Service dogs provide a physical and emotional anchor for children with autism. With their child tethered to a service dog, families feel they are newly freed to engage in activities as simple as shopping at the mall. On the streets, parents are relieved of the worry their child might run away. In many cases, the service dog accompanies the child to school, where its calming presence can minimize and often eliminate emotional outbursts, enabling the child to more fully participate. Transitioning among school day activities is eased and the service dog provides a focus through which the child can interact with other children. This helps increase the opportunity for the child to develop social and language skills.
Service and therapy dogs for autistic children are an incredible tool. These dogs are trained to bond with the child and meet any needs that the child may have. The training of service dogs is a long and intense process that can take up to a year. The dogs are required to meet intense obedience tests to be able to be taken anywhere the child may need the dog. A service dog can meet needs for the child that medication can not. Unfortunately, Utah has a big need for service dogs and little resources to meet that need. The training of service dogs takes such a long time, the price of the dog varies. The cost of one of these service dogs can vary from $6,000- $15,000.