Autism dogs are trained to assist a person with autism to improve their social interactions and relationships and expand their verbal and/or nonverbal communication. The dog can also intervene when their handler becomes over-stimulated, helping to alleviate stress.
An autism dog can help a person deal with transitions from place to place or activity to activity, increase responsibility, and add consistency to each day.
Specific tasks may include:
- Deep pressure to prevent or respond to over-stimulation or meltdown
- Interrupting self-harming, self-stimulating, or repetitive behavior
- Finding the person with autism and/or finding a parent or other person
- Resting their head in the person’s lap (“visit”) for calming or refocusing
- Sitting between the person’s legs (“place”) for comfort and focusing