A night of music by James Bradley in aid of Assistance Dogs Northern Ireland.

Autism Anchor Dogs transform lives


Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to meet the needs of both the child and parents. They provide a steadying influence for the child, many of whom have a tendency to run off if afraid in strange places.

The dog will be trained to prevent this. Autism  Assistance Dogs:

  • Improve levels of safety for children with autism.
  • Increase freedom for both the child and family outside the home.
  • Promote positive changes in behaviour
  • Address challenging behaviour
  • Reduce stress and reliance on medication.
  • Enhance the development of social skills, self- esteem and self-confidence.

While no autistic child is typical, the behaviours exhibited can lead to isolation, (lack of interaction with family, siblings, other people), mobility issues, sociability issues, lack of awareness of danger and limits. In these circumstances for the parents and family members, the general feeling and quality of life is one of high stress, lack of “normality” in social situations, (not being able to go shopping, restaurants, travel, leisure.)  There are real issues of safety with their children having a high tendency to bolt in open spaces.

Our Autism Assistance dogs brings independence not just for the child but for their parents.  The companionship, confidence and independence that an Autism Assistance Dog offers an autistic child empowers the child to participate in education, social and leisure activities, reduces the stress associated with interacting with other people and getting involved in social situations.

Autism Anchor Assistance Dogs

An Autism Anchor Assistance Dog gives the parent and child real independence, and provides a safer environment for the child so they feel more secure. Having unlimited access to public places with the Assistance Dog  enables the whole family to do simple things such as shopping, which may have been impossible before.

The dog wears a purple jacket and a special harness which connects the child and the Assistance Dog, the parent/guardian has full control of the Assistance Dog. The Assistance Dog  acts on instructions from the parent/guardian while the child is encouraged to walk alongside the dog. This offers greater independence to the child and the parent, whilst ensuring the child is safe and unable to ‘bolt’ if they become stressed or anxious.

‘Bolting’ behaviour is also combated by training the Assistance Dog to automatically sit/lie down should the child attempt to run off.

When placing Autism Anchor Dogs consideration has to be given in respect of the child’s age and build. For that reason there is an upper age limit is 10 years old.

A fully-trained Autism Anchor Dog can help change behaviour by:

  • Introducing routines.
  • Reducing bolting behaviour.
  • Interrupting repetitive behaviour.
  • Helping a child with autism cope with unfamiliar surroundings.

Don't just take our word for it

If Rebecca gets scared her instinct would be to try and run away from the situation, but she is attached to Honey from the backpack she wears, which anchors her to stop her running. Rebecca is now willing to talk to people because it is all about Honey. Rebecca is much more confident, she is happier and Honey has changed her life.

Michelle ( Rebecca’s Mother)

We have four types of Assistance dogs - Autism Assistance and Autism Companion Dogs, Disability Assistance Dogs and Therapy Dogs.

Click on an image below for more information.

Autism Companion Dogs

Assisting individuals to gain more independence.

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Disability Assistance Dogs

Learn how our dogs can help full-time wheelchair users.

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Therapy Dogs

Exceptional dogs bringing comfort and happiness to people.

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