A NEW set of PAWS workshops, devised by charity Dogs for the Disabled, with the aim of helping parents with a child with autism will take place in Kenilworth this month.
The PAWS project (Parents Autism Workshops and Support) was set up by Dogs for the Disabled in 2010 and since then has helped more than 200 families affected by the autism spectrum condition.
The first of three workshops will take place at the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in Honiley, on Tuesday January 17 from 10am to 3pm.
The workshops provide parents and carers’ of children with autism, with information and advice on suitable pet dogs to help manage the challenges presented as a result of the condition.
Parents who attend the workshops will also be taught how to use positive dog training techniques which can help a dog to engage with the whole family, and will be given online support through forums and advice.
Katie Bristow-Wade, course leader for PAWS, said: “Our service is ground-breaking, but we believe it will bring a wealth of new opportunities and benefits to families who face huge challenges on a daily basis.
“We urge any family with a child affected by autism who either already has a pet dog, or is considering bringing a dog into the family, to come along to the workshops and find out more.
“With the right support, ordinary pet dogs have the potential to transform the lives of families affected by autism.
“PAWS workshops identify ways a pet dog can be trained to ease the strain of bringing up a child with autism.”
The charity believes a dog can cheer up a distraught child by putting its head on their lap, and can help a child learn about cleaning their own teeth and develop good meal-time routines.
Karen Davies, the mother of 11-year-old Shannon, said; “Since attending the PAWS workshops in Kenilworth, Shannon has made excellent progress.
“Through training Treacle in the way demonstrated by the great team at Dogs for the Disabled we have managed to reduce the affects of the challenges facing Shannon as a result of her Aspergers Syndrome.
“As a parent of a child with an ASC, I would urge anyone in a similar situation to consider PAWS as a helpful step to controlling the effects of their child’s condition.”
To find out more or to register for the course call the PAWS team on 01295 759 836 or email PAWS@dogsforthedisabled.org.