Therapy dogs have been assisting the handicapped and disabled for decades, but recently there has been a rise in the canines providing comfort to children diagnosed with autism.
However, as NJ.com
reports, there are questions about whether therapy dogs are appropriate for all children with the disorder, as they can have a very wide range of effects.
Janice Wolfe is the trainer and handler of Wyatt, a 100-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback that serves as a test dog for autistic children who are looking to be placed with a therapy animal.
"Almost from the moment he was born, Wyatt seemed to have a unique affinity for disabled children, particularly those with autism," she told the news source. "Some dogs are good with active kids - others with withdrawn kids."
Several autism and service-dog organizations caution parents to do research into hire a trainer before selecting a dog. A proper trainer should offer follow-up training and support to families who get a therapy dog. will be able to support families as they welcome a therapy animal into their home.