Friday, June 15, 2012

Service Dogs for Autism?

While no silver bullet exists in terms of medication, therapy or other resources to cure or treat autism, Service Dogs seem like an intriguing option.

Granted, our Shih Tzu Jake doesn't count as a service dog by any stretch, but there are times when Jayson gets uncontrollably upset and Jake seems to have a calming effect on him. This is a fleeting situation, but you can see and experience in that sliver in time where the primal K-9/child connection seems to almost override the chaos of the moment.  A study published in the Western Journal of Nursing might have proved the effects of interacting with dogs on children with autism spectrum disorders.  What they found was a dog put that child in a better mood and more aware of their surroundings than a stuffed animal and other objects.

Jayson and Jake running out in the street completely unattended

In addition those flickers in time, Jake does put up with Jayson's generally rough and unrelenting hugs and kisses. Jake's basically a saint and, to be honest, Jayson probably should be covered in terrible dog bites if this was a different dog.  It is almost like Jake senses that Jayson is "weaker" and he seems to tolerate a little more from him than anyone else in the family.

So these small examples got me to search the internet for service dogs ...

This service dog was only $24.60, but was unavailable for kids with autism.
Kidding aside, thanks to sadiessavior for the photo.

I found some great sites and it appears there are a number of organizations training dogs for kids with autism.  A great site to start is  There is even a day camp where the autistic child and their service dog can attend together.  Some classrooms are incorporating the service dog during school.  Here's a cool little YouTube video to see what one therapist does with her classroom dog:

Overall, we have at least one friend that knows a bit about service dogs and we may eventually look at  getting one for Jayson ... until then, Jake will have to do :)

Our dog, rudely woken from his slumber in a cat bed.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this,I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

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