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Service dog for child with asd or specific dog for asd child?

(25 Posts)
purplerainbow Fri 29-Jan-16 14:18:14


Ds1 is 9 and has asd, anxiety, sensory difficulties. etc etc etc. he gets anger outbursts for very small reasons. Iv read a lot about animals ESP dogs helping autistic children. I don't have any pets but have family members that do. He likes to stroke animals, seems to soothe him? Iv tried to research but can't find anything anywhere near me in the south east. I just wondered if service dogs have benefited anyone's dc or if it was a specific breed that is good for your dc?

zzzzz Fri 29-Jan-16 16:21:17

There are a LOT of scams so be careful.

My opinion is that if he struggles to control his temper a pet might not be the best idea. Could you try RDA for animal contact first and see how it goes?

PolterGoose Fri 29-Jan-16 16:44:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purplerainbow Fri 29-Jan-16 19:19:58

What's the rda zzzzz?

It isn't being addressed hence why I'm trying to explore other options.

zzzzz Fri 29-Jan-16 19:24:20

Yes but the option of managing a dog and outbursts is probably pretty unmanageable. The dog is likely to become extraordinarily stressed and may bite back. Is it fair to the animal and is it safe for your ds?

RDA is riding for the disabled and while they are not my favourite charity horses are large and warm and will give you an idea of how your ds might manage with a dog in the house. In some ways a session with RDA once a week grooming and riding might be better as you can compartmentalise (and it will be cheaper and easier to back out of if it is a dead loss).

PolterGoose Fri 29-Jan-16 19:35:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purplerainbow Fri 29-Jan-16 20:11:17

I have everything and everyone and nothing is helping him. Have been under Camhs since he was 4 and they are a waste of space. Paediatrician is the same. He has anger management glorious at school and a nutute group and has drama therapy to try to boost his self esteem. Nothing is helping. He's not angry all the time, has outbursts. His low self esteem affects a lot and I have tried everything else there is to try to help him. Some times he is fine and no one would know there is anything wrong.

Twgtwf Fri 29-Jan-16 20:27:06

My dd has responded very well to our dog. We've had him since he was a puppy; he's now nearly 8. She dotes on him; of course I do all the work for the dog, but he is so worth it for his positive effect on her. He also helps her socialise, because many dc are drawn to dogs. Ours is a border terrier, bought from a highly rated breeder: he is pretty much guaranteed never to bite or even nip. He puts up with all kinds of stuff, although dd is never cruel - she carries him awkwardly sometimes and dresses him up. All animals are good for dd, even the toads and newts in the pond we have. But the dog is worth his weight in gold.

zzzzz Fri 29-Jan-16 21:00:42

I think any dog can bite and no animal should be expected to put up with being man handled.

Twgtwf Fri 29-Jan-16 21:44:28

The relationship between ddog and dd is very mutually beneficial. I would recommend pursuing this, OP. You have no idea how it has transformed our lives.

Twgtwf Sat 30-Jan-16 00:36:39

If you post on The Doghouse Topic, they will be able to help you.

Toughasoldboots Sat 30-Jan-16 00:42:16

Dd was non verbal until 4, we got a dog and it has completely changed her life. She adores the dog and will go to it when upset. However dd is not ever violent and is very gentle.'
It's not fair to have a dog if there is not a pretty much guarantee of good treatment, I agree with Zzzz that no dog should be dressed up or expected to put up with rough treatment.

One of our friends dd has ASD too and very rough with their dog and it makes me furious that the dog is used as some sort of therapy tool first and its needs come last.

Pythonesque Sat 30-Jan-16 07:50:14

The theme I hear emerging in this discussion is that if you are going to get a dog you need to ensure the dog can feel safe and secure.

Thoughts - and I don't currently have a dog though we'd like one - you would need to be able to give a dog its own safe space and at first be very strict about contact between your son and the dog. eg always supervised, son's behaviour within certain bounds that you can establish (stroking only, no hard patting, no pulling, or whatever the rules need to be); perhaps a routine of contact with the dog as a reward for desired behavior.

Can anyone currently involved with helping you help your son, be approached to help construct a plan that could allow a dog to enter your lives beneficially? If making that plan leads you to conclude that the time is not yet right then it has still been a useful exercise and you can then consider other forms of animal contact that might be more suitable. RDA could be a good plan I suspect, it is a totally different way of building up a child's self-esteem that might be effective where other things aren't. Good luck finding the next steps!

purplerainbow Sat 30-Jan-16 09:23:07

My sister has 2 shitzu but they are jumpy and she doesn't allow at kids near them without her as one is quite grouchy and sometimes nip. So they aren't really an option. My brother has a large white thing! Can't remember what it is called by he lives Lin way away but trying to arrange going over there to spend sometime with them (he has rabbits and cats too) but no one near Ilya who is able to do this regularly. He has never hurt and animal and has always been very gently With what ever animal it is. He does not have regular anger outbursts and hurting everyone all the time or anything like that, I meant I need something that could handle loud noise or not be concerned with hand flapping etc. looking at the dogs for disabled and sites like that have specifically mentioned children that had anger issues and the dogs being able to help due to how they were trained and their temperament. I wouldn't just go off and pick a dog I thought was cute. Hence why I have spent such a long time thinking and researching.

The closest rda near me is for the physically disabled, which ds isn't. Is this something do you think they would entertain for him or is it JUST for the physically disabled?

Twgtwf Sat 30-Jan-16 10:13:34

Most RDAs will cater for autistic children. It could help your ds a lot. My autistic dh still rides every week.

PhilPhilConnors Sat 30-Jan-16 10:25:29

We have dogs, one is still young, only 18 months old.
Ds is indifferent to them. Whilst he's never been violent towards either dogs (it's always directed to objects and people), he's really not bothered by them.
He has a cat though who can really calm him down. He was a family cat but he and ds2 love each other.
I'm not sure you can contrive a calming bond though, I don't think it's something that can be planned.
Plus what everyone else said about the possibility of the dog reacting to the stressful environment.
You can't guarantee that a dog won't bite, any dog put in an uncomfortable situation is capable of biting.
I would contact the rda to find out. My friend takes her physically disabled dd every week, and says the majority of children she sees there have ASD and are not physically disabled.
Depending on where you are the donkey sanctuary have Saturday clubs for DC with disabilities, I think you need a DLA letter as evidence, but I've heard good things about them. They have a few branches across the country.

Twgtwf Sat 30-Jan-16 10:57:32

If you're in London, some of the city farms have riding schools attached, often for dc with disabilities/autism. Surrey is full of RDA places.

moochy1 Sat 30-Jan-16 11:52:50

Op I would def try posting on the Doghouse thread on mn, I know there are charities out there who specifically work with children with asd who are thinking about an assistance dog because my cousin's daughter has recently got an assistance dog and she has made a huge difference to their lives, she has been specially trained and I know they had a long waiting list but it is all totally professional they know exactly what they are doing at these charities. Hopefully someone on the Doghouse thread can point you in the right direction x

Twgtwf Sat 30-Jan-16 12:20:43

I would think that assistance dogs would be, like our dog, pretty much guaranteed not to bite. Or they wouldn't get through the selection and training. Breeding does count for a lot, too, if you look at the mother and father of a puppy, and the bloodlines, you can go a long way towards avoiding a dog that would bite a human. Bad blood is bred out by responsible breeders.

zzzzz Sat 30-Jan-16 13:03:15

All dogs will bite if stressed enough. To suggest that ANY dog is guaranteed not to bite is ridiculous and bloody dangerous.

Twgtwf Sat 30-Jan-16 13:04:56

Clearly we differ in our understanding. I have said all along "pretty much guaranteed" which is very different from "guaranteed".

PhilPhilConnors Sat 30-Jan-16 13:59:07

Twgtwf, bad blood can to a certain extent be bred out when there has been a particularly aggressive dog in the dog's ancestry. But all dogs have dog instincts and dog body language, and it's very important that dog owners understand this (I'll link something in a minute), recognise the signs, socialise the puppy carefully and never allow anyone to put the dog in a situation that will cause the dog discomfort.
Every single dog in the world is capable of biting, and that cannot be bred out, and any breeder guaranteeing (or pretty much guaranteeing) sounds extremely irresponsible, and one to be avoided as they are potentially putting their puppies into homes where the owners are expecting a bomb proof dog, when actually a good breeder would be quizzing a prospective owner and feeling confident that their puppies won't be put into a situation where they may snap out of fear, frustration etc.

PhilPhilConnors Sat 30-Jan-16 14:03:44

There are a few websites about stress signals.
This was one of the first I found
It's worth googling Liam J Perk foundation, it's a tragic story, but it's so important to understand.
Most dog bites within a family happen because the owners allow children to treat the dog like a toy, and they don't recognise the subtle signs the dogs gives to show that they're unhappy.

And just to say again, no dog is pretty much guaranteed not to bite, and to think that is asking for trouble.

MeirAya Sat 30-Jan-16 15:32:50

I bet there's someone living near you whose big, placid dog could be borrowed for a daily long walk while they're all out at work.

Your son gets the benefits of the dog, the exercise etc- and could probably learn to keep it together for short periods till you drop the dog back. But you can avoid upsetting the poor dog by going round when DS is having an unpredictable day.

MeirAya Sat 30-Jan-16 15:33:39

After doing that for a while, you'll have s better idea about when your DS will be ready for his own animal

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