Salt Lake City, UT – Canine companions are now being used as a tool to provide both comfort and support for children on the autism spectrum.
Therapy service dogs have become increasingly popular in the treatment of various disorders in recent years. Therefore for individuals with autism who often have difficulty developing social skills such as the ability to form friendships, the canines can be extremely effective in helping them to connect with others. Kruz Williams, a 12 year old with high-functioning autism, is one of the many children who have been helped by the specially- trained dogs.
Although the youngster is considered to be creative and intelligent, he found it difficult to socialize and interact with his peers until he received the canine through a non-profit called Canine Companions for Independence. The organization trains dogs for extended periods of time in order to ensure that they are able to meet the unique needs of the individuals that they will be paired with.
Families including Williams, are required to attend a two week program after the dogs have completed their training in order to learn how to work with them. For the teen, his new dog Sprugal has undoubtedly been a godsend. Williams states:
“He makes me feel like I actually belong on this planet.”
Source: Ashton Goodell on the Fox 13 Salt Lake City website: Canine companions comfort children on autism spectrum