Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Autism Service Dog Tasks

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Coping With The Medication Side Effect

Autism/PTSD Service Dog Tasks | Autistic Catatonia

Some medications cause side effects that are more than a minor nuisance. For example, with the condition of dry-mouth the patient’s speech will become progressively impaired if the person does not have a beverage constantly available as an antidote. It is highly useful to have a dog trained to fetch a beverage from a kitchen cupboard or refrigerator, so the person does not have to interrupt an important activity to get a refill to re-hydrate one’s self.

Dog is trained to retrieve a beverage from a Cupboard or Refrigerator by hand signal.

What If I Have Other Pets In My Home

PAWS does place an Assistance Dog in homes that have cats, birds or other small caged pets. Effective September 1, 2012, no PAWS Assistance Dog will be placed in a home with any other dog, unless it is a retired PAWS Dog or working Assistance Dog from an Assistance Dogs International or International Guide Dog Federation-accredited agency for someone else in the household. It has been our experience that other dogs in the home can interfere with the bonding and training process of the Assistance Dog Team.

What Does An Autism Service Dog Do

Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks which help their owner manage their day to day lives, or help with deal with specific health issues. Service dogs can help visually impaired people navigate streets, alert hearing impaired people to dangers they may not be aware of, encourage people living with mental ill health to take their medication etc. But what does an autism service dog do exactly? To find out lets take a closer look at the roles and responsibilities of these awesome dogs.

There are a huge range of tasks that a dog can be trained to do to assist its owner to live independently and manage their condition.

GoodDog Autism

To answer the question what does an autism service dog do?, a service dog is specifically trained to help someone diagnosed as autistic and will need to do a variety of general tasks, common of all autism service dogs. But the dog will also be trained for their owners specific needs, no autism service dog will provide exactly the same service as another service dog.

This specific training is valuable to the owner, but it does mean training can be lengthy and the owner may need to wait some time before the dog lives with them. When the dog does come into the home however, its effect can be transformative and these service dogs can make a huge difference to the owner.

Organizations like Custom Canine Service Academy train dogs for a multitude of different responsibilities one of which is autism.

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Alert Sedated Partner To Smoke Alarm & Assist To Exit

The dog can be trained to persist in arousing a person if sedative side effect prevents person from responding appropriately to the smoke alarm in an emergency. The dog can show the way to nearest exit, tug the door strap on a lever handle to open the door, not because a dog understands “danger” but due to many practice sessions that condition the service dog to perform this habitual sequence of tasks whenever the dog hears a smoke alarm going off.

Dog is trained to alert the human partner and to persist with the method taught such as face licking or nuzzling till the person sits up, rewards dog, indicating awake state.

Dog is trained to lead his partner to the front door

Dog opens exit door with a pull strap in case the partner is too sedated to think clearly.

Seizure Alert & Seizure Response Dogs

Types of Service Dogs: Which Tasks Can They Perform?

Seizure alert and response dogs are a lifesaving tool for individuals who regularly suffer from seizures and in the case of children, can provide peace of mind to parents. Some of the tasks these dogs can provide include:

  • Bark/paw/custom alert for a seizure
  • Retrieving a medicine bag
  • Assistance getting up or walking
  • Pressing a medical alert button
  • Clearing airway during asphyxiation

Service dogs are a life-saving tool for seizure alerts/responses. When it comes to children who have seizures, parents are in a constant state of tension. There are so many variables what if they leave the room for too long? What if their child has a seizure in the middle of the night?

With no way to know when a seizure might happen, and no way to know if one is occuring unless theyre in the same room, life is a huge knot of stress and worry. Everyone is always on edge, hoping theyll be there during a seizure to make sure their child is safe.

A seizure alert dog can put an entire family at ease, knowing that the dog will alert them if their child or loved one has a seizure.

For adults, either living on their own or with a family who isnt around 24/7, a seizure response dog can be invaluable. Sometimes, during a seizure, people will vomit. This is extremely dangerous because if no one is around, that person could choke.

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Visual Assistance & Guide Service Dog Tasks

So called guide dogs are actually a type of Visual Assistance Dog. Visual Assistance Dogs help their handler follow known paths while alerting to elevation changes, obstacles, and hazards.

  • Lead Handler Along Familiar Route
  • Take Handler to Specific Entrances
  • Alert Handler to Low-Hanging Obstacles
  • Alert Handler to Elevation Changes
  • Alert Handler to Street or Intersection
  • Assist Handler in Finding Known Items
  • Notify Handler of Items in Path
  • Guide Handler Around Hazards
  • Avoiding Moving Objects
  • Indicate Stairs, Steps, or Ramps
  • Find an Empty Seat
  • Follow a Person
  • Pick Up Common Items
  • Take Handler to an Exit
  • Push Elevator Button

What Peoplesay About Us

Lukey joining our family has been life changing for us. Not having to worry so much about Ryans safety while out in public is amazing. We are doing things we havent tried in years.”

Bella works with our daughter Jaime who is on the autism spectrum. Our lives have changed since Bella has been with us. We are now able to go to many places that in the past were impossible to enter. Bella grounds Jaime by giving her a sense of security. Bella has given us, Jaimes parents, a safety-net feeling where we know Jaime wont bolt into traffic or run away. We all feel a sense of relief because of our autism service dog.

Alex has a compulsive tendency to touch things. It severely impaired his day to day life. Going short distances took a considerable amount of time because he had to touch everything! Now with Pepsi at his side, he walks confidently and with virtually no tapping! Pepsi also keeps Alex focused on the task at hand and prevents him from wandering away.

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Keep Suspicious Strangers Away

A dog is a much better crime deterrent than burglar alarms, extra locks and security lighting according to police statistics. Those who wish to enhance the psychological deterrent effect should consider the dog’s size, color and breed appearance in making a selection. Studies have revealed people are much more afraid of black dogs than light colored ones. By way of example, a large black Labrador Retriever will have the same gentle temperament but look twice as formidable as a yellow Labrador Retriever. A Great Dane is going to be more of a deterrent than a toy poodle.

This segment describes four tasks which could assist a handler to keep suspicious strangers at bay. However, the tasks are only meant to create an illusion. The dog must be rigorously schooled NOT to be protective in these situations even if partner acts fearful. A service dog should only perform these tasks to please his handler and/or earn a treat.

Dog is trained to obey the bluff command “Cover Me.” Dog learns to jump up and turn around, standing next to his partner, facing backwards.

Dog rises from a Down-stay position to assume a Stand-stay position next to or in front of his disabled partner. What changes this from a routine obedience exercise to an effective illusion is teaching the dog to spring up quickly when the handler uses a bluff command such as, “On Guard!” To heighten the illusion, the handler should grip the dog’s collar as if the dog needs to be restrained from charging forward.

What Autism Service Dogs Do

Child with autism receives service dog

Autism is a spectrum disorder and can vary significantly in character and severity, so autism service dogs may be trained differently according to where their person falls on the spectrum. According to service dog organization Paws for a Cause, these dogs help to improve social interactions and relationships, expand verbal and nonverbal communication, teach life skills, increase interest in activities and decrease stress within the family. These tasks include:

  • Helping their person get ready for school in the morning
  • Picking up dropped objects
  • Alerting passers-by to an emergency situation
  • Simply act as a calming presence in their persons life.

Whatever their particular assignment may be, autism assistance dogs provide incredible help and companionship.

One task unique to autism service dogs is noticing and responding to changes in a persons sensory levels. Autism impacts the sensory system, and many people with autism become stressed out by uncomfortable sensations. Autism service dogs can be trained to intervene when their handler becomes over-stimulated, helping to alleviate stress and maintain safety.

This video, produced by a teenager with Aspergers, offers a great overview of some of the specific tasks an autism service dog may do to help ameliorate sensory overload or meltdown:

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Service Dogs For Autism: How Can They Help

Service dogs can be trained to help individuals with physical or psychological disabilities. As the service dog holds the job to specifically assist their handlers, a trained autism service dog can provide individuals with autism invaluable assistance in a number of ways.

From helping their handler conquer social barriers to distracting them in times of distress, an autism service dog can take on many tasks.

Can Assistance Dogs Live In Apartments And Go In Public Places

Yes. The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees the right of a person with a qualifying disability to be accompanied by their individually trained Assistance Animal in public venues. The Fair Housing Act allows for trained Assistance Animals in apartments or other no-pet housing at no additional cost to the person with a disability. More information can be found at www.ada.gov and www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing/title8.php

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Autism Service Dogs: Information Training Purposes

Synopsis:Service dogs may be trained for some people with autism with the intention of assisting them to gain greater independence, confidence, as well as the ability to perform activities of daily living they might not otherwise be able to do. A service dog is a type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people with disabilities, including visual or hearing impairment, and to help people with mental disabilities including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and severe depression. A service dog for a person with autism may be trained to do the same task although instead of providing the handler with visual information, the service dog would provide the handler with prioritizing information.

Help Companionship And Social Facilitator

Psychiatric Service Dog For Autism

Autism is a neurological disability that affects the way the person thinks, processes sensory information and interacts with others. A service dog could help to cope with a difficult situation, dealing with transitions and facilitating social interactions. Getting out with a service dog can also reduce isolation, increase exercise and help with anxiety and depression that often occur in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder .

A dog can be a great companion to a person with ASD, providing love and attention, increasing activity, and reducing stress within a family. Dogs can be also be trained to interrupt repetitive behaviors or alert you when your child might be harming him/herself. They can provide deep pressure to help a person calm down, encourage a person to get out of bed, help with mobility or balance issues, pick up objects, respond to an alarm, etc. They can facilitate social interactions and relationships and expand the childs ability to communicate with others.

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Autism Service Dogs For Children

Children diagnosed with autism can have a hard time communicating with the people around them, including their families. Autism service dogs can act as a social bridge, helping to alleviate the stress of social interaction.

University of Missouri research fellow Gretchen Carlisle explained this well in a 2014 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing:

Dogs can help children with autism by acting as a social lubricantif the children with autism invite their peers to play with their dogs, then the dogs can serve as bridges that help the children with autism communicate with their peers. Gretch Carlisle, Journal of Pediatric Nursing

A child with autism may have a hard time speaking to others, but with a dog, they have a built-in topic of conversation, as well as a friend to turn to in challenging moments.

Autism service dogs also act as physical links for some children. Tethering, or connecting a child to their service dog by the leash, is used to help prevent an autistic child from wandering off, and ground them in their environment.

There are mixed opinions on tethering, but many families find it an invaluable help as it allows them to go shopping, take a walk in the park, or go to a restaurant, simple family activities that may otherwise prove too challenging.

What Is An Autism Service Dog

An autism service dog is trained specifically to guide and help those affected by autism. They are trained quite similarly to a guide dogs training and go through a rigorous process to ensure that they are prepared for situations specific to the person they are paired with.

This includes learning how to cope with crowds, obey certain commands , and behave appropriately in public. They also learn how to identify warning signs indicating their person may be close to a panic attack, seizure, an episode, or any other major concern. In the case that their person is about to experience one of these events, the dog will either comfort their owner or alert others in order to get help or medical attention for them. If there is a concern that the person may self-harm, the dog will even intervene, preventing them from causing harm to themselves. The dog will also be trained to guide their person if they ever experience disorientation. The dog will lead them to a car or safe space, so their person may recover from their episode.

There are many reasons for an autism service dog and many different elements that affect each case differently. Fortunately, service dogs can be trained for nearly any scenario. For many, this type of care from a special canine can be a lifesaver.

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Service Dogs For Autism

From the outside looking in, many individuals with autism appear just like any other average person. There are usually no outward signs that make them stick out from the crowd as someone with a disability, but autism, nonetheless, can be debilitating. Many of the battles autistic individuals fight are dealt with in their minds. They often look and act fairly normal, but there are certain activities that are beyond difficult for them to tackle in their everyday lives.

One of the hardest things about having autism is that there isnt a cure. However, although there isnt a cure, there are still several interventions, such as prescriptions, therapy, and service animals, that can be used to help make life easier. For example, a service dog is one of the best solutions for someone with autism, as it aids in communication, behavior, and social interaction. These are the main areas in which autism tends to affect a person the most. Autism is a spectrum disorder that varies by individual, so not all the needs of an autistic individual are the same. Some individuals with autism will benefit greatly from a service animal while others on the highly functioning end of the spectrum may be able to proceed in life without one. Therefore, it is up to the individual and those around them to determine whether a service dog or ESA may help.

Training A Service Dog For Autism

Service Dog vs Autism Meltdown (Psychiatric Alert & Response Task Demonstration)

Autism service dogs are often those stalwarts of assistance: Labrador or golden retrievers. However, almost any intelligent, companionable dog can be trained as an autism service dog depending on the needs of the individual.

Some autistic people may be overwhelmed or even pained by loud noises or rough textures, important considerations when selecting a service dog. If a person has a sensitivity to noise, a dog with a tendency to bark would not be a good fit.

Similarly, if an autistic child has a touch sensitivity, a softer-coated dog like a poodle would be better than a wire-haired terrier.

The most important characteristic for any service dog is that it be intelligent, trainable, and social, as service dogs are required to perform specific tasks in all different environments. Autism service dogs are not just pets theyre working animals.

Autism service dogs start their careers like any service dog: they learn house-training and basic obedience, then move on to more complex skills like identifying obstacles, alerting to danger, and responding to specific commands. For dogs being trained to assist autistic children, its important that they learn to tolerate and enjoy being handled, as children will often interact with the dogs by leaning in close and tugging ears or tails.

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