IAADP has been frequently contacted over the years by parents and spouses seeking a service dog to assist them in watching over a disabled loved one with Alzheimer Disease, Downs Syndrome, Autism, TBI (traumatic brain injury), or some other serious cognitive impairment. They fear for the safety of the mentally disabled person. They want a dog trained to alert them if the cognitively impaired family member attempts to leave the house or the yard.
I view such requests with sympathy. It is exhausting to be constantly vigilant. I commend the person for leaving no stone unturned in the effort to keep a loved one safe. Then I level with them. As wonderful as service dogs can be, they are not the right kind of assistive technology for every disability and every situation.
While in theory it is possible to teach a service dog to perform a hearing dog type alert, responding to a bell jingling on a door or back yard gate when it is opened, it is wrong to put a dog in charge of a disabled person's safety. Read More
Other sensory processing disorders include blindness (vision processing) and deafness (auditory processing). Service dogs can be trained for some people with Autism to help them gain independence, confidence, and the ability to perform activities of daily living that they could not otherwise perform. For the most part these dogs are trained to perform tasks similar to those of service dogs for other sensory processing disabilities. A guide dog for a person who is blind signals the handler when the team approaches an intersection so that the handler knows to stop and check for traffic. An Autism dog might be trained to do the exact same task, except that instead of giving visual information ("I see an intersection"), the dog gives prioritizing information ("I recognize a situation that requires focused processing").Read More from Autism Service Dogs from Service Dog Central
Service Dogs for Children with Disabilities. Originally published in Alert, National Service Dog Center® Newsletter Vol. 6, No. 3 1995. Edited for the web and updates.
- By My Side- Blog by an adult with Autism partnered with a service dog
- Assistance Dog for Autism- Blog out of Ireland about a young boy with Autism and his Service Dog