York Haven, PA, December 22, 2016 (Newswire.com) – Landon, an 8-year old boy from Pennsylvania, will share his Holiday’s with his new Autism Response Dog from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR). Just recently, an SDWR trainer delivered “Apollo” to Landon and his parents at their home in York Haven.
Based in Virginia, Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers has a mission to provide specially-bred and trained dogs for adults and children with invisible disabilities like Diabetes, PTSD, Seizure Disorders, or in the case of Landon—Autism Spectrum Disorder. Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, “SDWR” has over 500 service dogs working across the US and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving almost 1,000 families.
Apollo has already received thousands of hours of training as an Autism Service Dog through SDWR’s puppy raiser training program where volunteers raise puppies in training for about a period of one year and then through the foundation and skill set training provided through SDWR trainers at the facility in Virginia. Apollo will continue to learn under the careful guidance of a certified trainer from SDWR and through the rapport he develops with Landon and his parents at their home in York Haven.
Landon was diagnosed on the Spectrum at the age of 4 and faces the daily challenges associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “Landon experiences emotional meltdowns and has difficulty with loud noises,” states his mom Jennifer, “he also has issues with personal safety. Landon doesn’t recognize danger and can easily wander into the street or in front of a car.”
These are but a few of the common challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder. New scientific research studies into Autism therapy provide positive evidence of the difference a service dog can make. Dan Warren states, “The studies showed children experienced fewer sensory overloads, ‘meltdowns,’ smiled more frequently, experienced better sleep patterns, and had less frustration when around their service dog.” Autism service dogs are also trained to keep their children safe by preventing them from wandering away or on to streets. The child can be tethered to the dog to prevent such life-threatening situations.
One of the main goals when training an Autism service dog is the need to keep a child safe and calm. According to Mr. Warren, “the studies further found that safety aspect was a huge relief for families as parents’ anxiety over their child can lead to social isolation.”
Now with the arrival of Apollo, Landon and his parents will have yet another tool, a four-legged one that has received training to assist him to live a happier and more enriching life. Since Apollo is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Landon everywhere—from his family-favorite camping trips to restaurants, shopping and even trips to the doctor.
Apollo will keep Landon safe as well as help him cope with the sensory overload challenges that come with an Autism diagnosis. During his first week of delivery, Apollo, along with an SDWR trainer, accompanied Landon and his family to a community Holiday Festival. Apollo immediately calmed Landon when a loud parade occurred and also helped Landon experience the Festival’s finale Fireworks display. One of the main goals of the family is to be able to have such experiences in public with Landon.
Apollo will continue to work with the SDWR trainers in the families’ home to learn new skills to assist Landon as well as to achieve public access certification. Certification must be achieved by Apollo and his handler—in this case, Landon’s parents. Dan Warren is quick to point out that, “all the incredible services these dogs can provide are through progression, hard work and dedication of the organization and the family who must work together to build on training foundations and fundamentals. This is about an 18-month program for follow up and customization training.”
What sets SDWR apart from other non-profit service dog organizations are the customized training methods and SDWR matches dogs to their “person.” According to Dan Warren, “that important bonding time between dog and person can begin to happen right away. For nearly a decade we’ve been utilizing this method of dog placement and we’ve achieved amazing results.”
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers is a non-profit organization based in Madison, Virginia, and relies on donations to help the Organization in its mission, “Until there’s a cure…there’s a dog.” To make or donation or learn more about SDWR, please visit the website, http://www.sdwr.org. To learn more about Autism Service Dogs visit http://www.sdwr.org/service-dogs/autism/. To find out how you can volunteer as a puppy raiser visit http://www.sdwr.org/volunteer-opportunities/.