Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability. Freedom Service Dogs provides custom-trained service dogs for autism assist, mobility assist, and PTSD assist for veterans.
PTSD Assist for Veterans
Our custom-trained service dogs can assist veterans with mobility challenges or traumatic brain injury and help them cope with the symptoms of PTSD by waking them from nightmares, interrupting flashbacks, creating space around them in public places to relieve anxiety, and more.
Veterans and servicemembers are matched with highly specialized service dogs that help them find a new level of independence in their post-combat life.
Many military personnel and veterans face challenges like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, immobility, and inactivity, sometimes resulting in destructive consequences, including homelessness, crime, drugs, alcohol, and even suicide.
FSD works alongside local VA medical centers, community groups, and on-base transition battalions to combat these challenges using custom-trained service dogs that give veterans independence and confidence in civilian life. Our service dogs can help veterans with a multitude of everyday tasks, like picking up dropped items and assisting with mobility, as well as mental and emotional support.
We provide custom-trained service dogs to individuals with mobility challenges resulting from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and traumatic brain injury.
Our service dogs bring greater independence and confidence to our clients with disabilities by helping them perform daily living tasks. Depending on the unique needs of each client, our dogs can be custom trained to perform as many as 65 tasks, including opening and closing doors and drawers, turning lights on and off, retrieving phones, keys, and other items, pushing emergency buttons, and much more. While our dogs can support clients by helping with tasks that require strength and endurance, we cannot serve clients who need brace and balance support.
Mobility clients must commit to attending a two-week placement class at FSD’s training facility in Englewood, Colorado, where they learn to bond with their service dog and work together. Clients must also be prepared and physically able to provide basic care to their service dog, including regular feeding, exercise, and potty breaks, and to reinforce the training that their service dog has received.
We provide specially trained service dogs to families who have children age 5 and up on the autism spectrum or with other neurocognitive disabilities through the Disco’s Dogs training program. Our dogs can help relieve emotional outbursts by redirecting the child’s attention, interrupt repetitive behaviors, improve social skills, increase self-confidence, and more.
This innovative program for children age 5 and older employs a unique model in which the dogs are trained alongside their new family and other program participants for 6 weeks.
Ways a service dog can help children with autism and other neurocognitive disabilities:
- Provide a sense of security through a consistent physical presence
- Reduce emotional outbursts by redirecting children’s attention
- Nudge children during repetitive or stimming behaviors to interrupt the behavior
- Improve social skills by creating a link between children and the community
- Boost communication skills and improve behavior
- Encourage children to try everyday activities they might otherwise avoid
- Increase focus on homework, projects, and social tasks
- Enhance speech production, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills.
- Child must be 5 years of age or older at the time of application
- Child must be on the autism spectrum or be diagnosed with another developmental disability
- A caregiver must be willing to be the service dog’s third-party handler
- Third-party handler must be willing to attend all scheduled classes (hybrid with Zoom one weeknight and onsite training on Sundays every week for 6 weeks)
- Applicant must supply documentation from the child’s doctor/therapist, etc. that identifies the need for a service dog.