News By Tag
News By Place
Affordable Autism Service Dogs Now Available
Animals for Autism is a community service-driven organization focusing on the safety and social needs of both children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Service animals provide safety and can lead to many socialization opportunities.
We are pleased to share the knowledge and resources we have available that let us reduce the cost of owning a certified Autism Service Dog. The Animals for Autism program originated with our love of animals and our children with autism. We came to realize the positive impact our animals had on our own children. With our years of experience training dogs for other purposes, we decided to train Autism Service Animals. By privately funding all of the medical care, various incidentals, foster care and all of the animal's other expenses, we are able to provide more affordable Autism Service Dogs. Feel free to visit us at http://www.siberiansnowbabies.com/
The first step in placing an Autism Service Animal is to sit down with our families and discuss their unique needs. No two individuals are alike, and their needs vary greatly. Once we have determined the type and level of training we need to provide, we move immediately into the selection process. During this phase of the process, we actually choose a specific puppy for that person as soon as one is available. The average wait varies, but is usually not lengthy.
As soon as the animal is selected, one of our trainers will meet with you, either in person or via teleconference and email to introduce your new puppy. This is a wonderful step in the process, as it allows the recipient and the animal to form an early bond. The contact will continue throughout the training process, as our trainers learn more about the needs of each person and can share information about the animal's personality and progress.
The needs of individuals with ASDs are unique and very unlike those with other disabilities, and it is critical for the training team to have that knowledge so the proper behavior cues and controls can be taught to the service animals.
Autism Service Dogs are trained specifically to accompany children and adults with ASDs as they move about their daily lives. The animals help stop autism related wandering, reduce anxiety, lessen repetitive movements and calm their handlers in times of stress. Individuals who have an ASD often find it quite difficult to connect with others socially. The presence of an attractive animal frequently sparks conversations and opportunities for their handler to make more social connections.
It is important to understand that Certified Service Animals are NOT pets. They are put through a rigorous training and certification program, usually lasting a year or more, to become Service Animals. Yes, they are cute and furry -- but they should be considered as professional members of your autism therapy team.
Do Autism Service Dogs cure autism?
No. We are not physicians, but as far as we know, there are no cures for autism at this time. However, many studies have shown that service animals can help invididuals with ASDs make it through their daily lives with far fewer "bumps."
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., Department of Animal Science, Colorado State University says, "As a person with autism, it is easy for me to understand how animals think because my thinking processes are like an animal's."*
What Do the Animals Do?
Each person has specific, individualized needs. With that in mind, we train each Service Animal to respond to those specific needs. Among other skills, this may include:
Alerting parents of a "runner."
Redirecting stimming behaviors.
Disrupting the occurance of a meltdown or rage.
Calming their humans.
Alerting caregivers of an impending seizure.
Providing individuals with a feeling of being "grounded."
Reducing anxiety in high-sensory conditions.
Halting self-injurous behaviors.
Alerting prior to a diabetic reaction.
According to USA Today, "A 2004 study showed assistance dogs could help autistic children learn about living beings, feelings and needs..."
Why don't you provide autism service dogs to children younger than 5?
We feel the greatest benefit is to children old enough to realize the animal's function and interact appropriately with the animal. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and we give consideration to all requests.
"Thank you so much for all you are doing, we made the right choice!" - RA, Daytona Beach
"I can't believe the difference Niko has made for April. God bless you for all you do." - LB, San Antonio
"We're so thankful we decided to get an autism service dog from you. It saved us over $13,000...not exactly small change." - GM, Fairview Heights
Why do your Autism Service Animals cost less than average?
Part of our vision is to be able to provide an Autism Service Animal to everyone who has a need for one. Our access to resources and volunteers allows us to cover most of the costs associated with providing Autism Service Animals. Since we do not pay salaries to big administrators, we have very little overhead.
The only cost associated with acquiring one of our animals is for the training time required to prepare them for a career as service animals. In addition, our trainers have greatly reduced their normal fees to make the dream of owning an Autism Service Animal a reality for more families than ever before. For further information and application details, visit us on the web at http://www.siberiansnowbabies.com/
*Western Horseman, Nov. 1997, pp.140-145
# # #
About Animals for Autism: We train and place Autism Service Animals at affordable prices with both adults and children with autism spectrum disorders in the United States. We believe an autism service animal should be within reach of every family who would benefit from having one, we work to seek funding, and we direct individuals and famlies in seeking community support on their own.