Many people who are involved with animals, either professionally, as an vocation, or that have pets, understand the tremendous bond that develops between humans and dogs and, to get even more specific, children and dogs. That bond, that understanding that a pair shares is unique unto itself. There are countless stories of the heroics that dogs perform to save their charges, both big and small, and, similarly, tales of dogs being rescued from all variety of situations.
For a child with autism, a bond with a dog often results in a link to the world. The dog is their best friend and through that friend they find a bit of “normal,” in their world.
Many people do not understand autism, let alone understand the varying degrees on the spectrum, and, sadly, when they meet someone who is different, they don’t take the time to learn about that person, their capabilities, their talents, and their dreams and aspirations. Sometimes the ignorant make life difficult because is it easier for them to dismiss or turn a blind eye to the circumstances instead of taking the time required to understand a picture that most likely is much larger than what presents on the surface.
Below are videos that share the stories and the challenges of three individuals with autism, each from a different perspective; a reporter, a parent, and a young man with Asperger’s. Two of the dogs have been specifically trained to work with children with autism and one was a rescue who after his own tragic start was destined to come into his forever family’s life. These videos are equally amazing and beautiful and speak to how a special dog can make a powerful difference for a special child.
For more information about autism and autism service dogs please visit Autism Speaks for a list of providers and more information.