Autism Service Dog Program

What is the Autism Service Dog program?

Such as specialty service dogs, training such a highly specialized service dog takes time. So we start early. As a general rule our service dogs begin their training as early as 8 weeks old. Autism Assistance Service Dogs help children and adults who are on the autism spectrum. These Dog Guides provide safety, companionship, and unconditional love. They offer a calming relief for children in high anxiety situations, and reduce the stress commonly experienced in public places. Having an Autism Support Dog does not mean it's an easy task. Its definitely added work to your busy schedule. With the work it might be it does have it's benefits such as increasing the safety and security of a child/adult with moderate to profound autism. An Autism Support Dog can improve the child’s or adult's ability to participate in education, social and leisure activities because the canine may reduce the stress associated with these situations.

What do we evaluate/take into consideration when evaluating for our Autism Service Dog Program?

  • Does the type of request fall into our scope of practice/limitations and have realistic expectations? 
  • Based on the client’s needs, is it likely that we can locate and train a dog within a reasonable amount of time? 
  • Does the client (or family) seem realistic and accept our application, training, placement and follow-up practices? 
  • Is the client (or family) close enough to our facility to allow for follow-up services, or can other arrangements be made? 
  • Is the client capable of assuming financially the estimated annual cost of a service dog such as grooming, food, insurance, etc. 
  • Does the client (or family) appear able to adequately care for a service dog? 
  • Does the client (or family) have basic adequate knowledge for a service dog? 
  • Does the client live in an environment that would be safe, comfortable and spacious enough for a dog? 
  • Does the client demonstrate a desire to communicate with and become a partner with the Asista Foundation? 
  • Does the client have other animals at home that can harm the integration process of a service dog?
  • Is the candidate old enough to interact with the service dog?

Meeting the evaluation criteria does not guarantee acceptance of the program. The eligibility of a person is also subject to a thorough analysis of the application by the admissions department.

Applying for an Autism Service Dog

The application process is rigorous. If you feel you are a good candidate for our program, we do invite you to apply. If you would like to know the application process, please consult our programs page located on the menu.