ASPERGER'S SYNDROME: Asperger's syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. It is milder than autism but shares some of its symptoms. An obsessive interest in a single subject is a major symptom of Asperger's. For instance, some children with Asperger's have become experts on dinosaurs, makes and models of cars, or even objects like vacuum cleaners. Children with Asperger's have trouble reading social cues and recognizing other people's feelings. They may also exhibit strange movements and mannerisms.
A HELPING HAND FROM MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Now, children with autism spectrum disorders have new help, and it comes in the form of a furry friend! Organizations like 4 Paws for Ability match dogs with autistic children. So far, the organization has placed more than 100 autism service dogs. To qualify, children must have a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act that can be mitigated by a dog, be able to financially care for the dog and guarantee the animal's safety in their home.
Training the dogs can take up to eight months. The dogs are trained to tether and track a missing child and help children self-regulate their emotions. If a child tries to run away, the dog braces himself so the child cannot get far. The cost depends on what the dog is trained to do, but can range from $13,000 to $26,000.
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