Family Wants Service Dog For Child With Autism

servicedog.jpgCinder, a service dog from the Assistance Dog Network of Bandon, Oregon, recently gave seven-year-old Chandler Cleveland-Cooke a taste of freedom. Holding the dog’s harness, the youngster, diagnosed at three-years-old with autism spectrum disorder, browsed through a local department store without having to hold his mother’s hand.

Chandler is hypersensitive to external stimuli and has limited coping skills. Too many people and sudden noises can send the boy into a tailspin. When overstressed, he is unable to recognize dangerous situations such as speeding traffic or high places.

His family employs a number of strategies to help Chandler navigate his world as calmly and safely as possible. He has a weighted blanket — the heaviness of it is comforting when noises, lights and crowds raise his stress level. If the family is going to run many errands around town, Chandler wears a wet suit and is calmed by its snugness.

Corvallis pediatrician Dr. Patrick Allender has recommended a service dog for Chandler. “The autistic service dog can help an autistic child when they become excited, when they become impulsive,” he wrote in a letter to Chandler’s parents. “It keeps them in line in terms of their overall behaviors. They can exert a very calming influence on a child who is otherwise very excitable.”

Matching service dogs to autistic children is relatively new, but numerous agencies across the country are providing these dogs to children and adults who need them. Dog trainer Rox Ann Kight of the Assistance Dogs Network believes Cinder is a good match for Chandler. The yellow Lab/golden retriever mix loves kids and, after spending just a few hours with the boy, is already focusing keenly on Chandler, she said.

Chandler’s parents are raising money to purchase Cinder to enhance the life of their youngest son and the whole family. Cinder will cost $5,000.

Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times

5 Responses to “Family Wants Service Dog For Child With Autism”

  1. Katie says:

    I believe I read recently of an autistic child who was helped by a rescued golden turned service dog. It was amazing to read of the changes in the childs behavior and ability to lead a “normal life”.

    Thanks Itchmo for the great story. Whether it be a kitten, a dog, a parket, a horse; these animals have a way of healing.


  2. kristi polk says:

    My name is Kristi Polk i am looking for a dog for my autistic child he has meltdowns and is scared to out in public please if anybody can help me contact me at

  3. beverly meredith says:

    Hello my name is Beverly I am looking for a service dog for my autistic grandson Alex is 4 yrs old he has a severe speech problem and doesn’t like crowds he is a very emotional but very loving child he also is very sensitive to sounds and has several meltdowns throughout the day not only does this take a toll on Alex but also the mother and other family who cares for Alex he sees the world differently than a normal child without a disability If anyone can please help us find my grandson a service dog our family would be forever grateful all the web sites we have looked at require a 5000 dollar donation we are willing to help raise the money for alex could anyone please please help with donations and ideas for fund raisers for my grandson alex donations can be sent in alex’s name to 2708 Mcfarland st Kennett mo 63857 my email is

  4. Rick says:

    People, these are kids with autism not autistic kids.

  5. Candi Cleveland-Cooke says:

    I’m Candi, Chandler’s mom from the article above. If any of you have any questions please contact me by email.
    I’d be happy to talk to any of you to tell you things are going.

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