Autism Service Dogs
Service dogs can be very beneficial for children and adults on the autistic spectrum. They can provide a sense of safety and companionship which can help in many areas. Autistic service dogs can be trained to help with sleep issues, deep pressure therapy, wandering, social space issues and other sensory calming events.
Many people, and especially many children on the spectrum tend to have issues with social pragmatics. A trained service dog can aid them by serving as a social bridge or a barrier depending on the type of help they need. Many have found that by working with their dog, their ability to integrate with others improves. In some cases, children who have not previously spoken comfortably find themselves able, through working with their dog, to become adept at giving commands and phrases to them. This work can lead to better communication with parents, siblings and others in their social circles. For totally non-verbal individuals, they can achieve communication through hand and body signals, giving them a better an alternate way to express themselves which will be readily read and understood by their canine partner.
A person with an autistic service dog tends to be more at ease in their environment. The therapeutic effect has been shown to lessen the frequency and severity of sensory meltdowns. Autistic service dogs can be trained to stop a person from self-harm, and help with some repetitious behavior. The dogs are taught to nudge, kiss, cuddle and calm their partner to help them redirect and channel their energy and lessen the stim time needed to find inner balance.