Animals & Autism

See also:    Assistive Technology   

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Our Mission is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities by training and placing service animals to provide them with companionship and promote independent living.
Cats show very little change in facial expression and posture is usually relaxed. Eye-to-eye contact is difficult, as cats are seemingly unable to bear looking into the eyes for a period of time.
Alice Loftin
First of all, an animal does not understand an abstract concept such as being property or non-property. It is going to experience an environment that humans can manipulate to the animal's detriment or well being.
Temple Grandin
When Shupp rides Bea in horse shows, their communication is innate. It's in Shupp's posture, her hands and her legs. It's in her natural connection to the horse. The partnership adds up to piles of blue ribbons.
Kate Hairopoulos
Morgan's role in making Chris's life better comes naturally. Her pleasant nature calms him down, and Morgan can tell when he's upset, angry, confused or panicking.
Sarah Hart
As the owner, Justin feeds and cares for Heff, who sleeps in the bedroom right beside Justin. Allison helps steer the two, but at the playground when a child asks to pet Heff, she directs the child to Justin, letting him answer the question.
Jeff Adair
Having a service dog can make all the difference for an Autistic citizen in their daily lives. This organization is dedicated to matching dogs with the disabled person.
Did you know some folks go so far as to say that CATS do NOT really bond WITH humans..they simply '' seem '' to bond to reinforce the food source-- to make sure it does not end? BALDERDASH!!
Kim Tucker
The basis of empathy in the care-giving bond supports the role of ontogeny in the proper development of the 'innate' linkage between individuals. Specifically, continuous contact and coordinated activities are characteristic of a bond that develops a physiologically adaptive response to stress, accurate communication of affect with others and the capacity for empathic responding.
Stephanie D. Preston, Frans B. M. de Waal
A dog, when used as a component in therapy, can have a strong impact on behavior. The introduction of a friendly dog was associated with a significant increase in prosocial behavior and a decrease in autistic behaviors such as self-absorption.
Karen Allen
Complementary therapies may include music, art or animal therapy and may be done on an individual basis or integrated into an educational program.
Lift Me Up is a combination of two practices: Hippotherapy, using the horse's body and motion to stretch and relax muscles; and therapeutic riding to gain muscle tone, control and upper-body strength. The basic theory behind hippotherapy, Zanin said, is that the motion of the horse closely mirrors the movement of a person's spine and pelvic joints, thereby loosening the rider and improving upper-body strength and muscle tone.
Amber Healy
Thomas is making great strides on all fronts due in part to a horse named General, a riding instructor, Alexandra Philpin, and the Young Equestrian program at the Triangle Y Ranch YMCA Day Camp just outside West Bend. When you see him sitting tall in the saddle aboard General, putting the horse through its paces in the arena or caring for the steed, he practically exudes self-assurance. Thomas is far from timid around General, a horse weighing in around 1,200 pounds and likely about 10 times the size of the lad.
Mike Johnson, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
Therapy horses have a temperament that provides a safe, non-judgmental and tolerant base conducive to exploration by the rider. Those with tactile sensitivity may work through their defensiveness through the sensory processing work on horseback.
Hana May Brown
In his first therapy session with Grizzly, Justin stepped on the dog's paw. By the eighth session, weeks later, Justin appeared far less agitated, even allowing Grizzly to eat food out of his hand.
Melissa Sanders
Parker has a form of autism called Asperger's syndrome... One of the symptoms can be violent outbursts... What worked for them was Candy. Not the sweet stuff -- a dog -- named Candy. She's a certified assistance dog whose job basically is to be with Parker; to stick right by his side, 24/7. "She helps me, she calms me down, she lets me know she's there when I'm about to have a meltdown," Parker says. Wendy and Mark got the dog about a year ago, and Parker hasn't had an outburst since.
CBS News
Did you know you can train your own service dog, or one for your child? This organization will help you reach your goals.
Concerning Empathy, Relationships, Socialization and Responsibility... Pets, particularly pets with which one can interact (e.g.., dogs) are invaluable for the development of a child on the Spectrum.
Stan P.
A very comprehensive listing of books and publications to help the service dog owner and trainer.
In particular pets were sought out for companionship, comfort and confiding in ways never shown to family members. Greater sensitivity toward the needs and feelings of the animal was also apparent, together with a lack of anger and aggression.
J.McNicholas, G.M. Collis
A Dakota City man is going to court over his family's potbellied pig... Dahlsten says the pig, named Sid, is therapeutic for his eleven-year-old son, Zack, who suffers from attention deficit disorder, autism and mental retardation.
WHO-TV, Dakota City
A listing of resources related to service dogs, their training, state service dog organizations, and international organizations.
In the US, a service dog that has been specifically trained to perform as part of a particular disabled person's adaptive equipment is required by federal law to be admitted anywhere that the person is admitted.
Stress behaviors, number of clues needed before reacting, hyper- and hypo-sensitivity, withdrawal, sensory overload and shutdown, social relations, trot/jog.
Every time I travel somewhere to give a presentation about autism, even though my presentations are not about service dogs, people see my dog and become aware of a new possibility for making autistic people more independent.
Jim Sinclair
While I do not have a diagnosed vision or hearing impairment, autistic sensory difficulties often interfere with comprehension of things I see and hear. I hoped a dog could help make it safer for me to get around.
Jim Sinclair
Today, employing primarily young golden retrievers and labs from rescue shelters, 4 Paws markets autism-assistance dogs schooled in a number of disciplines. One might be called "meltdown recognition," where a child on the brink of a prolonged tantrum can be derailed from obsessive repetitious behaviors by a distracting nuzzle or a licking from a dog. Tethered by a harness to a child and leashed to a parent, 4 Paws dogs have also been taught to hold fast to "sit/stay" commands to give parents a break during public outings. And, of course, a dog's innate tracking abilities guarantee a lost child wouldn't stay lost for long.
Billy Cox, Florida Today

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