Autism Dogs CIC, a UK-wide assistance dog programme dedicated to assisting autistic people, is pleased to announce that it has achieved accreditation by Assistance Dogs International (ADI). ADI establishes and promotes standards of excellence in all areas of assistance dog acquisition, training, and partnership, and is the leading global authority in the Assistance Dogs industry.
Based in Congleton, Cheshire, Autism Dogs CIC offers an ‘Assistance Dog Programme’ for autistic children and adults in England, Wales, and Scotland, and is accredited by the National Autistic Society. Their life-changing programme trains dogs to match the specific needs of their future handler, with each dog completing an initial training programme of at up to one year. The programme includes ongoing education and therapeutic support for autistic people and their caregivers.
Amongst many other skills, the dogs can be trained to recognise and interrupt self-harm, regulate their handler ’s sensory input, reduce anxiety, and intervene during meltdowns. By helping their handler to develop their social skills and grow in confidence, the specialist dogs can help autistic people to have a better quality of life. To date, Autism Dogs CIC has trained 70 assistance dogs and helped to enrich the lives of 150individuals and families across the UK.
Founder and director of Autism Dogs CIC Caroline Preston said:
“The accreditation process with ADI is a significant undertaking with a 24-month assessment period, so it’s a huge achievement for the whole team. Our accreditation will help us to develop and grow our programme, so we can help to positively impact the lives of many more autistic children and adults across the UK.”
Once accredited, the assistance dog programme becomes a member of ADI. Member programmes must complete a reaccreditation every five years to comply with ADI’s Standards of Practice. ADI accreditation is a peer-review process conducted by a trained ADI assessor over a period of 2-4 days. Currently there are 136 ADI accredited service dog programs in the world.
About Autism Dogs CIC
Founded in 2016, Autism Dogs CIC is a charitable not-for-profit company based on a family farm in Congleton, Cheshire. The company employs a team of 23 amazing people who are all dedicated to improving the lives of autistic people through the love and support of highly trained autism assistance dogs.
In September 2020, Autism Dogs CIC’s Assistance Dog Programme was the first programme of its type to be awarded Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for autistic people. It was awarded ADI accreditation in July 2021.
Autism Dogs CIC’s programmes have no upper age limit and are available to children and adults who are formally diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum condition. For more information, visit www.autismdogs.co.uk
About Assistance Dogs International
Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a worldwide coalition of non-profit organizations that raise, train and place assistance dogs. The objectives of Assistance Dogs International are to:
- Establish and promote standards of excellence in all areas of assistance dog acquisition, training and partnership
- Facilitate communication and learning among member programs
- Educate the public to the benefits of Assistance Dogs and ADI membership.
For more information, visit www.assistancedogsinternational.org