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Autism - Strategies for Home and School

School - Making it a Success with Sue Larkey.  Sue Larkey is uniquely positioned within the education system having both taught as a primary school teacher and special education teacher.  Sue has taught students with ASD in the mainstream and at a specialist autism school.  She combines this practical experience with extensive research, having completed a masters in special education and currently undertaking a doctorate in education.

Home - Chances are you’ve seen a service dog in action, so you already have some idea what they do for their people. Autism service dogs, like any others, are trained to perform specific tasks to help their human companions navigate the world. Autism Spectrum Disorders are characterized by impairments in communication skills and social interaction, as well as by the presence of challenging behaviors, and autism service dogs can be life-changing partners, helping people with autism gain confidence and independence. The impact each dog makes on the life of their recipient is priceless, giving recipients a greater level of independence, self esteem and an overall improvement in psychological well-being and quality of life. 

Sue Larkey has developed a number of  teaching resources to help teach children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

There are strategies, ideas, summary and time saving ideas for teachers, teacher aides and parents. If you see a YouTube Icon next to a tip sheet it means Sue has made a short video further discussing the strategies
and ideas in this tip sheet. Click on the icon to see the video. This link will take you to her tips:

Raising Children Network -  DSM-V diagnostic criteria: autistic disorder


Assistance/Service Dogs - "It's like a computer. There's too much input, there's not enough output, you lose control and you crash."

That's what it feels like to have a meltdown, says Danielle Jacobs, a 24-year-old woman with Asperger's Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Earlier this month, she posted a video of her Rottweiler, Samson, demonstrating the trained responses to behaviors that are typical of Jacobs' involuntary meltdowns: 

Autism Service Dogs -   A boy walks through the crowded halls of his school tethered to a dog who helps him remain calm in the crowd, find the correct classroom, and get settled in his seat before class starts. A family enjoys dinner at a busy restaurant with a dog laying patiently at their child’s feet. A young woman sits in a chair with her head in her hands, rocking back and forth; her dog puts his front paws on her lap and applies deep pressure until her body releases tension and she is able to carry on with her day. These are autism assistance dogs in action.  To find out more click on the link

There are a number of organisations within Australia that train assistance dogs for autistic children the following links may be useful.

Smart Pups Autism Assistance Dogs - Autism Assistance Dogs are specially trained to help children who have any disability falling within the Autism Spectrum. These dogs are trained to disrupt behaviour outside of the child's set behavourial pattern. In addition, Autism Assistance dogs can be trained to track the child should he or she wander away. Regardless of what advanced skills Autism Assistance Dogs might be trained to do, their primary purpose is to provide a best friend, confidant and playmate for a child who almost always has few friends.

Guide Dogs' Autism Assistance Dogs - "The biggest change is that we can leave the house for a walk without any stress or fear of danger. It's such a relief to know he is safe. Blake has given Riley a new level of independence." - Nicole, mother of Riley

About the program - Guide Dogs' Autism Assistance Dog Program focuses on improving the quality of life for families of children living with Autism. Our highly skilled Autism Assistance Dogs offer families a number of benefits, the most important being safety. This is achieved by providing a fully trained dog along with training and support for parents and their child.

PAWS  Autism Workshops and Support -   brings together parents of children with autism, to share experiences and explore the potential that a pet dog might have within the family. The program has been running successfully in the UK and the Netherlands for the past two years. The special chemistry shown between a child and dog through Assistance Dogs Australia’s work providing assistance dogs for families with a child with autism, has led us to realise that whilst for some children there will be a clear need for a fully trained assistance dog, a well-trained family pet dog can also have a massively beneficial impact.

Righteous Pups - Righteous Pups Australia Inc is a national charity, the first and only to place Autism Assistance Dogs with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders throughout Australia. Each dog costs approximately $29,000 to train and place over an 18-month to two year period- at no cost to the recipient family. By the end of 2013 we will have permanently placed 35 Autism Assistance Dogs (AAD) throughout Australia and have already seen many lives liberated and transformed. As a team we gladly work 14-16 hours a day to serve these special children and thier families and we do it all without any government funding rather, relying on the generosity of the community and community- minded organisations.

Aussie Angels Assistance Dogs  is a registered Charity run by a dedicated group of volunteers who are committed to improving quality of life for diabetics Adults and children who endure loss of mobility due to accident or physical conditions; to children who are fall within the autism spectrum, and also  specially trained Therapy Dogs