All About Service Dogs for Autism

Many people with disabilities or physical limitations need specialized methods of assistance to help them go about their everyday lives. Service dogs, in particular, have become increasingly common due to their ability to provide security, support, and guidance for those who need them.

For those who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, service dogs for autism can also be a huge help. Every year more and more dogs are being trained to help people with ASD navigate the specific challenges they face.

What is an autism service dog?

Autism service dogs are dogs specifically trained to support people with ASD. They can help to assist these people in various ways that make their day-to-day lives much easier. Autism service dogs are also known as SSIG dogs, which stands for sensory or social signal dogs. In order to qualify as an autism service dog, all dogs must meet the requirements dictated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Image Source

How are they used?

Like most service dogs, autism service dogs serve the purpose of assisting a person with autism and increasing their physical safety and physical capabilities. They will typically be tethered to the person via a leash or harness.

These dogs are rigorously trained to understand an adult or child’s needs and to be able to assist them. This can be done in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Following basic commands
  • Alerting them to potentially dangerous situations
  • Slowing and stopping them from running across busy streets and generally making sudden movements
  • Ability to calm and even stop emotional outbursts
  • Bonds with them, which can encourage further bonding with people

Differences Between Autism Service Dogs And Other Service Dogs

While there are many similarities between general service dogs and autism service dogs, or SSIG dogs, there are some clear differences. The most obvious, of course, is how these dogs are trained to react to different situations and cater to their owners – children and adults with autism will need different assistance compared to people with anxiety disorders, physical disabilities, neurocognitive disorders, etc.

But their training will also be different in another major way. Whereas other service dogs are primarily trained to bond with the person they are assisting, autism service dogs are more trained to work with the parent or the caregiver of the person they are assisting.

Benefits of Using An Autism Service Dog

Help With Emotional Regulation

It is not uncommon for adults and children on the autism spectrum to have difficulty regulating their emotions, which can result in outbursts and meltdowns. Autism service dogs can be trained to soothe their handler and help them to regain control of their emotions when this happens, as well as stop them from potentially injurious behavior toward themselves and others.

Image Source

Keeping Them Safe

The ability of service dogs to provide safety and protection to their handler is extremely helpful, particularly for children. That’s because children with autism have more difficulty recognizing dangerous situations, and can act spontaneously, such as running away or running into traffic. These two things can be a dangerous combination and service dogs can both physically protect the children and alert parents and caregivers to potential danger.

Improving Mood and Focus

The presence of a service animal can be very comforting and has been shown to decrease anxiety and boost their handler’s mood. Autism service dogs can even help their handlers to focus and be more present in their environment, which can help with tantrums and daily routines.

Social Interaction and Emotional Support

The presence of a service dog can help people with autism to feel more comfortable and confident in social situations, as well as t initiate social interactions. Not to mention, the companionship of a service dog can help their handler through feelings of loneliness and social isolation that can often affect people on the autism spectrum.

Autism service dogs can be an invaluable tool to help people on the autism spectrum to navigate obstacles that they may experience in everyday life. For more information on autism service dogs for adults and children, and further services for people with ASD, get in touch with our team at Bolling ABA. Email or call 404.981.4105 to book your first free consultation.

Recent Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *