You can find resources in the strangest places. I was leafing through the April AARP magazine and saw an add in the back that said the following:
Do you know a special needs class that could benefit from a professionally trained Program Assistance Dog?
- Provide a calming influence
- Enhance learning
- Increase social skills
- Motivate & reward
- Help students focus
OK, you got my attention! I went to the website and found out they provide dogs as Program Assistance Dogs:
Program Assistance Dogs go to work with and assist full-time professionals such as physicians, teachers, counselors, and licensed therapists in the treatment of and work with their clients and students. These dogs can provide a calming effect, allowing the professional to better serve or treat the clients. These dogs do not have public access except when accompanying the professionals and their disabled clients in order to provide assistance to the clients.
They also have Autism Assistance Dogs:
Autism Assistance Dogs are trained for children and families living with autism. The rise in autism rates are staggering. The evolution of programs geared toward successfully integrating children with autism into routine daily activities includes Autism Assistance Dogs.
Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to enhance the safety of children with autism by acting as an anchor and preventing the child from bolting into unsafe environments such as traffic, bodies of water, etc. Autism Assistance Dogs can also have a calming effect on the child and may improve the child’s willingness and ability to communicate and bond.
If this sounds like something you’d like to explore, check it out!