There are three different types of dogs special children can benefit from. Before trying to figure out whether a child will benefit from having one of these dogs, it is important figure out what type of dog is needed. Now, it is important to make the distinction between training and breed before continuing. Although there are certain breeds more open to the training and up for the task, the job of matching the right dog with the right special child is determined by the rigorous training the dog does through to help make these awesome peoples’ lives better.
What Is an Assistance or Service Dogs
Service dogs or canine assistance are smart, lovable dogs trained to perform specialized tasks to help someone with a disability. In this case, children are being discussed, and there is a chance they may be more volatile, rough, dislike the animal, the animal may dislike them or maybe only a certain dog after trying a couple will work. Also, there is the possibility no dog will be a good fit for a severely disabled child or even one needing minor assistance.
What Do Assistance or Service Dogs Do for the Light to Severely Handicapped Child
These extraordinary canines are trained to accomplish physical tasks, such as turning on lights, opening and shutting doors, getting the child’s dropped items for them and responding to things like the door, phone and unusual sounds. Under ADA law, these dogs have full right for public access, which means they can go in anywhere pets normally would not be allowed as long as their ward was with them or very close by, but this has been challenged before when it comes to wards under 18. The law allows this not only because of the ADA’s reputation for litigation, but the dogs are extremely smart, specially trained and certified by dog established, assistance dog organizations.
A therapy Dog is not trained for any specific task other than basic obedience. It is meant to offer companionship to the disabled person it belongs to. A therapy Dog is probably a better fit for a kid with physical disabilities that are not severe, or they help calm and soothe kids with mental health issues, less severe cases of autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Like the more disciplined service animals, a therapy Dog is a graduate and certified by an assistance dog organization. A person could probably get one with the recommendation of a psychiatrist. The dogs would work mostly at home with the troubled youth, and the canine does not have public access rights. Despite not having legal access to the public, often a Therapy Dog is invited in especially if it is with a child.
Testing Whether a Therapy or Service Dog Should Be With a Child
It is obvious that not all physically or mentally handicapped children should have their own service or therapy dog. Their frustrations may lead to violent outbursts, and they may harm the animal, they may not even like or want the dog or the dog might not feel comfortable around them. All of these factors can lead to either the dog, child or both getting hurt. Also, it may be a setback for the child if they a forced to take on something they are afraid of or do not want. Before committing to a Therapy or a service dog, take the child to a dog shelter and closely monitor their reactions. Next, find a therapy dog resource, such as USA Service Dogs, and set up a time to visit, plus most training centers welcome children and families to closely observe or even participate in a few light training exercises because it also keeps children out of harm’s way. Again, gauge your child’s reactions to being around not just one dog, but many. Afterwards, if the child is able to hold their attention to a movie, rent several non-animated dog friendly movies. Watch and see if the child is still excited or grows happier. Then, get a big book about dogs with a lot of pictures for reading time. Finally, if the child is able to understand and respond with reason, talk about getting a dog to help them and be their friend.
Knowing these things about the different types of dogs for special kids and following the advice above is a good start. Consult your child’s doctor, psychologist, therapist and anyone else involved in their care. Finally, you know your child better than anyone. If they regularly get very angry and express it physically, then do not risk it. These animals are special. They offer things humans cannot and undergo years of training. Be objective and ask yourself if it is possible that your child could hurt a trusting animal even by accident.