Using Service Dogs to Assist Children and Young Adults with Aspergers

Children with disabilities present a unique challenge for parents, especially for parents of children with Aspergers. Autism presents challenges that...

Using Service Dogs to Assist Children and Young Adults with Aspergers
13October

Using Service Dogs to Assist Children and Young Adults with Aspergers

Written by Craig Rogersin Section Teen Paths

Children with disabilities present a unique challenge for parents, especially for parents of children with Aspergers. Autism presents challenges that most people understand, and unless you've experienced the challenges, it is impossible to know the pain and heartache associated with Autism.

Children and young adults with Autism do not connect well with his or her environment. Autism manifests itself most strikingly as impairments in communication and in the formation of social relationships. Autistic children and young people struggle to build relationships and are unable to effectively communicate.

Children with Autism are often nonverbal, or when they are verbal they usually do not use the skill to actively communicate with other people in their environment.

Please note: The video below will be hard to watch, especially if you are not familiar with the "meltdown" that defines Aspergers. The point of this video is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the service dog. To parents of children with Aspergers this video is a huge comfort.

Service Dog (Sampson) Alerts to Self Harming Behaviors by Danielle Jacobs

(This video was published on Jun 1, 2015 by Danielle Jacobs. Danielle states, "This is what having Aspergers is like. Please leave no negative comments as this really happened and it's not easy to open myself and share what it's like on a daily basis. This is what's considered a meltdown. Yes Samson is alerting. I trained him to alert to depressive episodes and self harm not both but he alerted. It appears the response is late but it's actually supposed to be as I'm coming out of the meltdown as I tend to have a panic attack after.")


Many children with Autism have a strong need for a structured, routine environment; change creates feelings or fear and/or anxiety. Some children even exhibit serious behavioral changes including, at times, self-injury.

Asperger’s is exceptionally difficult for parents, who watch as the disability interferes in their child’s life, as the children most often know that the other children are making fun of them and/or leaving them behind as they form their social groups.

The 4 Paws Autism program is geared toward young children with Autism and those teens and adults with Autism who will for all intents and purposes never be independent and function more like children.

4 Paws is not able at this time to provide a service dog to those with high functioning teens and adults with Autism or Asperger’s who will handle the dog on their own.

4 Paws for Ability is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to place quality service dogs with children with disabilities and veterans who have lost use of limbs or hearing; help with animal rescue, and educate the public regarding use of service dogs in public places. 4 Paws was the first agency in the United States to begin placing highly skilled Autism Assistance Dogs and the first agency known to place these assistance dogs with tracking skills.

As long as the child’s physician approves the dog and it is safe to place a dog in the home, no family is turned away. We continue our services with no long waiting lists and continue as always to “partner” with our families to provide the autism service dog their child needs.

For more information about 4 Paws and the success stories from families of autistic children, click here.

List of some of the assistance that a Service Dog provides:

  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Wandering
  • Social Skills Development
  • Behavior Disruption
  • Autism Dogs at School

Related Helpful Article - Jamming Out Instead of Acting Out (click on image)

Jamming Out To Heal