Service Dogs for Autism

55aug13 PK.inddYou can find my article on autism service dogs in the current online and print editions of Peterborough Kids, Lakeridge Kids, and Northumberland Kids magazines.

You can also read it right here.

This was on of the more interesting pieces I’ve written in quite awhile — it was inspiring to talk to parents and hear tales of how these dogs changed the lives of both their autistic kids and their entire families.

Here’s a snippet from the piece:

Nine-year old Adamo has always had trouble with bedtime. Like most children on the autism spectrum, he has an irrational fear of night. Until last spring, bedtime was accompanied by frustration, tears and tantrums.

Then Hitch came along. Hitch, a recently graduated guide dog from National Service Dogs, was brought in to help both Adamo and his family adapt to the difficulties of life with autism. And the results have been amazing.

“Our bedtime routine is one of the most notable changes since Hitch arrived, ” says mom Adelina. “I can’t believe how quickly Adamo gets ready for bed. When it is time to go to sleep, there is a lot less fuss.”

She reports that, “At first, when we would leave the room, Adamo would get out of bed, go and lie on the floor beside Hitch, and immediately fall asleep there.” Hitch, being the well-trained dog that he is, made his own adjustment. He began sleeping beside Adamo’s bed, so the child would stay put.

“I never imagined that bedtime could actually be enjoyable,” says Adelina.

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