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 Effectiveness of Using service dogs for Children with Autism

 Effectiveness of Using service dogs for Children with Autism

 Effectiveness of Using service dogs for Children with Autism

It may be difficult for a child on the autism spectrum to communicate and understand what words imply. Important life skills include finding like-minded people and adjusting to unforeseen circumstances like having a replacement teacher or having your toys moved. Like all disabilities, autism has unique characteristics. People with disabilities bring their issues, symptoms, and holidays. The abilities and lessons that autistic people may impart to anyone who can interact with them will astound them. For children with autism spectrum disorders, dogs are wonderful buddies and companions. Dogs’ unconditional friendliness and companionship may benefit children with autism, as it may help develop social skills and self-confidence in the kids who engage with them. This discussion focuses on service and therapy dogs for kids with autism.

Many people refer to dogs as “man’s best friend.” It is accurate that 63.4 million Americans own a dog, according to the American Pet Products Association (Gross, p. 50). Gross, p. 50. Numerous studies have shown that owning a dog improves general health, particularly for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD families may benefit from trained dogs in three contexts: at home, in treatment, and during search and rescue operations (Solomon, P. 156). One hundred fifty-six of Solomon’s book). A family considering getting a therapy dog for a child with autism must weigh the therapeutic advantages against the expense and lifestyle change. Families who get a dog generally do so because their autistic child develops a strong bond with the pet. An autistic child with a dog as a friend has been found to benefit from the dog’s therapeutic qualities and other positive behavioral effects. Children with autism can benefit socially by owning a dog since they are more prone to discuss it with their peers. When an animal, such as a dog, is around, children with autism display more social behaviors (Grandin, P. 227). Research in the journal Paediatrics found that kids with autism with dogs are less anxious than those without.

How dogs may benefit autistic kids Creating and Keeping Relationships

It’s normal for many autistic children (and adults) to have trouble making friends. A youngster with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) must acquire the social skills required to be sociable and make friends (Hall et al., p45). Dogs exhibit unconditional love and never criticize or judge youngsters. Even kids who have had trouble establishing friends will develop close relationships with their new animal friends once they meet them. Getting a puppy can help your child feel less alone and introduce them to an animal companion for the first time.

Species are intertwined in ways that go beyond amusement and love. In the words of Dr. Eric Hollander, Director of the Montefiore Medical Center’s Programme for Compulsive, Impulsive, and Autism Spectrum Disorders, “This is much more than just delivering consolation” (Hall et al., p47). Stuffed animals can be a significant source of comfort and support for kids, as evidenced by the use of these items by autistic children. Using information from a poll of parents, this is accurate. One parent believes spending time with a pet is a unique experience that can never be replaced. A dog can still comprehend you even if you don’t express your difficulties vocally (Gross, p. 50). You can learn much from them, including how you feel about your current circumstances.


Many kids on the autistic spectrum experience mental imprisonment. You can employ a dog to get their attention if you’d like. Studies show that having a dog provides a variety of advantages for kids with special needs (Grandin, P. 229). Even dogs have been shown to improve children’s attention spans and divert them from undesirable behaviors.

Lessening Fear

According to estimates, anxiety affects between 50 and 60 percent of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Solomon, P.143). Spending time with dogs may help anxious kids. A small child is terrified of everything may benefit from even a brief cuddling with a dog. Therapy dogs trained to lie on top of kids may calm them down by exerting light pressure (Hall et al., p46). By using these techniques, parents can also enhance the quality of their children’s sleep.

Enhancing confidence

Exposure to dogs can be helpful for some ASD kids. Having a dog around may make it simpler for kids with autism to interact with others and play outside. They might even pick up the ability to sit and stay still in the presence of a dog (Grandin, P. 233). The young child’s happiness and self-esteem are increased due to their assistance caring for the dog.

Meltdowns: Regaining Control

Families of autistic children are familiar with the unpredictable behavior of their children. Canines trained to recognize emotional cues are even more effective than autism therapy dogs. Even though their owners are loved dearly, dogs can sense when they need extra attention (Solomon, P.148).

Trained dogs can lean up close and kiss the faces of children experiencing an autism meltdown to help them relax.

The capacity to communicate orally

Children with autism frequently exhibit delays in speaking, nonverbal communication, or quietness under specified conditions. Children with autism have been shown to have improved verbal skills when a dog is around. Even verbally-impaired children will exhibit increased vocalizations (Hall et al., p48). This is the biggest benefit of owning a dog for an autistic child.

Certain breeds of dogs may be helpful to kids with autism.

If you get a dog to assist your child, you have various choices, including companionship, therapy, and service dogs. Your child with autism might benefit from spending time with a well-behaved family dog (Gross, p. 50). These dogs will give your child friendship and love, instill a feeling of self-worth, and impart lessons in compassion and responsibility. Assisting people psychologically and emotionally can be given by specially trained canines, or “therapy dogs.” In addition to keeping your child company, a therapy dog can aid in their emotional and cognitive development (Leung et al., p52). Training therapy dogs to participate in sensory activities with autistic children is another technique to assist them in receiving the necessary sensory stimulation.

Service dogs, conversely, have undergone special training and certification to support persons with impairments. Service dogs are authorized in schools, therapy sessions, and even restaurants if their handlers have received the necessary training. An autistic service dog can be taught to identify (and stop) self-harming behaviors, calm a child during an outburst, and bark to alert parents or guardians when a child needs help or support from an animal (Leung et al., p52). The greatest therapy dog breeds for kids with autism are Poodles, French Bulldogs, Labrador Retrievers, and others.

Dogs have been successfully incorporated into treatment plans by behavioral health clinics that employ Applied Behaviour Analysis, or ABA. Children who are at ease around dogs may be inspired by therapy dogs to engage in activities like playing fetch or going for walks (Grandin, p. 234). Anxious children may be more terrified of strange animals since they may become overexcited at sight. A search and rescue dog can only be noticed by children in need once it is too late to assist them in finding a missing companion. When unfamiliar animals see a scared child, they may become too eager, increasing the child’s fear (Leung et al., p52). Children who are in distress might not be aware that a search and rescue dog is there to guide them.

However, a trained dog frequently intervenes to save a child’s life. A dog trained to discover a person’s scent can locate the missing person using the fragrance left behind by their clothing or even a bag. Trained dogs must go above and beyond while looking for a child with autism since they might be terrified of or have trouble understanding what is happening during a search and rescue operation (Leung et al., p52). Dog training sessions can teach the dog how to react swiftly in a dangerous circumstance and to accustom the child to being approached by dogs.


The best pets for fostering human connections are dogs. An autistic child should have a loving dog since they need constant attention and a lot of sympathies. These dogs are helpful because, among other things, they improve communication with the child, calm the child down, inspire confidence, and aid with separation anxiety. They are advantageous because they support kids. Therapy dogs receive significant training to offer support and companionship to those in need. A therapy dog can be a wonderful help and comfort for your child’s emotional and intellectual development. Training therapy dogs to participate in sensory activities with autistic children is another alternative for giving them the necessary sensory stimulation. A dog that has been trained and authorized as a service animal can assist those who are unable to walk independently. Service dogs are allowed anywhere, even in restaurants, as long as they are handled by someone who has received the appropriate training. Consider the following characteristics when choosing a dog to ensure your child’s effectiveness and safety.


 Hall, Sophie S., et al. “The long-term benefits of dog ownership in families with children with autism.” Journal of Veterinary Behavior 13 (2016): 46-54.

Gross, Patty Dobbs. The golden bridge: A Guide to assistance dogs for children challenged by Autism autism or other developmental disabilities. Purdue University Press, 2018. 20-50

Leung, J. Y. L., Mackenzie, L., & Dickson, C. (2022). Outcomes of assistance dog placement in the home for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families:  A  pilot study. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 69(1), 50-63.

Solomon, Olga. “What a dog can do: Children with autism and therapy dogs in social interaction.” Ethos 38.1 (2010): 143-166.

Grandin, Temple, et al. “The  roles  of  animals  for  individuals  with  autism  spectrum disorder.” Handbook on animal-assisted therapy. Academic Press, 2015. 225-236.


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A  research proposal is a document that describes how one will carry out a  research project.  It is a detailed outline of the entire research process.    For this assignment, students will write a research proposal concerning the effectiveness of service dogs for autism.

 Effectiveness of Using service dogs for Children with Autism

Effectiveness of Using service dogs for Children with Autism

For this assignment, your research proposal will include two parts.

  1. Overview of the Subject Matter

In this section, students should use the internet to write a short summary about autism.  Students should especially focus on the symptoms of autism.  Use the Internet to read about autism, the symptoms of autism,  and the use of service dogs for autism.  As you read about the symptoms of autism, begin to think about how you could operationalize these symptoms in the form of an index in a survey that is given to parents who have an autistic child.  Students should also write a brief summary on the topic of service dogs for autism.  What do these dogs do, and how do they help autistic children?

  1. Research Design

In this section, students will design an evaluative (experimental study) to assess the effectiveness of service dogs for autistic children.   Your research design should address the following:

  1. Explain in paragraph form how you will conduct this study.
  2. What is the dependent variable of this study, and how will it be measured?  What is the independent variable?
  3. Create an index that measures your dependent variable.
  4. Describe how you will sample.
  5. Describe your experimental and control groups.
  6. Describe the pre-test and post-test.
  7. Describe in detail how your research will be carried out.

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