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A unique service for you and your family

from Dogs for the Disabled

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If there is a child with autism in your family, or autism concerns you from a personal or professional perspective, the PAWS project could well have a big impact.

PAWS has grown from the work of Dogs for the Disabled, an innovative charity that has developed the training of assistance dogs to work effectively with children with autism. In the course of this work it’s been observed that there is a special chemistry between the dog and the child, the dog having an incredible calming effect when a child with autism is angry, anxious or distressed. They can distract a child away from disruptive or dangerous behaviour and create a space for the parent or carer to take control of a situation. These observations have led us to believe that whilst for some there will always be a need for a fully trained assistance dog, a well trained family pet dog can also have a massively beneficial impact.

PAWS has been set up by Dogs for the Disabled, to bring together the parents and carers of children with autism to share experiences and to explore the helping potential that a pet dog might have within their family.

Alongside our workshops, working in partnership with the National Autistic Society and Lincoln University, we have been awarded a three year grant to carry out research into the relationship between dogs and humans, funded by The National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

The results are already encouraging; a child who refused to clean his teeth will now do so happily if the family dog has his teeth brushed at the same time; a young lad who had real problems with his school uniform now sets off to school happy, proud and appropriately dressed, providing the dog goes with them, wearing a school tie too!

Through the PAWS project you can also meet other people who may be facing the same challenges as you, so come along to our workshops, many of which are held at your local Dogs Trust centres throughout the UK,  and learn more. Find out about the types of dog that might suit your family and how to train them to help you with the caring role.