Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI) has been providing communities with its autism assistance programme for over a decade. Highly skilled dogs are trained to facilitate a more independent and socially inclusive life for autistic children and their family. And to keep them safe. Right now, however, 35 families are stuck in limbo. A tough fundraising climate means the programme to train these specialised dogs is at risk of being curtailed. This threatens so many children’s wellbeing.
Every year, AADI gets almost 1,000 requests from families in desperate need of these brilliant dogs. After 12 months of training, each dog has basic skills suited for less complex needs. But once in advanced training, the dogs require another six months to learn additional skills of safeguarding and support. In 2022, AADI only has the capacity to help 35 families. Vital funding for autism assistance dog training has been knocked by unfolding world events. To ensure these parents and children get the assistance dogs they so badly need, AADI must raise an additional €100,000 by year end. Otherwise, the dog training programme may be greatly reduced.
CARE AND SUPPORT
For many autistic children and their families, assistance dogs make a world of a difference. They affect whether a child can leave their house or not. The fully trained dogs are active agents in opening up family life to opportunity, function and fun.
Meet the O’Learys. Watch how Lynn, one of the assistance dogs, transformed the lives of Mikey, his sister Heather and his parents.
*The O’Leary family is available for interview.
CALL FOR ACTION
Supporters, families and corporates can donate, fundraise or crowdsource to help AADI reach its target of an additional €100,000. Check out www.aadi.ie