Autism Therapy Dogs for Children

November 11, 2023

The bond between children on the autism spectrum and dogs is nothing short of extraordinary. Beyond the joy and companionship that furry friends bring, many studies highlight the invaluable value that specially trained autism dogs can offer. 

These remarkable canines serve as more than just pets – dogs for autism are dedicated companions providing tailored support to children with autism.

Autism dogs, or autism service dogs, undergo rigorous training to address the specific needs of children on the autism spectrum. These dogs are trained to provide emotional support, assistance in social situations, and even aid in preventing or responding to meltdowns. 

The benefits extend beyond emotional support, as the presence of an autism service dog can enhance a child’s sense of security, encourage communication, and foster a greater sense of independence.

While both therapy dogs and service dogs play essential roles in providing support, it’s crucial to understand the distinctions between the two.

Let’s explore the difference between therapy dogs vs service dogs. 

  • What are Service Dogs?

Service dogs undergo extensive training to perform specific tasks that directly assist individuals with disabilities. In the context of autism, service dogs are trained to address the unique challenges faced by children on the spectrum. These tasks may include guiding the child away from dangerous situations, interrupting repetitive behaviors, or providing deep pressure to comfort during moments of distress.

  • What are Therapy Dogs?

Therapy dogs, on the other hand, are trained to provide comfort and companionship to individuals in various settings, such as hospitals, schools, or therapy sessions. While they offer emotional support and can have a positive impact on a child’s well-being, therapy dogs do not have the same level of specialized training for specific tasks as service dogs.

When deciding between a dog for autism or a therapy dog for your child you need to consider the specific needs and goals. 

Service dogs are trained for individualized tasks tailored to the child’s challenges, while therapy dogs offer a broader source of emotional support. Consulting with professionals and researching reputable training programs can help parents make informed decisions when considering therapy dogs vs service dogs. 

While autism dogs can be an excellent choice for children on the spectrum, at Step Forward, we go a step further. Our ABA therapy services are designed to be individualistic, addressing the unique needs of each child. We understand the importance of incorporating your child’s autism therapy dog into our interventions, ensuring relevance and maximum impact on their developmental journey.

Contact us to learn more about our tailored ABA therapy interventions today! 

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