Is a Service Dog Right For You?
Service dogs can address the following areas affected by autism by:
- Performing behaviors the child can model in therapy sessions.
- Behaviors dog can perform may include secondary leash or handle led walking in public.
- Interrupting or alerting to early signs of maladaptive or repetitive behavior, escalation in stress or anxiety, or other responses to triggers.
- Behaviors dog can perform may include chin rest, nose nudge.
- Providing grounding or sensory input to decrease physiological symptoms of stress/anxiety.
- Behaviors dog can perform may include applying weight or pressure by leaning into child or lying down on child’s lap or feet.
- Assisting with mobility limitations.
- Behaviors dog can perform may include retrieval, delivery or carrying of items, bracing for balance assistance, tug or push things open/closed, on/off, etc.
- Assisting with daily living skills.
- Behaviors dog can perform may include dressing, undressing, retrieval for motor skills support.
- Providing occasion for social engagement by utilizing social stories for the child and corresponding behaviors of the dog can be developed to enhance social interaction.
- Behaviors dog can perform may include visit, wave, bow, fist bump, etc.
Minimum criteria to apply for an autism service dog:
- Diagnosis of autism and must be between 6 to 16 years of age.
- Must be participating in ABA therapy or other intervention services or therapies.
- Designate one adult Primary Handler for the service dog team, called the Third-Party Handler.
- The Third-Party Handler must have the ability to independently complete Team Training, a hands-on training course and reside in our campus dorms in Sylmar, CA for 7 days. Please visit our Team Training page to learn more.
- Be prepared to share detailed information that pertains to eligibility including personal history, medical and mental healthcare history, and references.
- Desire to utilize a service dog for public access and interaction.
- Ability to provide a safe, loving, healthy and stable home for a service dog.
- Ability to provide for the dog’s physical, psychological and financial needs.
PLEASE NOTE: The demand for a service dog far outweighs our available service dogs in training and we do not guarantee that every applicant will receive a dog. We screen and interview applicants whose needs match the strengths and skills of our dogs.