Autism Assistance Dogs

Our autism assistance programme is life changing for both the child with autism and their family. Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to provide safety and to facilitate a more independent and socially inclusive life for both the child with autism and their family.

Our clients are children with autism who are often unable to communicate or express their feelings in a way that is understood by others. They have little sense of danger or of the consequences of their actions. 1 in 100 children in the UK are diagnosed with Autism. Half of these children will have a tendency to bolt and wander off from their care givers, which can be very dangerous, and has often resulted in injuries to the child.

Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to provide safety and companionship, helping to bring independence and a more socially inclusive life to both the child and their family. They have been shown to:

  • Reduce stress for family members
  • Promote positive changes in behaviour
  • Provide comfort for children with autism when upset
  • Suppress behavioural outbursts

There is no known cure for autism, and every individual is affected differently. Our Autism Assistance programme works in a number of ways:

Many of our clients have a very limited sense of danger or of the consequences of their actions. They often have a tendency to bolt and wander off from their care givers, putting themselves in danger and often resulting in injury.

Our dogs are trained to keep a child safe using a wide range of methods, reducing the risk of injury or distress for the child and reducing stress and anxiety for the child’s family.

The outside world is a mass of complex and seemingly unpredictable images, sounds and people that can be highly stressful to our clients. Visits to the local shops or family outings are often avoided by our clients.

Our dogs help to reduce this stress and make these day to day experiences achievable. They provide a safe, reassuring, consistent and predictable focus for the child in such situations, which enables them to function in these usually stressful environments.

Autism Assistance Dogs can also reduce behavioural outbursts and enable a child to become more engaged and independent. They provide comfort for the child when upset and can help a child to communicate more easily.

Autism Assistance Dog Stories

Please note: This program is for children aged between 3 and 10 years.
This program has a catchment area of any distance that can be driven in 2 hours from our national training centre in Sheffield.

Unfortunately we are currently unable to accept new applicants for this programme. This is due to high demand, an extensive waiting list and our limited resources.

However, please do keep checking the website for updates on when the application process for this programme reopens. You can also request an email alert when it reopens and get other updates from the charity. To do this please just add your email address below and submit