£1,500 grant for Dogs for Autism

by Paul Thomsett

The vision of Dogs for Autism is to provide assistance dogs, at no charge, to autistic individuals of any age who will significantly benefit from such a partnership. The dogs, once trained, can enable the people to whom they are assigned, to more easily access the world around them and to expand their horizons.

The dogs have a positive impact on the lives of autistic individuals and their families. They empower autistic people to realise their individual potential, improve their access to their chosen communities, and to enhance their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Berkshire Freemasons have recently donated £1,500 to the organisation. Although the Dogs for Autism charity is national, this grant from the Berkshire Masonic Charity will go towards training a dog for a man located in Maidenhead.

The gentleman in his early 60’s, is living and working in Maidenhead, and his daily life and wellbeing is severely impacted by autism. This autism assistance dog will give him greater independence inside and outside the home, reducing anxiety levels, providing emotional support and reducing isolation.

The dogs’ cost in the region of £20,000 to train. The dogs are trained to perform tasks to mitigate the negative effects of autism; for example, they can be trained to ‘find the exit’ so that their autistic partner can be led out of a shop or public area should they become overwhelmed or anxious. This can give the recipient the confidence to access public places that they may otherwise not go to.  The dogs can also alert to a change in their autistic partner’s emotional state. People experience reduced anxiety in the presence of the dog, and the dogs help with social interactions. The support of their dog may make it possible for some autistic people to make an improved contribution within the working environment that might otherwise not be possible, as well as potentially reducing the need for social care and assistance. 

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