ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY FOR AUTISM
It is widely known that kids grow up to be kinder, more caring and responsible when they have pets at home. Pets become their closest friends. In particular, dogs have positive effects on children with developmental disabilities, including ASD. Service dogs or guide dogs can help regulate a child's nervous system and increase positive social interactions with other people. These dogs simply become true companions and guardian angels!
There are a few ways of getting a support animal for your child. Please note that some organizations offer a trained service animal for free while other charge a fee and/or ask parents to do some fundraising. There is usually a waiting list of 12-18 months. Please review the options available in Ontario.
Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides
National Service Dogs
Autism Dog Services
"Our family has a dog now. Jake is a 6-month old Beagle. He is not a typical breed like Retrievers Labradors, Golden Retrievers or Poodles that would be selected to become a service dog. He was just a stray puppy when we adopted him from Toronto Animal Services. The main thing is that they are great friends, and my son loves him. Jake shows a lot of love in return!" - Oksana
If you have had dogs in the family before and are comfortable adopting an animal (and even training a puppy !), check out the "Pet Adoption" at Toronto Animal Services at: http://www.toronto.ca/animal_services/pet_adoption.htm