Autism Assistance Dogs

An Autism Assistance Dog (AAD) can help to improve the quality of life for an autistic child and their family by improving social participation, inclusion, connectedness, independence and safe community access.

An AAD is trained to assist with behaviour management and can help calm the child, reduce sensory overload and interrupt behavior patterns.

The dog provides constant and consistent support wherever the child goes. Some of the benefits reported by families include:

  • Increased outings with the entire family
  • Easier transitions between settings
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Improved social interactions
  • Increased independence
  • Improved quality and quantity of sleep. 
Apply for an AAD

For more information, please contact our Guide Dog Services Department:

Phone: (03) 6232 1222


black dog wearing orange autism assistance dog coat


  • An Autism Assistance Dog has the same public access rights as a Guide Dog

Eligibility includes

  • Aged between 3 and 8 years old
  • A confirmed diagnosis of autism
  • A severe deficit in verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • A severe impairment in functioning
  • Limited to nil social interaction ability
  • Severely repetitive behaviours
  • Severe and frequent absconding tendencies

Dog selection process

  • Successfully completed six months of formal training as an Autism Assistance Dog

Matching process

  • The temperament of dog suits the role
  • Opportunities for dog to engage in play and rest periods
  • Suitability of dog to the family unit
  • Ability of the parent/guardian to apply training techniques

“Autistic children are very isolated from their peers, but a dog can help a lot with that. Having a four-legged best friend by their side can keep them calm and often boost their confidence.”

Kim, Program Manager, Guide Dogs Tasmania

Apply for an Autism Assistance Dog