Working with dogs

Autism at Kingwood is collaborating with animal assisted intervention charity Dogs for Good, to work a small number of autistic adults.

The project has helped people supported by Autism at Kingwood to achieve their goals in leading independent lives. By working together and sharing knowledge and expertise, the two charities have identified an innovative way, using Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) techniques, to help individuals overcome specific challenges and develop life skills.

Such challenges and life skills include reducing anxiety, confidence to go out, developing road safety, improving self-care, fear of dogs.  Individuals who are interested in participating in the project are referred because they are unable to complete as high a level of independence as they would like.

Sessions take place weekly, involving the person we support, the dog (usually Fleck!), the specialist handler and our support worker. We review progress regularly and evaluate outcomes for clients.

Kate Allen, our Chief Executive spoke to BBC Radio about the benefits of this important collaboration – click here to listen.

During lock-down physical sessions paused, but Fleck and Sarah have kept in touch with people we support online. Sarah and the support teams have also devised ways of continuing support, including social stories to explain why Fleck wasn’t visiting, a jigsaw puzzle made from a photo of Fleck, cards from Fleck and a birthday card for Fleck!  Autism at Kingwood and Dogs for Good have found ways to boost morale, as well as to continue maintain progress towards our beneficiaries’ wider goals.

Dogs for Good have shared a film made just a few weeks before lock-down, with the help of Mark. Click here to watch.

The project has been made possible through the continued support of The Kennel Club Charitable Trust.