Which dog is right for you?
There is a difference between a service dog and a therapy dog. We’d add a third category – a companion dog that’s well-behaved and well-trained.
Service Dogs provide companionship and support for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Service dogs receive extensive training and official certification to help perform functions that present a challenge for a person with a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that people can bring their service dogs in all public areas – including restaurants and stores. Service dogs typically wear a “cape,” or harness, that identifies them and lets bystanders know they are working and should not be disturbed.
When used as part of your child’s therapy, Service Dogs can:
- Provide increased safety for the child;
- Help control the child by commanding the dog;
- Passively teach the child responsibility;
- Enjoy the right of full public access under the B.C. Guide Animal Act;
- Lower aggression and frustration levels, leading to positive behavioural changes;
- Provide comfort when the child is upset;
- Add a degree of predictability to social settings for both the child and parents; and
- Reduce social stress levels, allowing greater participation in education, as well as social and leisure activities.
As their name suggests, therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort in therapeutic situations. Typically, they work in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare and mental health facilities. They can assist with physical or occupational therapy, or simply help calm a patient undergoing a stressful medical procedure.
Companion dogs on the other hand are great idea for starting out and seeing what your needs are with a dog.
A well-trained family pet can be a wonderful calming influence for someone who has autism. An affectionate dog provides unconditional love and friendship on a daily basis. Walking the dog provides both exercise and a “social magnet” to ease conversation with other children. Learning to care for the dog teaches responsibility and practical skills. And pets provide parents with opportunities to teach and model caring behaviors and consideration of a friend’s needs – both important social skills.
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Is your little one a picky eater? Are they texture sensitive when it comes to eating curtain foods?
Here are some tips and tricks to try.
Change it up:
To help your child out, try preparing and presenting the foods they struggle with in a different way. If mashed potatoes make your kid cringe, try baked potatoes with their favorite topping or slicing them up and frying them in a pan.
Too hot? Too cold? Major problem. At least for these kids. Something as simple as the temperature being off can ruin a meal for them.
Casual table time:
Sitting down to an activity that’s uncomfortable is stressful enough without adding the pressures of a formal setting. Snacks, games and laughter can help diffuse the stress and help your child better connect to the family and the situation.
Change the venue:
Eating outside provides them with the sensory input they need and gives them a chance to play and eat at the same time. And sometimes eating in a new or different place removes the stress and negative emotions they may have built up toward your own dinner table.
Strengthen muscle tone:
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the phrase “but it’s too hard” come out of my picky one’s mouth while trying to encourage him to eat. Eating can seem as daunting as climbing a mountain if your child’s muscles aren’t strong enough to eat their food without tiring.
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For kids who have trouble sleeping, sensory techniques designed to calm and organize the body can be helpful.
One of the first things new parents learn at the hospital is how to swaddle their little bundle of joy because snugly wrapping a baby in a blanket provides calming tactile and proprioceptive input all over the body, making the child feel secure and safe.
What to do:
-Use heavy blankets or quilts at night or try a weighted blanket
-Try a bedding set from Beddy’s. These sets are like a fitted sheet, a comforter, and a sleeping bag all rolled into one. Perfect for kids who are particular about their sheets and blankets being straight and smooth and even more amazing for kids who need a little bit of firm pressure to calm their bodies.
-Play a game of “Kiddo Burrito” before bed, rolling your kiddo up tight for a few minutes in a blanket
-Provide firm all-over pressure by hugging your little one on your lap while reading before bed
-Give firm squishes to the body with a bean bag chair or pillow
-Try a few minutes in a cocoon swing or a beanbag chair
Show us a new mother and we’ll show you someone who has mastered the art of doing just about anything using only one hand, because babies LOVE to be held. Why? Being in someone’s arms provides tons of positive sensory benefits, including the relaxing effect of body heat.
What to do:
-Place a warm rice pillow in bed or try a Cozy Plush microwaveable stuffed animal
-Pop blankets or comforters in the dryer for a few minutes before bed
-Zipping up inside a bedding set from Beddy’s is perfect for keeping little bodies cozy and warm!
For more ideas
YOU Are Invited
“It Takes a Village to Support Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder”
August 18 1:00 – 3:30 THE VILLE Cooperative
241 Canada Street, Fredericton (North)
Autism Advocacy New Brunswick is pleased to announce we will be hosting a meeting concerning the lack of Autism Adult Care Services in the Province of New Brunswick. This will be held on Saturday, August 18th from 1:30-3:30pm at The Ville Cooperative, 241 Canada St, Fredericton (Marysville), NB.
We are extending an invitation to parents, self-advocates, and families, as well as persons who have a strong interest in supporting adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We are also sending an invitation to Premier Gallant, Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs, Ministers and elected members of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly. Candidates from all parties are welcome to attend.
We have three guest speakers and they will be speaking on the following topics:
1. Harold Doherty, is a father of an adult son with Autism, and a long- time Autism advocate who is currently practicing law in Fredericton. He will speak on the history of Autism services in the Province of New Brunswick, and will illustrate the advancements that have been made in the past 15 years. Harold will also speak about the current lack of services for adults who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. His talk will address issues in regards to adults who have high needs, with limited to zero communications, who are intellectually challenged, and may have an existing co-morbid condition such as a seizure disorder. He will talk about the challenges that he and his family face with his own son on a daily basis. He will also emphasize the importance of being a unified voice if changes are to be made in this province. Parents, self-advocates and the community must be united, and become the voice for the adult population.
2. Lila Barry is a mother of an adult son who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Lila is a former president of Autism Society New Brunswick, and a retired Executive Director of Autism Resources Miramichi. The scope of her career covers a span of 42 years, working in the field with persons with special needs. Currently, she volunteers at Autism Resources Miramichi, and her volunteer work encompasses advocacy within the Province of New Brunswick. A typical example is preparing for today’s event. She is a behind the scene girl, and is passionate in supporting persons with ASD. Lila will speak on her experiences raising, and working with children and adults who live with Asperger’s Syndrome or HFA.
3. Dr. Paul MacDonnell is a retired psychologist who specializes in Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a Professor Emeritus in Psychology at the University of New Brunswick, he has distinguished himself in his career. He has received international recognition for his research, and has been viewed as a model for others in the field. In 2004 the government of the day funded a province–wide Autism Intervention Training program, for preschool-aged children. The lead consultant was Dr. Paul MacDonnell. Years later, he was also the lead consultant when funding was made available to train Educational Assistants and Methods and Resource Teachers within the Department of Education. In 2015 Dr. Paul MacDonnell submitted a proposal on Adult Autism Care Services to the Province of New Brunswick. This proposal is called, “It Takes a Village to Support Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” In simple terms, it is a comprehensive document that addresses all the needs of the adult population. Dr. Paul MacDonnell will be giving an overview of the proposal. It encompasses the needs of the full spectrum, including the needs of severely affected adults living with Autism, all the way to the adults who are living with Asperger’s Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism. The needs vary on the spectrum so it’s important to recognize that not all persons have the same needs and challenges.
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