Dogs and ASD

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This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts. This was originally posted at Way Cool Dogs

 

BEST DOGS FOR AUTISM: AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD)

 
The best dogs for Autism Spectrum Disorder, or A.S.D., range from purebreds to gentle cross-breeds, mixed breeds, homeless dogs and shelter dogs. Larger purebreds and mixed breeds are for search-and-rescue, police, military, etc. Working with each dog’s natural abilities combined with gentle training helps place them in the correct field.

NEW AUTISTIC IDEAS AND CHANGES

Massive studies on dogs are bringing forward new ideas and changes. As far as autism in children goes, the best dogs for autism are the Labrador, Golden Retriever and Labradoodle (the lab-poodle mixes). They have a calm temperament, eager-to-please personality, and are highly intelligent. Adult dogs undergoes a special type of training (obedience, task work, etc.) for 1-2 hours a day for six months. They are then matched with their future owner. Note: the lab has been the most successful dog of choice for the past 27 years.

Last March 2, a report by U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that 1.5%, or one in 68 children, have autism. These numbers have increased dramatically since 2000. In in the 70s and 80s there were only one in 2,000 children who had autism. We need to take a hard look at whether the rise in autism comes from a true rise or other factors:

  • More awareness of the situation
  • Have the medical scientists expanded on the meaning of autism, resulting in growing statistics?
  • Is there a better diagnosis of autism than in the past?
  • Is there an increased awareness of autism, an increasing definition, and new factors involved?

NEW STUDIES ON AUTISM

On March 27 to April 2, the annual World Autism Awareness Week is celebrated. The special bond that dogs have with autistic children and adults are highlighted during this time. According to studies, the experience of training dogs for autistic individuals shows the positive difference dogs make in the lives of autism.

  • One study showed that 94% of families who had a child with autism and a dog reported that the child had bonded to their dog.
  • A study showed that 94% of families who had a child with autism and a dog reported that the child had bonded to their dog.
  • Another study showed that autistic children under five who have a dog in their family, develop prosocial behaviors:
    • “offering to share”
    • “offering to comfort”
  • Another study concludes that autistic individuals demonstrated more social approach behaviors and received more social approaches from their peers.
  • Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that:
    • Children with autism have fewer meltdowns with an autism dog.
    • The stress levels of the child’s parents are reduced.
    • Dogs make a difference in the child’s confidence.
    • Dogs help reduce anxiety, improve communication and help families do more together
  • You should decide whether your autistic child would benefit the most (1) from a companion dog, (2) a therapy dog, or a (3) service dog.

CHOOSING A DOG FOR AUTISM

Which type of dog would be best for an autistic child or adult?

Question one-“Does your autistic child like and enjoy dogs? Has he or she ever been around them?”

Question two-“Is your child allergic to dogs?”

Question three-“Is your entire family willing to commit to a long period of time with your child’s dog?’

Question four-“Are you able to handle your child and his dog in public?”

Question five-“What breed of dog will you and your child be the most comfortable with?”

SERVICE DOGS AND ASSISTANCE DOGS

Service (assistance) dogs –refer to the working dogs. They are specially trained to help children, adults or groups who have specific needs. This type of dog is different from other working dogs. Some of these working dogs are police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, etc.. Specially trained working dogs focus on their natural talents.

Working dogs who train for service can be mixed breed or purebred dogs. Currently, there are not as many purebreds used. If they are, they belong to the herding or guarding groups. Children with autism need a gentle dog who remains calm.

TYPES OF ASSISTANCE DOGS

  • Guide dogs-dogs for the blind and visually impaired
  • Hearing dogs-dogs for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Service dogs-for people with disabilities
  • Therapy dogs- go with their owners to volunteer in schools, hospitals, hospitals or nursing homes.
  • Search and rescue dogs- Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Bloodhounds, Australian Shepherds, Newfoundlands and mixed breeds.
  • This type of assistance dog uses a variety of dog breeds to do individual jobs:
    • Tracking dogs
    • Air Scent dogs
    • Avalance dogs
    • Cadaver dogs
    • Water search dogs

7 OF THE MOST POPULAR DOGS FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN AND ADULTS

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. Golden Retriever
  3. Labradoodle
  4. Great Pyrenees
  5. Staffordshire Bull Terriers
  6. Bernese Mountain Dog
  7. Newfoundland

CERTIFIED THERAPY DOGS OR ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY ( AAT)

Animal assisted therapy is when a therapeutic plan includes certified therapy animals. It is a “significant part of treatment for many people who are physically, socially, emotionally or cognitively challenged.”

AUTISTIC ORGANIZATIONS TO BETTER SERVE AUTISM NEEDS

ASSISTANCE DOGS INTERNATIONAL

Assistance Dogs International, Inc. (ADI) is a worldwide coalition of non-profit programs that train and place Assistance Dogs. Founded in 1986 from a group of seven small programs, ADI has become the leading authority in the Assistance Dog industry.

AUTISM SPEAKS

Autism Speaks provides expert advice, credible resources, and local providers from your information.

CHILDSERVE AUTISM INTENSIVES

ChildServe offers numerous comprehensive autism services to children (ages two to six years old) or young adults with ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Interwoven throughout the range of services are behavioral support techniques…. along with environmental plans, support plans and communication techniques.

ChildServe supports military service members and active veterans through employment opportunities and are strongly respected by their current agency staff. It supports a strong recognition, respect, promotion and celebration of cultural diversity. The organization ensures that each ASD client will be respected and accepted for their ethnic or cultural customs, beliefs, practices, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, gender expression, disability, and community differences.

DOGS FOR GOOD

The Dogs for Good organization explores ways that dogs can help people overcome specific challenges. They also enrich and improve lives and communities.

PET PARTNERS

Pet Partners began in 1990. Their Therapy Animal Program has set the standard for what it means to deliver excellence in animal-assisted interventions. Their excellence is:

  1. Their continuing education coursework for the general public that includes a Canine Body Language course and a course with a focus on Infection Prevention & Control for animals working in healthcare settings.
  2. Pet Partners requires all therapy animal teams to renew their registration with them every two years. They ensure that animals are healthy and enjoy their work (crucial to their welfare). Dog handlers are prepared for every situation.
  3. Engaging volunteers in special initiatives to promote all aspects of public health, including Pet Partners’ Read with Me™ and Walk with Me™.SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

    Scientific American has an excellent article, “The Real Reasons Autism Rates Are Up in the United States.”

    Videos to watch

    Sometimes videos bring things into light better for better understanding.

     
    WayCoolDog posts originally appeared on WayCoolDogs and are re-posted with the permission of Nancy Houser of WayCoolDogs © 2009 – 2018 WayCoolDogs.com..