Autism Service Dogs

Kassidy Young

The Charter Feature

      Here at Alliance Charter Academy (ACA) autism service dogs are being trained by our very own Jill  Mohr.

Jill Mohr, the assistant director here at ACA, is a puppy trainer for Autism Service Dogs of America (ASDA). She cares for these dogs for months at a time to help prepare them for their future jobs. She gives these dogs the opportunity to be in a school setting which helps prepare them for when they attend school with the child. Once they are prepared they advance onto the next phase of their training, whether it’s a new puppy trainer for new socialization experiences, or advancing to the full time training program once they are 2 years old.

“Typically for young children who have autism, one of the risks is that if they are in a store or a parking lot they will run off, bolt. Which can be a very dangerous situation.” said Mohr. Autism service dogs provide a great service to families everywhere. These dogs provide comfort to the children, they provide the opportunity for the children to be able to connect with world around them. These dogs are the link that these Autistic children have to the world around them.

“My own son has autism, and I saw at a very early age… it wasn’t a dog, but it was a cat that came into his life. I wanna call her right now a service cat because that’s kinda what she did. “ said Mohr. “She provided him with some of the experiences that these dogs give to the children. That whole empathy piece that is sometimes difficult for people with autism.”  

Autism is a developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. According to National Autism Association, just in the US alone over 3.5 million people live with autism today. Every 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism, and 40% of those children will never speak.

“He was able to develop a sense of empathy for the cat which then translated to empathy to people too. So this cat helped him to grow as a person in a really profound way.” she said with tears in her eyes.

                       “A child who connects to a dog connects to the world” -ASDA

April is autism awareness month, and though for the remainder of this school year, there will not be an autism service dog being trained here at ACA Still be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of the effect autism has on our society. The impact it has on our school.

Sources:

“Autism Fact Sheet.” National Autism Association RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

“ASDA.” ASDA, 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017

Mohr, Jill. Personal interview. Feb 15, 2017.