DOGS AND AUTISM

Eleanor - posted on 01/29/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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AFTER OBERVING HOW FASCINATED DAM WAS WITH DOGS AND HOW GENTLY HE HELD THEM AN SPOKE WITH THEM, WE GOT HIM A SCHITSU/POODLE TODAY...IT IS SO SWEET...CUDDLY, QUIET, SMART...QUESTION: HOW CAN THE CHILD BENEFIT MOST GREATLY BY HAVING A PUPPY? oTHER THAN THE OBVIOUS...REPSONSIBILITY, A FRIEND, CALMING EFFECT...
I'M LOOKING FOR IDEAS ON HOW TO USE THE DOG AS A TEACHING TOOLL TO MANAGE HIS BEHAVIORS...

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SHARI - posted on 02/10/2010

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I don't know if I have the answer you are looking for, but we've had dogs, boxers, ever since we were married. Of course Dyl doesn't remember when he was little, but our dog Hurly would lay under his swing and was like his guardian angel. As Dyl has grown up his pets have been his closest friends. I think they've taught him compassion, patience, empathy, and they are always there for him even when the world is cruel and unkind.
As far as managing behavior issues, I found that the older they get, the easier it gets. However, when we received the asperger's diagnosis at age 10 and started with interventions geared towards Asperger's things got a whole lot better. First of all I stopped having power struggles with my son. Second I found resources besides myself that could help him with homework. My insurance covered these things under occupational and speech therapy. This freed me up to have fun time with my child. Another thing Dylan loved was training our dogs. We took basic and advanced obedience classes and my son did a fantastic job. He discovered that when he was tense, the dog was tense and wouldn't perform as well. The more he loosened up, the better the dog did. He went on to train for competitions, but was never brave enough to go to the competions. However, the whole expereince gave him a sense of pride. Another option in obedience is to train them to be pet therapy dogs that go to hospitals etc. It is very rewarding for the child and parent to see their hardwork training the dog, benefit someone else who is sick. Also, Dylan developed bonds and social skills training with the other members. Any interaction with a dog is never wasted time.

Shelby - posted on 02/10/2010

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I have a Service Dog for my 9 year old with severe autism. Mojo is trained in behavior disruption, tether (we "hook" my son to the dog & he can't wander off), search & rescue (if he does wander off, Mojo can find him) and mobility assistance. We went through 4 Paws for Ability. If you are looking for more information, please visit their website for explanations on what these dogs can do. www.4pawsforability.org. Mojo has made so many things possible for us (we flew to Alaska to visit friends last summer - would NEVER have been able to do this before Mojo)!!!

Michelle - posted on 02/10/2010

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Thanks 4 the tips about dogs, we getting ready 2 bring one home in about 2 weeks, going to look into the training hom, I didn't know they had that out there for autistic kids

Tracy - posted on 02/10/2010

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when my son was born i already had 3 dogs ranging in ages, and i must say that each dog was aware of a difference in Ross. when ross was 3 we were given a 4 th puppy who very quickly became his best friend, and 4 years on they are like brothers, a constant compainion. Good luck with your 4 legged friends and i hope that your child has a relationship with his dog like the one that my son has with his

Kelly - posted on 02/09/2010

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I am waiting to move into a house with a yard to get my son Tallan a dog, but at the moment he has a therepy cat named Abby. I know it sounds funny but ever since my boyfriend brought abby home Tallan has adored her in his own way. She has the most calm temperment most of the time with him no matter what he does or is doing to her. He likes to pull her fur to hear her meow. She has only scratched him a few times and he is learning that she doesn't like it when he is nasty. When Tallan has a meltdown she will just start meowing at him and gets his attention then bolts making him chase her and he forgets about the tantrum. my boyfriend brought her home for me but i think Little Abby (she is just on 12 months olf) has been the best thing for Tallan and we can't wait to get him his puppy, which will either be a rescue from a shelter or a labrador puppy.

Andrea - posted on 02/09/2010

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I didn't know that there were trained dogs for autistic kids. That's so great. My six year old daughter has P.D.D.N.O.S. and has frequent mood swings and melt downs. She doesnt respond well to dogs at first, but warms up to them later if theyre sweet. Dogs barking is an issue with her and will trigger a meltdown so im not too sure if a dog would be theraputic for her. Any suggestions on how i can minimize her meltdowns around dogs? She's around them often. My sister-in-law has a red haired pootle named sam. He's the cutest thing. She is accustomed to him already, despite Sam being around her, she still screams everytime he barks and cries uncontrolably when he jumps on her. Should i continue exposing her to him until she realizes it's ok that dogs bark and jump or should i avoid dogs completely?

Jolene - posted on 02/09/2010

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I have an "guardian angel" dog. He's a basset hound named Samson or Sammy. My son has autism & is 8 now but was 4 when we got Sammy who is right about the same age. I got him from a shelter and the first day Jack had a meltdown. Sammy ran right up under my son, Jack's, arm and sat there through it all. Jack pushed on him and kicked and screamed and Sammy sat there . . . never even flinched. (He was rescued from a puppy mill as a breeder dog and was abused but was never scared of Jack) When Jack was done, he just leaned on Sammy and hugged him. Then Sammy jumped back on the couch and went back to sleep. They've been like that ever since. Sammy doesn't go to him during the meltdowns b/c Jack's can be a lot worse now but they are rare. Jack is 4'8" and 130 lbs so he could hurt Sammy but they walk every day together. The leash never gets pulled tight, Sammy never tries to walk away w/ him and if another dog or person gets anywhere near Jack, the guard dog in Sammy comes out. My son won't sleep in a bed, he sleeps on the couch and Sammy sleeps on the loveseat. He's the best thing that's ever happened to Jack . . . and he came from a shelter. Can you believe it?

Heather - posted on 02/09/2010

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When my son was 6, we got him an Australian Shepard puppy, and for the past 8 years, their bond has been incredible.

Renee - posted on 02/01/2010

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The name of the U.S. version of service dog training is Delta Society - www.deltasociety.org is the website. You can find a local chapter for your region.

Renee - posted on 02/01/2010

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I have just found a service dog trainer who is willing to work with us to train our poodle puppy for my 8 year old son. The dog is having basic obedience training and we will add service training as he gets older to work with my son. The dog will hopefully be a calming force in his life when he gets overwhelmed. Bigger dogs can be trained to physically restrain a child prone to wandering off out of the house or yard. I've seen two documentaries on this -- the dog is tethered to the chid and will not let the child just run off or bolt into the street, but like I said these are big dogs like labs. The dogs are also trained to be a caliming influence on the child. I would initially work on having your child pet the dog gently. See how your child is affected by the dog.

Beth - posted on 02/01/2010

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I'm a crazy dog person--nope, don't have one, but grew up with one and hope to again one day, one my son "settles down" a bit--and I'm a firm believer in the healing power of dogs, esp. with kids on spectrum. I've also heard they help the kids socialize; so many people will come up to someone with a dog, it can help the kids to make friends. For more on how to help the dog become more of a teaching too, you might want to reach out to a therapy dog organization. I've researched some for the future and this looks to be a good one: http://www.4pawsforability.org/assistanc...

Please keep us posted. I'd love to hear what you find out. Best, Beth

Eleanor - posted on 01/31/2010

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So far, 2 days later, the dog has worked to calm Adam when he is frustrated...and is a great companion to him..Adam takes the dog outside to pee every 3 hours, paly woth it for hours, is always concerned when it yaps...and it doesn't often...I think it is helping him to see the world from a perspective other than his own because we told him it is responsibility to take care of it and be a good friend...he takes his 'job' pretty seriously!

Kathryn - posted on 01/30/2010

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My son is 8 years old and has autism. Almost two years ago he received an theraputic autism service dog. She is a black lab named Dara. She helps with anxiety attacks, socialization and calming. She is a godsend.

Mary - posted on 01/30/2010

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We're getting ready to also get a schitsu puppy for the same reasons and could benefit from any helpful tips as well.

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