Irish Guide Dogs opened its Assistance Dog’s Programme for families of children with autism on Monday November 14th to new applicants.
Applications are now fulfilled for 2016/17.
The main changes to our Assistance Dog Programme include a new support role that will see a Client Liaison Officer working directly with our families prior to formal training with an Assistance Dog. This person will spend time getting to know our families and working closely with them to understand the other supports the family may be availing of. Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team will allow us and our families make informed decisions together that will ensure any partnerships we create are strong.
A further addition are pre-assessment workshops. These 3 day workshops will form part of the assessment process that our families will go through and will allow our training teams work through all aspects of owning and living with an Assistance Dog. Spending this time at our training centre will allow families understand the real aspects of living with an Assistance Dog and what it will and will not deliver to the family.
Once you have completed the 3 day pre-assessment training one of our Instructors will visit the family in the home environment. This visit will involve walking desired routes, assessing the home and garden environment. The purpose of this work is to ensure families have the required work load to maintain a dog’s safe working and to ensure the home environment is a safe place for a dog to live.
Once these pieces of work are completed our families will be matched with a suitable Assistance Dog and called to a one week training course at the centre in Cork. This week will see an Instructor work with our parents to develop the skills and knowledge they will need to be able to return to their families and begin their new life with their Assistance Dog.
Once graduated our families will continue to receive ongoing support. In the first year we will have scheduled post class visits, immediately after training, a 6 week, 6 month and 12 month follow up. On completion of this first year there will be ongoing regular after-care available to our families.
To help your child understand the assessment process, download our social story here.
Our current Assistance Dog availability has been fulfilled. We would ask you to click here to complete the contact form so we can contact you to keep you informed of future dates and details.