Assistance Dogs

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 2024/2025

Registration for information webinars is now closed for 2024.  The waiting list will open shortly for those who have completed an information webinar this year only.

If you are interested in applying for an assistance dog from AADI, we will be reopening the list again in 2025.  Please sign up to our general mailing list as we will advertise the 2025 webinars by email and on our social media accounts.

Please note we do not pass your contact information on to third parties and will only use it to contact you directly about information and news on Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland

You can help change the world for a child with autism today