How can dogs help children with autism?

April is the month to change the conversation around autism, and raise awareness and support for those with autism – Autism Acceptance Month.

On April 2nd communities around the world will be celebrating World Autism Awareness Day. The 15th annual World Autism Awareness Day looks to increase understanding and acceptance of autism and helps support those who have autism.

To celebrate World Autism Day and Autism Acceptance Month, leading pet insurer petGuard wants to highlight the remarkable role that autism service dogs play in helping young children.

Can a child with autism get a service dog?

In the UK, autism assistance dogs can support children with autism and their wider family. According to the British Medical Association, one in 100 children in the UK have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. People can apply for an autism service dog through one of the coalition of registered charities who provide assistance dogs through Assistance Dogs UK.

How do autism dogs help?

Autism dogs are trained specifically with safety and companionship in mind. Young children with autism often find it difficult to adapt to changes in their routine and can find it tricky to make friends with other children their age. Having an autism service dog allows children to discover their independence and provides them with a friend that they can trust. Service dogs are highly trained to increase the confidence of young children and ease stress and anxiety. Service dogs can also assist with things like speech therapy and road safety.

Many support dogs tend to be larger breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles and German Shepherds. When choosing one, it is important to consider multiple factors, such as dog’s adaptability, sociability and energy level.

Head of Marketing for petGuard, Alex Bennett said: “Children with autism can face a number of challenges and having a friend they can trust can be hugely beneficial for their development. At petGuard, we’re proud to highlight the ways that our canine companions are able to provide unwavering support to young people with autism.”

Leading pet insurance provider, petGuard has been protecting dogs – including support dogs for over 30 years. That’s why it is important to highlight the role of a support dog and raise awareness.