The Hampshire based charity Dogs for Autism was founded by a dog trainer, pet behaviourist and special needs schoolteacher, to focus on training, placing and supporting assistance dogs for autistic people.
Neurodiverse people vary as much as neurotypical people. However, they tend to share certain characteristics, such as extreme sensitivity to particular noises or other stimuli, which make navigating public space and everyday life a challenge.
The dog’s presence signals to the general public that a young person may have a disability or be different in a non-obvious way, which often makes them kinder and more supportive. Knowing they will get an early warning of an autistic meltdown from the dog makes it easier for an autistic person’s family to go out together and risk everyday things like visiting a shopping centre or a family trip to a park.
For an autistic person, a trusted canine companion brings security and confidence, and often a first taste of freedom.
Hilary Armour, CEO and founder of Dogs for Autism, explains the many levels on which an autism assistance dog can make a difference in an interview with Dogs with Jobs presenter Kate Fairweather.
Find out more about at Dogs for Autism.