Guidelines for Autism Support Dog Applicants
The application process involves an initial online application followed by a series of interviews, including an in-home visit by a certified Instructor. Eligibility to receive an autism support dog and training is subject to specific criteria, including but not limited to the following:
- The child must be aged 3 to 10 (at the time of application) and have a confirmed diagnosis of moderate to profound autism.
- Autism must be the child’s primary disability. We require permission to obtain a medical record from your family doctor.
- The child must exhibit a tendency to bolt in public spaces. Priority is given to children who are non-verbal.
- The child must be physically able to walk short journeys and be happy to make contact with the dog without any signs of fear.
- The ENTIRE family must be committed to their involvement in the program. Other children in the home, if any, must understand and respect that the autism support dog is a working dog and not simply a family pet.
- The family must be willing to be interviewed at home by an Instructor. Once the dog is placed, an Instructor will visit annually and the primary handler (parent) will be required to pass an internationally recognized test each year to ensure that the dog’s skills are maintained.
- The child and family must use the autism support dog sufficiently to justify its provision.
- The family must accept the responsibilities of dog ownership, and demonstrate commitment towards caring for the dog as instructed (proper diet and exercise, vet care etc.). Once the dog is placed with the child, the family is responsible for all costs related to caring for the dog.
- The autism support dog may not be left alone for more than four consecutive hours. If both parents work during the day, one parent must be able to take the dog to work with them. The dog may be required to sleep in the child’s room for the maximum effect of developing a bond.
- The dog must have a safe and secure indoor living environment. There must be suitable facilities for free running and exercise.
- At least one parent must be available for a 2 week in-home training session with the child and the dog.
- The parents need to be able to understand and implement instruction and control of the dog (training will be provided).
- The parents must accept and comply with the terms of our Training Agreement and be aware that the dog may be withdrawn if it is not being cared for or being used in an appropriate manner.
Regretfully, we are NOT accepting any new applications at this time, as we currently have a multi-year waiting list for autism support dogs. Applications submitted prior to this date are still being processed. Please check back again in the future.
We need your help to reduce our waitlist! Please consider sponsoring a puppy or making a donation to help us train more autism support dogs for local families.
* Access to services must be free from discrimination of any kind including race or color, gender or sexual preference, nationality, age, marital or social status, religious, political beliefs, or disability.