Service dogs are usually ready for training at 16 weeks. When most people hear of a service dog, the first thing that crosses their minds is a guide dog meant for the blind, but the use of service dogs has expanded to other sectors over the years. Apart from helping the visually impaired, they also come in handy to help persons with diabetes, anxiety disorders, physical disabilities, and autism. The fact that there are diabetic service dogs, PTSD service dogs, and autism service dogs today shows the important role service dog trainers play.
Medical autism service dogs offer immeasurable therapeutic assistance. An autism service dog can help an autistic person to remain calm when faced with overwhelming situations, as well as with day to day tasks. These dogs can help both children and adults. If getting an autism service dog for your child is what you have in mind, there are several things that you need to consider.
How Autism Service Dogs Help Children with Sensory Issues
An autism service dog can help autistic children having sensory issues. For example, if a child on the autism spectrum starts feeling overwhelmed in a noisy, crowded area, the dog helps him to stay calm. The child’s sensory issues are something that you must never overlook when deciding whether or not to get a service dog.
Dogs can be trained for minimal barking in the event that a child has noise sensory issues. And just the tactile sensation of petting a dog can help with various touch issues some on the spectrum have. In short, any concern that touches on your child’s sensory issues needs to be fully addressed before getting an autism service dog.
Cost Factor: How Much Do Service Dogs Cost?
Financial constraints should never stand in the way of getting your child the help they need to cope with Autism. There are several ways to help you raise funds. SDWR, for example, has different Service Dog Grants that become available from time to time. And there are also fundraising efforts that can be made.
Community fundraising events is popular and can be a great source of help. As you make plans for a fundraiser, you can also seek the help of a doctor who specializes in dealing with autistic children.
Child Specific Needs in an Autism Service Dog
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects each afflicted child differently. What is challenging for a given child on the autism spectrum might not be an issue for others, and vice versa. Fortunately, autism service dogs are trainable in a manner that helps kids in different ways. For example, a service dog trainer can train the dog to lead your child out of hazardous situations such as fire outbreaks. Does your autistic child often forget essential items when leaving the house? The dog training can also focus on reminding the child to carry what they need. Therefore, if your child requires assistance in a particular area, make sure that it is part of the dog’s training.
Although a service dog might sound like a superhero, they are still a dog at the end of the day. Having an autism service dog in your house will come with certain changes. For instance, are you ready for some additional cleaning to keep allergic family members safe or get rid of pet odor? Will you be okay with footing dog expenses such as veterinary bills and purchasing dog food? Although an autism service dog may be a good match for your child, make sure that everyone is ready for the new member of the family, as the entire household will be involved.
Final Word on Owning a Service Dog
The use of autism service dogs is a trend that’s spreading rapidly. This is not surprising given the benefits it offers children on the autistic spectrum. But before making the decision to get an autism service dog, parents need to think through the complexities of owning a service dog before deciding whether or not it is a proper fit for their child.