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

Autism Companion Dogs Overview


The Autism Assistance Dogs Programme for Families of Children with Autism is designed to provide quality of life improvements to the Autistic child and their family. The intervention is based on the principle of providing a fully trained dog to the parents and the autistic child.

Once a dog has been matched with a child ADNI provide training and support to the parent(s) to ensure that the dog works to the maximum of its abilities. Due to funding restrictions the cut off age is 11 years old, as it takes 12-14 months to train the Assistance Dog. The programme offers Autism Anchor Dogs and Autism Companion Dogs.

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, restaurant, 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.  Parents have spoken of how the trained Autism Assistance Dog has moderated their child’s behaviours which has left them feeling less isolated in social settings. Families report being able to participate in the ‘normal’ activities that families do.

Assistance Dogs  are provided free to our families however there will be some initial costs involved such as the purchase of a dog crate. Click Here . However the recipient’s are requested to participate in fundraising and other appropriate functions for the Charity as we receive no government funding and it costs the Charity £5,000 to train each Assistance Dog.

The Charity offers families two means of obtaining an Autism Assistance Dog.

  • Placement of a fully trained Autism  Assistance Dog
  • An Assistance Dog through the Family Member Fostering Programme

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 Anchor Dogs

Helping a child remain safe, calm and focused in busy places.

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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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