Show dog helps autistic children

He may be a top dog at the Westminster Dog Show in New York in February, but Wyatt is already a winner in the hearts of kids with special needs. The Rhodesian Ridgeback with the sixth sense for kids is officially known as Ch. Rambo’s Gunfight at the OK Corral, and he is competing at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the second year. When she isn’t showing him, Janice Wolfe, founder of Merlin’s Kids, and breeder from Wyckoff, N.J., also works with Wyatt to help assess the individual needs of autistic children and others.

via Show dog helps special-needs children – Yahoo! News.

Family dog could aid autism therapy

Trained therapy dogs can make a big difference in the lives of some children with autism.

But they’re also expensive.

That’s why a local doctor is recommending some families look no further than their family dog for help.

Higgins the therapy dog is already a big help in Dr. Rolanda Maxim’s autism clinic at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

Young patients anxious about having their height and weight measured can watch Higgins do it first.

“In the company of a dog, a child will become more relaxed, more interactive, more social, less anxious,” says Dr. Rolanda Maxim, an autism specialist at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

Now Dr. Maxim is taking the idea one big step further.

She’s recommending select families in her practice use their own family dog to increase interaction at home.

via Family dog could aid autism therapy |

Iditarod leads autistic boy to service dog

Juke, a service dog, is trained to calm 10-year-Logan, who has autism, and to keep him from wandering. As you can read here, wandering is particularly dangerous near Logan’s Alaska’s home – thanks to the local bear population and the nearby Bering Sea.

XENIA — Logan Erickson pressed his nose against the airport window near his hometown of Unalakleet, Alaska.

The little boy with autism who hadn’t spoken in about seven years watched a family friend — Iditarod sled dog musher DeeDee Jonrowe — get on a plane with her dog, Miyagi. Jonrowe had been stuck there because of a storm.

“It was like the perfect moment,” said Logan’s oldest brother, Austen. “He was saying ‘Miyagi’ and Miyagi had just got on the plane. It was perfect. It was cute. It was just amazing to hear him say his word and hear him use his voice.”

Ten months later, the Ericksons were in Xenia on Tuesday at 4 Paws for Ability, a service dog training nonprofit organization.The family started 11 days of training so that Logan could get used to life with Juke, an 18-month-old golden Lab.

via Iditarod leads autistic boy to Xenia for service dog.

Autistic boy can bring service dog to school

A legal battle over a boy and his dog has ended, allowing an autistic second-grader to bring his service dog to school for good.

In a ruling released Aug. 24, the Fourth District Appellate Court of Illinois said the Villa Grove Community Unit School District #302, located south of Champaign-Urbana, could not keep seven-year-old Kaleb Drew from attending school with his service dog, Chewey, setting a precedent in the first known case to challenge the Illinois School Code regarding service animals in schools. The school district has now granted Kaleb and Chewey a permanent hall pass, apparently ending the year-long battle.

via Dog fight ends with hall pass.

Therapy dog helps Florida boy with autism

A 6-month-old golden retriever leaps out of the white sedan onto the gravel driveway.

A few yards away, pasted on the front door of the Golden Gate Estates home, is a picture of a dog with a red heart drawn around it. “Welcome Falcon!” it states.

Slowly, Kathy Lowers leads her 3-year-old son Nate toward the dog with the wagging tail.

She puts her son’s hand on Falcon’s back and looks at Nate expectantly.

Nate doesn’t react.

At first he appears the same as his siblings – Abraham, 11; Victoria, 9; Catalina, 7; Isabella, 5; and Maggie, his twin, who all squeal in delight and crowd around the dog.

But when Nate was 2 1/2 he was diagnosed with a severe, regressive form of autism.

Call his name, he does not turn around; toss him a ball, he does not try to catch it; ask him a question and he does not answer.

PAWS for Love Assistance Dogs placed Falcon with Nate and his family July 9. The specially trained golden retriever was bred for five generations for his temperament and training abilities.

via Therapy dog helps Golden Gate child with autism | | The News-Press.

Dog watches over children with autism

It was the dog trainer’s honesty that won Lisa McMillan over.

When McMillan asked the trainer whether she was able to train a dog to assist with her autistic twin boys, the dog trainer said, “I don’t know anything about autism.”

The mother did. And Kelli Collins knew how to train dogs. Together, they would train and raise a puppy to be a companion to the then-3-year-olds, Eric and James. Collins would work with the puppy, Caleb, on learning the boys’ scent so he could find them when they bolted. He soon would learn to comfort them, almost instinctively, when they needed a friend.

via Puppy watches over children with autism –

Service dog goes to school with sixth-grader with autism

Here’s a nice story from Fort Wayne, Ind., about a child with autism and her service dog. A local middle school and other members of the 12-year-old’s community raised $11,000 for the autism service dog. What a nice change of pace from recent news stories about schools banning  service dogs for children with autism!

KENDALLVILLE — Wayne Center Elementary School has a new student this trimester.

His name is Jefferson, and he walks the hallways, the classrooms, gymnasium and cafeteria on four paws. When he’s wearing his harness, Jefferson is all business. When the harness is off, he’s like most rambunctious, playful Labradors.

Jefferson is a specially trained autism service dog for 12-year-old Kelsey Fogle, a sixth-grader with multiple disabilities including autism. Kelsey is partially deaf, her speech is impaired and she can see only shadows in her right eye, but she moves about the school like other students with Jefferson’s assistance.

via Service dog goes to school with sixth-grader with autism.