An assistance dog is suitable for children with autism from the age of approximately 5 years to 12 years. We review our criteria annually including our age criteria. Our criteria is in place to ensure the highest possible success rate and benefit of each placement.
Statement of Values
These highly skilled dogs are more than a friend. They are trained to keep their child companion safe. Attached via a belt to the child, these dogs listen and respond to the commands of the parent/handler. The dogs primary focus is to prevent the child from running into danger when they are out and about.
An assistance dog is not a pet but a service dog that is trained to provide safety and to support the child with autism to overcome the distressing elements of their disability and to live the life that they deserve.
As the partnership between the child and assistance dog develops our research shows that these special dogs:
- Reduce anxiety and stress not just for the child but for the whole family
- Support the child in learning coping mechanisms that last a lifetime
- Improves communication skills
- Increases confidence
- Eases sleeping problems
Every family’s story is different.
Every child with autism is different.
Every Autism Assistance Dog changes the world for a child with autism.
All children with autism and their families are assessed for suitability and given special training to ensure that the partnership with an autism assistance dog is a success and has a positive lasting impact for everyone.
Assistance dogs are trained from 8 weeks of age and it can take up to 2 years for them to reach the high standard required. Read more about the training of assistance dogs here.Our application process opens annually and we hope to take approximately 35 families onto our waiting list each year.
We have an extensive eligibility criteria but the main requirements are:
1. The child needs to be between the ages of 5-12 years old at the time of application
2. The child needs to have an ASD diagnosis
3. The child needs to be a significant flight risk.
4. There must be someone at home with the dog, they cannot be left alone for long periods of time.
Application Process 2023
The waiting list for Assistance Dogs in 2023 has now closed. We were delighted to be able to offer places to 35 new families.
We intend to reopen the waiting list in 2024. Please keep an eye on the emails from AADI and our social media next year as we will advertise the 2024 information sessions. Attendance at an information session is required if you want to apply for an assistance dog. The waiting list will open shortly after the information sessions are finished.
Those who wish to apply for an assistance dog in 2024 should ensure that they are signed up to our mailing list. You can do this by clicking HERE
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