Smart Pups Autism Assistance Dogs
Smart Pups Autism Assistance dogs can dramatically enhance the quality of life for a child with autism. Children have a special connection with animals, particularly dogs, and a child with autism can gain a sense of safety, calmness and understanding through their bond with a Smart Pup. Having a trusty Smart Pup companion at their side increases an autistic child’s ability to cope with life, help ease sensory overload and provide emotional support. A Smart Pup acts as a bridge between the child and the outside world. Its role is to guide the child through their daily routine, keep them safe and comfort them when the world just gets too much. In order to meet the specific needs of each child, we train Smart Pups to perform the following tasks:
A Smart Pup provides safety and support to their child while out in public places via a harness attached to the Smart Pups service coat. A Smart Pup is trained to remain calm and anchored in position at all times which prevents the child from being able to wander off or run away. This gives a child a feeling of independence and freedom from the confinement of having their hand held while also providing protection from unforeseen dangers, such as traffic or loud noises. Being attached to their loving Smart Pup companion creates a sense of security for the child; reduces stress levels and anxiety while out in public; reduces melt downs; and creates opportunity for social interactions, new experiences and learning.
Smart Pups are trained to quickly find their child using their sense of smell. In an emergency situation where the child has run away or wandered off, this skill can be life saving.
Smart Pups are trained to touch or nudge their child in order to disrupt repetitive or destructive behaviours. The dogs are also trained to snuggle and comfort the child if they become upset or distressed which helps prevent the child’s emotional reaction from escalating into a melt down.
Positive Social Interactions
Smart Pups can provide opportunities which can help improve a child’s social skills. We train our dogs to be able to perform a variety of simple tricks. This increases the bond between the dog and the child and also creates positive fun during social interactions. Having a Smart Pup by their side gives a child a reason to communicate and something comfortable and familiar to talk about or to listen to people talk about. It creates a natural opening to discuss something everyone is interested in – their special dog – and helps a child become more confident engaging with others. Improved interaction often results in an increased vocabulary and decreased anxiety in social situations, and creates a social bridge for children who are often unsure how to interact with their peers.
Medical studies and our professional experience confirm that children with a companion dog feel less pressure from their surroundings and have lower frustration and anxiety levels. This results in greatly improved sleeping habits for the child and leads to a corresponding improvement in the quality of life for their whole family.