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Non-profit Using Dogs to Teach Social Skills to Children with Autism and Asperger's Set to Expa
For years, the Austin Dog Alliance has been helping children with autism and Asperger’s, at-risk youth and the sick and elderly through the use of specially trained therapy dogs. Now, the unique organization is ready to expand in a big way.
The nonprofit Austin Dog Alliance is the only organization in Central Texas providing canine-assisted group social skills development programs for children with autism spectrum disorders. The Alliance also works with at-risk children through its Bow Wow Reading Dog program and provides handler/therapy dog teams to local hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.
“With the increased demand for our services, we must have more space,” says Krakar. “This new center will allow us to offer more autism and Asperger’s social-skill classes, and even add veterinary technician vocational classes. We can offer more camps and at-risk youth programs, train more therapy dogs and increase our services in the community.”
Plans for the Alliance’s new site will include a 4,000 square-foot main building, including a Welcome Center and Dog Care/Education Center and a 6,000 square-foot dog training and retail center, as well as an agility field, off-leash dog park and memorial garden. Groundbreaking is scheduled for September 2012, with completion expected in early 2013. The new campus was designed by architects from O’Connell Robertson, a full-service architecture, engineering and interior design firm based in Austin.
“This will be far more than a dog center,” Krakar adds. “This will be a center for the community, a place to learn and a home base for a variety of services for youth, seniors and everyone in between.”
Companies and individuals wishing to contribute funds or in-kind donations are encouraged to visit the Austin Dog Alliance website, call (512) 335-7100 or come by the Alliance’s current location at 12129 RR 620 North, Suite 401 in Northwest Austin.
About Austin Dog Alliance
Located in Austin, Texas, the Austin Dog Alliance, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, provides unique group social skills development programs for children with autism spectrum disorder that incorporate the use of canine-assisted therapy. Austin Dog Alliance also provides handler-dog teams to local hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, as well as schools and libraries through its Bow Wow Reading Dog program.
The Austin Dog Alliance’s “Build Our Forever Home Capital Campaign” is raising $1.3 million to build a permanent Alliance facility in Cedar Park in 2012. Staff members from O’Connell Robertson volunteered their time to design the site and building, and the firm donated the plans. The Austin Dog Alliance project is another demonstration of O’Connell Robertson’s dedication to creating environments that enrich the lives of the people (and dogs) they were designed to serve. Other firms donating their design services include Rogers Moore Engineers and pH Landscape Architecture. Legal counsel was donated by Murray & Associates, P.C.
For more information, visit http://austindogalliance.org.