Autism Parenting Magazine Issue 74 (Member's Dashboard) - Page 47

AUTISM SOLUTIONS dogs (Burrows et al., 2008). It is ideal to providing a safe place in the home where the dog can rest and recuperate. Assistance dog organizations are ethically prohibit- ed from providing an autism assistance dog that is not properly trained and has not shown the appro- priate behavior traits needed to assist a human com- panion. It is ethically ideal, but not required, that all assistance dogs pass a public access test before be- ing placed with individuals. Families should be aware that this public access test is an important piece of a successful placement. BluePath Service Dogs, Inc., located in New York, is an example of an autism assistance dog organiza- tion that seems to be providing a safe environment for the dogs they place and in-depth information to parents. Their website has a family facts page where parents can learn what is entailed in maintaining a successful autism assistance dog partnership. On this page, the expense of acquiring the dog and maintaining the dog’s health is clearly stated. Blue- Path lists the requirements that families must meet to obtain an assistance dog on their “apply for a dog” page. One of the requirements stated on this page is “everyone in the home must be supportive of having a service dog, and no one can be allergic to dogs.” Support from every family member is critical to a successful placement. BluePath conducts an inter- view in the child’s home with a dog to assess how the child behaves and interacts with the dog. The parent is required to pass “a yearly certification test with the dog.” This is an effective policy to determine the level of bonding and training that is occurring on an ongoing basis. From BluePath’s website, it seems that parents will be given adequate knowledge in the beginning and continued follow-up to create a strong, effective, and safe placement for dog and child, while diminishing parental stress. Ideally, providing continued education to families about canine behavior and the physical and emo- tional needs of an autism assistance dog would in- crease the effectiveness of placements, provide a safe place for families to work through potential is- sues, facilitate more effective assistance dog teams, and protect the welfare of the dogs. Continued re- search will identify possible concerns and provide creative solutions so that assistance dog organiza- tions and families can provide safe environments where the dogs and the child can benefit from the special therapeutic and safety aspects provided by autism assistance dogs. References: Burrows, K. E., & Adams, C. L. (2008). Challeng- es of service-dog ownership for families with autistic children: lessons for veterinary prac- titioners. Journal of veterinary medical educa- tion, 35(4), 559-566. Burrows, K. E., Adams, C. L., & Millman, S. T. (2008). Factors Affecting Behavior and Welfare of Service Dogs for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal Of Ap- plied Animal Welfare Science, 11(1), 42-62. doi:10.1080/10888700701555550 Grandin, T. (2002). Animals Are Not Things. A View on Animal Welfare Based on Neurologi- cal Complexity. Schmahmann, D. R., & Polacheck, L. J. (1995). The Case Against Rights for Animals. BC Envtl. Aff. L. Rev., 22, 747. Viau, R., Arsenault-Lapierre, G., Fecteau, S., Champagne, N., Walker, C. D., & Lupien, S. (2010). Effect of service dogs on salivary cor- tisol secretion in autistic children. Psychoneu- roendocrinology, 35(8), 1187-1193. doi: http:// West’s Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 600.2, 600.5, West’s Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 54 - 55.32; West’s Ann.Cal.Educ.Code § 39839; West’s Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 30850 - 30854; West’s Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 121680; Cal. Vehicle Code § 21963. Retrieved from tance-animal-california-assistance-animal- guide-dog-laws#s600_2 Wisch, R. F. (2015). Discussion of Assistance Animal Laws. Animal Legal & Historical Center. Rebecca Richardson is the director of college gover- nance at Bergin University of Canine Studies locat- ed in Rohnert Park, California. She is completing a master of science in human-canine life sciences at Bergin University. Rebecca has worked as an early intervention specialist for children with autism and has taught associate of science courses on autism and assistance dogs. Autism Parenting Magazine | Issue 74 | 47