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Man’s best friend – Autism support dogs

The comfort of a support dog can be a life changing experience for many people, especially autistis people. Having this companion can be vital for bridging the gap to independent living. It may be hard to believe that when you first see a puppy it will one day be able to provide the gift of independence to someone. Autism support dogs are also trained to provide comfort and safety.

A fully trained autism support dog will help their owner with vital everyday skills that we may take for granted. These include picking up dropped items, fetching the telephone and even everyday domestic tasks like loading and unloading the washing machine.

Autism support dogs learn to pick up on how an individual reacts and then comfort their human companion when they feel angry, anxious or find themselves in a distressing situation, as well as keeping them safe when they are out in the public.

Did you know that studies have shown that when we touch dogs, it has healing powers as hormones like dopamine are released? Other studies have suggested that dogs are also good at creating human to human friendships, which helps to promote socialisation.

For autistic people, having a furry companion can help with independence. Adults with autistic spectrum conditions can participate in their service dog’s training, which in return can enhance their bond. Though this can be expensive, in the end, for most people, they find it is worth the time and expense.

Dogs for Good, a UK based charity that works on the training and provision of accredited assistance dogs, has developed an innovative way to help autistic people to overcome challenges and to help improve essential life skills, called Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI).

For those of us who own a dog, we know how therapeutic they can be; autism support dogs take companionship to the next level where they provide life-changing intellectual, physical and emotional support.

Autism support dogs are more than just pets; they can become your friend for life. This is Millie, from Dogs for Good, she is a community support dog who helps with supporting adults with autism to learn basic road safety skills.

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