Service Dogs: A Lifeline for Families with Disabled Children
Service dogs are specially trained to provide assistance to children with disabilities. They can be taught to support kids in a variety of unique ways that help with daily living and even help in an emergency situation. For families with disabled children, service dogs can be a lifeline.
The Various Ways Service Dogs Can Help Disabled Children
Service dogs can be taught to handle tasks that children with disabilities may need extra assistance with, such as:
- Opening, closing, or even holding doors until the handler passes through them
- Retrieving dropped items
- Turning lights on and off
- Opening and closing cabinets
- Helping with dressing by tugging on clothes
- Laying across the chest of a handler in the midst of a seizure to help reduce the duration and keep the handler safe
- Retrieving medications or glucose kits
- Unloading groceries
- Putting laundry into the washer or dryer
- Alerting caretakers of a handler’s distress (unconsciousness, breathing difficulties, etc.)
If you’re considering adopting a service dog for your child with special needs, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Consider Your Child’s Specific Needs: You’ll want to do your research to ensure that a service dog will be able to help with the unique needs that your child has. In some cases, your family may require a special trainer or program to teach the dog the tasks that your child may require.
- Get Input from Your Child’s Healthcare Team: Adopting a service dog is a big decision. As such, it’s important to get input from your child’s healthcare team. They will be able to tell you if adopting a service dog is right for your child and offer any guidance or recommendations.
- Do Your Research: Not all service dog organizations are created equal. When you’re doing your research, look for an organization that is reputable and has experience training service dogs specifically for children with special needs.