The Israel Guide Dog Centre has made a commitment to have a positive impact on the lives of autistic children and adults and their families.
Through our provision of Emotional Support dogs, trained to mitigate some of the disabling impacts of autism and the environment, we create and maintain successful client-dog partnerships that impact positively on the lives of autistic people and families.
We train and provide our Emotional Support dogs, at no charge, to families who have an autistic child. We develop the dog’s confidence in aiding the autistic child or adult to focus in unfamiliar environments. The dog will be trained to provide a calming presence, learn how to interrupt certain behaviours, provide a distraction when an unwanted behaviour is displayed, and especially with children, to keep them safe by preventing bolting and any other potentially unsafe activity.
All dogs that are born, raised, and trained at the Israel Guide Dog Centre are gentle and respond well to human needs.
Dogs that are placed in the Emotional Support programme become faithful companions to children and their families who are coping with autism or other disability. Cultivating a relationship with a dog helps autistic children and adults in numerous ways:
- Improving communication and social contact
- Regulating emotions and controlling outbursts of anger
- Promoting an interesting, varied, and active lifestyle
- Building a sense of confidence and self-efficacy
- Developing a sense of responsibility, independence, and capability
- Increasing feelings of empathy and awareness of the needs of others
Each dog in the programme is matched with the family and the child with autism by means of a questionnaire, personal interviews, and a home visit by our professional staff.
After being matched, the family comes to the Centre for a guidance session to learn how to care for the dog and successfully integrate it into their home.
Our professional staff remains available to families for consultation about any problems that may arise. The families frequently remain in contact with the Centre and continue to inform us about the significant contribution their dog has made to their child and to the entire family.