A new program brings children with autism into the actual training of service dogs. Autism Daily Newscast has reported here in the past on the use of service dogs as companions for children with autism.
By partnering with Lionheart a special needs school in Alpharetta, Georgia, the paws4people foundation has expanded its programming to of training of service dogs to include children with autism.The first group of seven puppies spend four months with the 39 students at Lionheart before moving on to step 2 working with prison inmates. Step 3 involves university students for final preparation.
Recent studies indicate that companion animals often increase the amount of positive social behaviours presented in children with autism. The success of the program reflects those findings; coordinators assert that the kids who were provided with the service of the dogs showed marked improvement with respect to decreased anxiety levels, their ability to regulate their emotions and general social interaction.
Sarah Rosenbaum, Director of the LionPaws Puppy Development Center told Today.com,
“They’re just so excited, which really is such a source of pride for me. The children are providing for the puppies, and the puppies are providing for the children.”
The next group of puppies is scheduled to arrive shortly at Lionheart School.
The original article from WRCBtv Chattanooga News website can be read here