Please Don't Pat Me

Australia

Autism Dogs

Autism assistance dogs are most commonly, though not exclusively, used for children on the Autism spectrum. Autism assistance dogs can lead to reduced stress and anxiety levels in the child. Their tendency to ‘escape’ from home may also be reduced, because the dog may be trained to watch out for escape attempts and prevent them. There is a controversial practice of tethering children with autism to assistance dogs and using the dog to prevent escaping however it is usually safer for the dog if it is not used as a weight to stop a bolting child but rather to alert a parent and/or trained in tracking to find an escaped child. They are also often trained in some tasks similar to psychiatric assistance dogs such as providing deep pressure therapy to a child who is overwhelmed. The presence of an assistance dog can also encourage positive social interactions and give the child a chance to utilise their communication skills. These things can have a profound effect on the day-to-day lives of the child and family.