Autism service dogs, robot playmates, more

A recent ruling has made it possible for an Illinois student with autism to attend school with his service dog. Illinois state law allows children to attend school with service animals that help them complete “beneficial tasks.”

Photo of service dog sculpture in Brooklyn courtesy of Empress M (flickr.com)

Photo of service dog sculpture in Brooklyn courtesy of Empress M (flickr.com)

For more information about autism service dogs, here’s an organization that trains and provides dogs.

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Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville have engineered a robot-playmate that can monitor an autistic child’s levels of interest, boredom, stress and engagement during an activity.

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A Canadian woman has been charged in the death of a 12-year-old boy with autism. A neighbor of the boy, the woman, 42, is said to experience dramatic mood swings brought on by a bipolar disorder.

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A program at U.C.L.A. is being described as a social skills boot camp for ASD teens, teaching them the basic rules of social etiquette and how to make friends. Known as PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills), the 12-week course is aimed at high-functioning kids who may be at risk for isolation and bullying. The results are encouraging. Parents whose kids completed the course reported more peer interaction and significantly improved quality of friendship.

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