Deciding between autism service dogs or therapy dogs
Getting a dog is a huge decision for any family. They are a big commitment, an added expense and require your time and attention. If you have a child with special needs, looking after a dog as well as your child can be challenging. For example, you will need to consider simple things like how you will manage to take your dog for a walk with your child. You also need to ensure that your child likes dogs and that no one in your family has a pet allergy.
Once you have made the decision to get a dog, the next thing you need to consider is what type of dog to get. Autism service dogs and therapy dogs are great for children with autism and special needs. However, they both differ in the ways that they can help a child. In this blog, SpecialKids Company will explain the difference to you.
Here are some things consider when deciding which type of dog is right for a child who has autism:
Autism Service Dogs
What are Autism Service dogs?
There are a number of organisations that provide or offer training for autism service dogs in the UK. Service dogs require specialist training that make them highly skilled in assisting and helping to transform the lives of people with autism. They can help your child to cope with certain challenges, reduce their anxiety and improve their confidence in everyday situations like going outside or to appointments. They can also help to encourage a healthier lifestyle by walking and playing games.
Benefits of Autism Service dogs
Service dogs are trained to perform tasks, helping the handler to attain safety and independence, whilst also providing companionship and security. They can even help with medical conditions, such as seeking help if your child has an epileptic seizure.
If you have service dog it will be trained not to interact with other people and focus solely on your child. This is because the dog is supposed to focus on its owner and nothing else.
Would you believe that an autism service dog can even help your child to sleep? Some are trained to provide deep pressure therapy when needed and sleep on the bed, helping your child to feel secure, relaxed and comforted.
Autism Therapy Dogs
What are Autism Therapy dogs?
Autism therapy dogs can help children with autism or other disabilities in a therapeutic way. They receive a different type of training to service dogs and aim to provide psychological or physiological therapy. They are great for children because of their good nature and temperament and often visit special needs schools because they are so friendly and easy-going.
Benefits of Autism Therapy dogs
Therapy dogs are encouraged to interact with everybody, unlike service dogs who have the job of assisting an individual.
Therapy dogs are said to assist in improving social, cognitive and emotional functioning. They can be a fantastic companion for your child and a much-loved family member.
Any dog can become a therapy dog if they have the right temperament, stay calm in distracting situations and are easily adaptable to different environments. However, the dog will need to be trained and registered to become a certified therapy dog.
Have you got an autism service dog or therapy dog? We would love for you to comment below and let us know how they have helped your family.