Alencon. Activity dogs to arouse autistic children

Marine Marie and Rodeo, dog activity, full exercise. © L’orne Hebdo

Rodeo is almost two years old. Its calm and peaceful air Golden retriever hides a sensitive and playful part. If now he is trained Handi’dog center in Alençon (Orne), he will soon meet his new master. And not just anything. It will happen an autistic childaged 5 to 16 years.

arousing the dogs

Rodéo, like more than 350 other hairballs passed by Handi’chiens, is a dog waking up.

These animals have the particularity of being “very comfortable with children, both dynamic, suggestive of activities, but also composed and calm”, explained Marine Marie, trainer who manages the awakening of dogs. Important point for people with autism: “They know when the child is there or if he or she is in crisis, and know how to give him or her space and then get back to him or her in a timely manner”.

Rodeo is a dog suitable for working with people with many disabilities.
Rodeo is a dog that is able to work with people with many disabilities. © L’Orne Hebdo

but “He’s not a witch dog” warns the teacher. “Parents need to explain that when a dog feels a tense flow of emotionsit satisfies ”.

Except for your foam

The presence of the dog helps the child “get rid of your bubbles”, explains Marine Marie. But it will also improve motor skills, good motor skills, communication.

“The child reproduces what he sees. The simple act of taking something and giving it away can be complicated. This is made possible by imitation. ” Just like cleanliness, “by observing the dog washing or in need, a child who is not yet clean, can be like that”.

He can too motor skill development “because the kid wants to grab his dog’s leash”.

Videos: now available on Actu

One of the main expectations iscomfort the child. “He’s less anxious and more able to work,” the dog trainer explained. This presence contributes to its reduction sleep problems.

inspiring to speak

“The child is learning communicate with others learning to communicate with his dog. Both operate around the world in the same way: “They reproduce what they teach, they don’t understand to the second degree …”.

The dog acts like an autistic child.

Marine Marie, teacher

The presence of the dog can motivate the child at the level of speech : learning to master commands and therefore new words, through repetition. A deaf child can also language developmentimitating the parents when they called the dog.

The teacher says: “On the day of the dog-giving ceremony, a girl, moving, shouted:” Mom! “. This is the first time this mother has heard her son’s voice. The child may” show up. signs of mildness “for the first time.

Strengthen the straps

Thanks for his “service dog” cape, upgraded the childin public space.

Each help dog has a cape, which indicates that it is working.
Each help dog has a cape, which indicates that it is working. © L’orne Hebdo

“People are no longer judgmental when they see the child behaving strangely or screaming, they understand,” Marine Marie confirmed. The child will gain confidence, because he will always repeat the same language when strangers ask him about his dog.

But the beast is also allowed ” create a linkif only within the family ”.

He explained that in a family where a boy was “ashamed” of his crippled brother, the fact of walking with this dog was attract a positive appearance makes it possible to restore the bonds of the brethren.

It’s a child’s dog, but most of all, a family project.

Marine Marie, teacher

Thanks to this dog, the parents allowed themselves walking outside “without feeling guilty about making time for them”.

In search of osmosis

To benefit from a training dog, families whose children are followed for autism spectrum disorders,must send a file to the center national handi’dogsto be evaluated by a commission. Expect a two or three year wait.

The selection criteria are primarily based on available to parents, plans and goals . “The dog has to help the child grow,it is not a companion dog Marine Marie recalled.

“We’re also looking for an osmosis between the two”, explained one who met twice with parents and children, before handing them the animal. “We observed how the child behaved, while knowing that an autistic child had his or her own rituals and behaviors, and that this new encounter could disturb him or her”.

Marine Denis has been an instructor at the handi’chiens center since 2009.
Marine Denis has been a teacher at the handi’chiens center since 2009. © L’orne Hebdo

In the middle, a window without tint allows the teacher and parents to observe and analyze the child’s behavior, left “alone” with the dog, “if his or her disability is not severe”.

If the family file is validated, the latter will benefit one week accommodation in the special unit dedicated to the training of dogs, at the Handi’chiens center in Alençon, on the occasion of a ” compulsory assignment internship “.

In this center, four bedrooms will be available to accommodate families, but also a waking room, a kitchen … “It allows the child to familiarize himself with his surroundings”, says Marine Marie.

In 2021,seven dogs awakegiven to children with autism. Hundreds of applications are still waiting.

Disabled dogs are looking for foster families

Searched by the associationhost familiesin the Alençon sector, to accommodate future dog assistance.

The Handi’chiens association educates and provides assistance dogs free of charge to help and accompany children and adults with disabilities. Since its creation in 1989, nearly 2,300 dogs have been donated.

The education will last for two years.The puppy (Labrador or Golden Retriever) stays for 16 months with his host family, volunteers, who take care of his socialization, his socialization, and his education, following the course every 15 days.

He then continued his journey for six months to one of the four Handi’chiens training centers, where he was cared for by canine educators to perfect his education.

If each dog is provided free of charge, it represents an amount of € 15,000 for the association.

Contact: Handi’chiens on 02 33 29 51 26 or by email:

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