Grantee - Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota

Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota, Autism Assist Dog Program

Minneapolis, MN

Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota enhances the quality of life for people living with a disability by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs that are placed free of charge. HSDM is now training autism assist dogs for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. Autism dogs are trained primarily as “anchors” to help keep children from fleeing, especially while in a public setting. The dogs also help socialize the difficult to reach child and help a child to make new friends as people are inherently drawn towards dogs. Dogs can help make connections with severely autistic children. The presence of a dog is very helpful for the parents of an autistic child as they can let their guard down while in public knowing the dog will keep the child safe. Their dogs are trained in specific techniques that focus on safety for the child and providing a calming influence and peace of mind for the entire family.