Service Dogs for Aspergers...do you have input?

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KBug
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30 Jul 2009, 1:30 pm

Hi all,

I'm new to this site, but have a daughter who is almost nine years old. We are researching the concept of service dogs for children with Aspergers. Does anyone here have any experience or feedback about this???

Thanks!


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30 Jul 2009, 2:07 pm

Nothing in particular, but I have one simple question, that I assume you've already answered in the positive, or you wouldn't be considering this:

Does you daughter enjoy and respond well to dogs?

My son is afraid of most of them and, when not afraid, in sensory overload. I couldn't imagine adding a dog of any sort to our home.


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30 Jul 2009, 2:13 pm

All I know is they cost a ton to get trained and you have to jump threw hoops to get one. Last time I looked they were 6k and they would have made me get ride of my cranky cat that hates dogs but is deeply bonded with both my kids and big part of our lives so I passed on the service dog. Some of the programs let you keep your pets if they are able to get along with the dog, Cleo would never let a dog go unharassed even walking past the house. A nice calm pooch from the pound will do your child alot of good , you'll get to save a life and not break yourself trying to paid for it.



laura123
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30 Jul 2009, 3:35 pm

We have a 10 month old puppy, mixed Labrador x Poodle and my AS daughter loves him to pieces. He follows her everywhere and lately became very protective, he gets himself between my daughter and visitors when he doesn't know them. He loves the ocean and loves to play on the beach but gets very stressed when my daughter (7 y.o.) goes into water, he always tries to pull her out, or to make her chase him out of the water. I have to say I am very impressed with him, he is very inteligent. He usually sleeps next to her bed. He weighs about 30 kg now, more that my daughter :lol: , and can play a bit rough with my husband or my 14 y.o. daughter but is always very gentle with my little one. He's not a service dog and hasn't had special training. My daughter talks to him a lot and he always has a very interested look on his face :lol: .



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30 Jul 2009, 4:48 pm

I read a lot about service dogs and discovered anyone can call any dog a service dog and then be allowed to go anywhere with the dog, at least, in a lot of states.

What do you want the service dog to do? Dogs for the deaf are usually small and have to show a lot of inventiveness for certain situations. Seeing Eye dogs, unlike dogs for the deaf, have to go into populated places so they are required to be on their best behavior and very predictable.

I've always loved dogs but when I reached puberty, I went through anxiety hell. I got a puppy at age 16. She was probably what kept me from killing myself. She wasn't trained as a service dog but we had an intense bond.

We have cats and dogs, not trained but having them around helps keep my son centered and calm. There was a golden retriever in one of my son's classes. From what I saw, none the kids paid any attention to her and she slept almost all the time.


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30 Jul 2009, 6:26 pm

I've never heard of people using service dogs for autists. It's an interesting idea, because a lot of people on the spectrum relate really well to animals. What would the dog be required to do for your daughter?



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30 Jul 2009, 6:50 pm

Have heard about service dogs for those on the spectrum; while I've never had an animal trained, I have been surrounded by animals my entire life and have found them a constant source of comfort. There is no deception in the language of an animal, I've found... and my dog can help me find quiet again when my head is a raging mass of noise. I think the question earlier is most valid - does she react well to dogs?


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OregonBecky
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30 Jul 2009, 6:54 pm

I saw a dad and his son both holding leashes for the same dog while walking. The dad said it helped the son focus and not wander off.


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30 Jul 2009, 11:55 pm

If your child is a wander the dog is trained to sit if they go off or try and run away. Those are more for the aunties the dog is on a leash that hooks to a belt your child wears. Other then that and the help your child stay calm I'm not sure < I guess it being a sevice dog gets them in to places your pound puppy can't>



ASdogGeek
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12 Aug 2009, 12:27 am

Hi I have Aspergers and I have a service dog who helps me every day and I am glad to have her. What tasks will you be looking for? I



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12 Aug 2009, 2:23 am

Check with a lawyer/legal aid in your state. You'll probably need to clarify two things:

1. What are the requirements for an animal to be considered a service animal? Does my animal meet these requirements?
2. Does pet rent constitute a usual fee or does the WA rule consider one time deposits to meet that criteria?

You could also try talking with the owner/manager/property management firm to see whether they would be wiling to grant an exemption for a service animal.



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12 Aug 2009, 2:28 am

Also, there's a distinction between comfort animals and service animals.



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19 Aug 2009, 10:08 am

I looked into getting a service animal and decided against it, because: 1) they cost too much, 2) there is a long wait to get one, and 3) my son is fairly high functioning and i felt that a highly trained service animal would be of more help to a more severely disabled child.

We ended up getting a labrador retriever puppy. My son had a strong aversion to dog barking and was afraid of even the friendliest of dogs...but, he wanted a dog of his own. He is not afraid of his own puppy. She is still a puppy and only knows her name and the command 'sit' so far, but her presence in the house is therapeutic for my son. He told me that she woke up his interest to be social. His self-help skills have improved. My son is also helping train the puppy and he really enjoys that role b/c he's a big fan of Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell from Animal Planet.

You can find nice "started" dogs that aren't young puppies.



pikkul
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29 Aug 2009, 5:06 am

I read somewhere about service dogs who were trained to alert at signs of a coming meltdown for kids with AS. when the child's stress level went up the dog would give a signal, like pressing against the child's legs, and the kids learned to drop down and hold the dog when they did that. This was a great way to signal the kids to take a calming break and the dog also acted as a distraction from whatever was bothering the child. It seems to me this could also happen naturally with an intuitive and bonded dog without special training. I can see how it would be really helpful for kids who have frequent intense meltdowns too, and especially since you can take service dogs to school with you.



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29 Aug 2009, 12:26 pm

One of the school districts in my area recently provided an autistic child with a service dog during the school day. It was an inclusive classroom (those are very popular around here) and the teacher said the change in behavior of the student was wonderful. The dog acted to calm and soothe the child and help keep him on task. Anytime the child showed signs of distraction, the dog gently nudged the child. The student and his parents were thrilled with the improvements as well. I have not followed up on the story so I don't know if they extended these services to other children or not. There was a bit of backlash by some community members who didn't feel that it was fair to charge taxpayers for this, as well as concerns about allergies. I think the school ultimately determined it to be less costly to provide a dog, rather than an additional teacher. I should really follow up to see what happened.