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 http://autismservicedogsofamerica.com/. 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.|