Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions provides Autism Service Dogs, commonly referred to as Sig Dogs, Sensory Signal Dogs, or Social Signal Dogs, a relatively new trend in service animals. That trend is likely to continue while more children are diagnosed each year with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), than with Diabetes, Cancer, and AIDS combined.
About Autism Spectrum Disorder
About one in 100 children is challenged by ASD, and the numbers are growing at a staggering rate which is increasing the need for these service dogs that are specifically trained to mitigate the growing number of challenges these special children and their families face.
For children challenged by Autism and their families, a simple outing to a shopping mall, an excursion to the grocery store, or an afternoon errand is often a sheer impossibility. When attempted, these seemingly normal family activities often result in behavioral meltdowns, tantrums, wandering, and a multitude of dangerous behaviors which could easily endanger the entire family while in busy parking lots, in public places, and in crowds.
Further challenges are experienced in public when the individual challenged with Autism is unfairly ridiculed, and judged, often along with the parents and siblings, by uninformed or ignorant passers-by who mistakenly judge the child as misbehaving, undisciplined, or being raised by â€œbad parents.â€
Things are not much better at home for these same families. Often these young people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders escape during the night, damage property by head banging, kicking, or throwing objects or even themselves. Sometimes they eat unacceptable items from the home and yard. Many of them engage in repetitious behaviors both at home and in their educational environments.
When things are at their worst, parents and siblings are in a constant state of stress, duress, exhaustion, and sleep deprivation. Marriages fall apart, siblings endure physical and emotional consequences, and the families, as a whole, are taxed physically, emotionally, and financially.
How Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions Helps with ASD
Recently, hundreds of families dealing with ASD have found peace of mind, reprieve, safety, security, and a new sense of freedom and normalcy due to the relatively new existence of Autism Service Dogs. These highly trained service dogs not only help to keep a child from wandering, can find a child in a crowd, can help halt repetitive behaviors, can calm meltdowns and prevent them, but they serve as a reminder and educational tool of awareness to the public that the child has a disability and needs compassion and empathy rather than judgment and ridicule.
Several organizations are beginning to fill this growing niche and serve families struggling with Autism’s unique challenges. Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions is one such non-profit organization whose mission is to train and partner healthy, reliable, exclusively bred, highly-trained service dogs with individuals of all ages challenged by Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities.
An organization’s cost to raise, train, and place an Autism Service Dog isn’t cheap, running between $20,000-30,000 per dog. Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions are overcoming the cost barrier by providing these highly-trained dogs to their families with little or no cost to the recipient families by cooperative fund raising efforts, scholarships, grants, and donations.
In addition to the wonderful support and safety measures they offer, an Autism Service Dog often becomes a friend that the child may speak to when they won’t speak to adults.
About Autism Service Dogs
These dogs are also frequently fitted with two leashes â€” one for the child to hold or be tethered to and another one for the parent/handler/caregiver to hold. The dog will accept commands from the parent/handler/caregiver, thus providing a new sense of freedom and safety for the child and the parents. Some children have even been known to give verbal commands to the dog even when they won’t speak to anyone else.
Best of all, service dogs help people challenged by Autism to communicate with the world around them. Being with a service dog often helps lengthen attention spans and improves the ability to focus longer on people and tasks. Service dogs help increase the willingness of those with Autism to communicate with others and to make improved eye contact. All of this can happen when a child’s life is enriched with an Autism Service Dog.
How To Help Pawsitive Dog Solutions
Besides making tax deductible donations, you can volunteer to become a Puppy Raiser. It takes four to ten months to open your home and donate your time to raise and teach a puppy to become an Autism Service Dog. You can also spread the word and learn more about Pawsitive Dog Solutions from their website and their Facebook page.
About the author:
Carmel L. Mooney is Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, dedicated to training and partnering highly skilled service dogs with individuals of all ages challenged by Autism Spectrum Disorder. www.pawsitivesolutions.org