Paws for thought at MK Snap

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The charity Dogs for the Disabled has announced the first ever PAWS workshops to take place in Buckinghamshire will be held in Milton Keynes and will start this September.

It is now urging parents of children with autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) from across the region to find out more about how a pet dog can help their child and whole family overcome the challenges of autism.

The first workshop will be on September 5 from 10am to 3pm at MK Snap, 20 Bourton Low, Walnut Tree.

Any parent will know that bed-time tantrums, refusal to eat meals, toilet training troubles and teeth cleaning tears, all feature in family life from time to time. However, if your child has autism their condition can mean that these sorts of challenges can take on an altogether more serious and demanding perspective.

Over a series of three one-day workshops PAWS, (Parents Autism Workshops and Support) provides parents of children with autism with an opportunity to explore the potential of training a pet dog to help their child’s development. PAWS also allows parents to network with other parents in similar situations. Through practical demonstrations, discussions, hands on learning and course handouts, the workshops provide information on choosing the right dog, welfare and care and training techniques

Whilst running these workshops, the charity, in conjunction with the National Autistic Society and the University of Lincoln, is conducting ground breaking research funded by the Big Lottery Fund to identify what it is exactly about dogs that has such a positive impact on children with ASCs. Corri Wait, PAWS Research Coordinator at Dogs for the Disabled comments: “We are very excited about this research. Research of this kind has never been done before and the preliminary findings are promising: initial results suggest that dogs do enhance the enjoyment and mobility of families with children with autism. If you’d like to take part and you’re a parent of a child with autism then please do get in touch.”

Katie Bristow-Wade, PAWS Project Team Leader further explains the benefits of PAWS: “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.”

Parents wishing to take part in the PAWS project must be able to attend all three workshops. To find out more and register visit: The Paws Website and click the ‘PAWS’ link. Alternatively call the PAWS team on 01295 759 836 or email: PAWS@dogsforthedisabled.org