A few months ago we took a look at some of the studies into autism service dogs and the work they are doing, particularly with children. As Autism Awareness Month approaches this year, here is a story published by Nathan, a boy with autism telling his personal story of autism and what happened when he got his service dog, Sylvia.
As Nathan’s story reveals, Sylvia has been a vital help in his journey and really highlights the benefits of pet therapy for children with autism. Unfortunately, as we also find in his story, it has taken some time for institutions such as some schools to be on board with having the service animals on their premises.
One of the characteristics that can happen in those diagnosed with autism (as Nathan explains), is the tendency to feel high stress in situations such as crowds or noise and to have a ‘meltdown’. In Nathan’s case, Sylvia has clearly helped him to feel calm, to the point where he could handle these situations without having a meltdown.
Nathan’s story is touching and reminds us that just because a person is diagnosed with autism, does not mean that they are not someone of very high ability. We hope that as awareness increases, more children diagnosed with autism will be able to access a service dog and that their communities and schools will support this very valid form of therapy.