they never judge or question anything about you. The numbers of pet dog owners are once again on the rise.  Families are increasing ownership of their four-legged friends instead of having more children. And now, with rates of autism ever increasing, many families are looking for answers:  Can Autism Assistance Dogs help with their child’s situation?

The realization of how trained service and assistant dogs can help and become valuable assets for people with physical and mental disabilities is gaining traction. Among these disabilities are people who suffer with autism and related disorders.  There is ample evidence to prove how useful assistance dogs can be to both children and adults.  With the increasing numbers of diagnosed autism cases, the need for trained Autism Assistance Dogs is becoming more critical for families across the United States.  Autism Assistance Dogs are very special in that they provide a unique approach to dealing with the obstacles that families need to overcome on a daily basis.  Unlike service dogs that are generally a “one person” dog, Autism Assistance Dogs help provide comfort and support for the entire family as well as the autistic child or other children of the household.  Autism Assistant Dogs, like therapy dogs, must have a well rounded personality, on and off-leash obedience, and be gentle with their sensitive handlers.  What sets them apart the most is their ability to track human odor. This tracking ability is a huge asset to families with autistic children as it is a common behavior for them is to run or simply wander off.  The benefits of an Autism Assistance Dog in the home is well documented. However, the positive impact on a child over the years is still in the testing phase as this is a relatively new tool for these children and their families.

It is imperative for a dog trainer to pick the best fit for the family when placing an Autism Assistance Dog into its forever home. Socialization and the dog’s ability to handle high stress situations are a huge part in deciding which dog to place with the child.  For example, children with autism often have unexplainable breakdowns or meltdowns that can be loud, aggressive, and/0r destructive. Behaviors like rocking, hand flapping and mumbling are not what most house dogs are not accustomed to from their owners. Autism Assistance Dogs help calm or interrupt these behaviors, so, it is important for a dog to have a solid threshold of strong nerves to assist them with handling these situations and the life style of the family.

Autistic children struggle with human communication which often sets off tantrums.  However, it has been seen that autistic children are able to communicate with animals, especially dogs, better than they do with people.  Autism Assistance Dogs help because they don’t require a lot of talk.  They thrive on non-verbal communication and, most importantly, they do not reach and grab, touch or poke the children. The children are able to give affection, and receive it, when they are ready and in their own way.

On another note, Autism Assistance Dogs help give parents and siblings an outlet for their stress as well.  There is a certain comfort in knowing and understanding that there is a “resident” resource on duty at all times.  This is especially important with the tracking/trailing capabilities of the autism service dog.  Parents endure a great deal of stress in their efforts to communicate and soothe their child twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Living with a child that is difficult to comfort or understand can be a huge hardship and parents are to be commended and respected for their  dedication.  Parents and siblings also need an outlet and relief from the stresses of living with an autistic child. Autism Assistance Dogs help provide this outlet by offering a soft ear or furry belly to rub, not to mention serving as a partner for a jog or stroll through the park. Better yet, you can load them in the car and take them with you on vacation.   The entire family can benefit from these dogs.

Autism dogs can range from high dollar imports to a puppy adopted from a shelter or rescue group.  Please understand that not just any dog will work.  You are encouraged to research and talk with your trainer about the dog that will best fit your home.  Please feel free to contact us at info@autismassistancedog.com or 866 200 2207  with any questions or concerns you may have regarding autism dogs.

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