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New Horizons Service Dogs, Inc. has a program called “Children with Autism” that provides the children and their families with the ability to tackle some of the many issues associated with autism. Through companionship, comfort, and unconditional love, our service dogs help provide a calming sense of consistency and stability in the child’s life. Many of our young recipients have been able to develop a relationship with their dog unlike any that one is able to have with humans.
Service dogs provide several security measures and freedoms for children and their families to go out in public safely and confidently. Our dogs help alleviate the wandering or bolting behaviors common in children with autism by acting as an anchor when tethered to the child. The dogs can also be stopped through the use of commands like “stop” and “sit” by the parents in situations where the child is starting to wander.
Service dogs allow autistic children to increase their participation and functional levels in everyday activities by providing a greater connection to their external environment, and a stronger ability to form social relationships and behavioral skills. The ability of our dogs to calm the children results in an increased attention span and a greater aptitude for learning. A service dog can also ease a child’s fear and anxiety due to environmental changes and other triggers, resulting in reduced feelings of anger and aggression.
Our service dogs have been used to calm children who couldn’t sleep alone prior to being paired with their dog, as a way to break the repetitive behaviors of the child, as a way for the children to work on touching and being touched, and as a way for the children to work on verbal communication by using the dog’s commands. Overall, the children develop a greater sensitivity toward the needs and feelings of their service dog and others.
Service dogs placed under our “Children with Autism” program drastically expand a child’s capabilities to experience more of life and to grow!
If you’re interested in applying for a Service Dog, fill out the Client Application.