SA Guide Dog Association Opens Applications for Autism Support Dogs

Applications for an autism support dog trained by the South African Guide-Dogs Association have opened to the public so more children can get support.

South Africa (07 July 2022) – Autism support animals are changing the way children with autism cope. The dogs are trained to help a child in day-to-day life, with the most incredible skill being that it is able to assist when a child is distracted or feeling overwhelmed.

The South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind breeds and trains Guide Dogs for visually impaired people, service dogs for people who are physically disabled and autism support dogs for children who are on the low autism spectrum. The association receives no government funding and relies on donations and fundraising activities to keep the doors open.

The work it does is life-changing. The association is accredited by the International Guide Dogs Federation and Assistance Dogs International.

“Autism Support Dogs are specially selected dogs that are trained to work with children with autism.

The Autism Support Dog’s primary role is to help with the tendency of children with autism to run away when they are distracted.”

Children need to be between the ages of 5 and 12 to qualify. The dog is raised and trained by the association and then further trained for three weeks in the child’s home environment with the parent or guardian, to ensure the dog adapts to the specific needs of the child.

Programmes like this are becoming more popular throughout the world. You can find out more about the programme here.

Sources: SA Guide-Dogs Association

Sources: Good Things Guy