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
- Reduce 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.
Please note: This program is for children aged between 3 and 10 years and this program has a catchment area of any distance that can be driven in 2 hours from our national training centre in Sheffield.
Please click here to read our Autism Assistance information pack This provides information to enable you to assess whether you are eligible to apply.
To apply for this programme you must first attend an information day at our training centre in Sheffield. Information days are held once or twice per year and have a very limited number of spaces. To register your interest please complete the form below. Once we have a date confirmed for the next information day you will then receive an email alert which will enable you to apply for a space. These spaces are allocated on a first come first served basis for those that meet the programme criteria.
Demand for our autism assistance programme is extremely high and sadly far exceeds the capacity of our small charity due to our limited resources.