Service Dogs for Kids with Learning Differences

Service dogs provide another level of accessibility and independence to many individuals with disabilities. With these great benefits in mind, I decided to take a look into what service animals could do for children with Learning Differences.

I wanted to share with you some first-hand experiences from youth with Learning Differences, so I did what any Millennial would do and went to Youtube. In the series of videos below, you’ll see how service dogs can help children with Learning Differences – autism and Asperger’s, panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Service dogs are capable of helping kids and teens make great strides in social situations, in self-soothing, in alleviating adverse symptoms – these stories are living proof of those strides.

Nathan and Sylvia (a story of an autism service dog and her boy)

Service dogs have been found to be fairly awesome for reducing stress levels and encouraging social behavior for children with autism. Nathan was no exception. Nathan and Sylvia worked together to improve Nathan’s social skills and confidence, despite the school board in Nathan’s district working hard to deny them access to regular services, like riding the bus.



Arianna has a service dog for her panic disorder and found that having Levi helped her symptoms diminish and helped her finish high school! Arianna also gives tips and tricks for traveling with a service dog and explaining the service dog to others.


PTSD Psychiatric Service Dog: Trained Tasks Demonstration - Adrienne and Kayenne 

Adrienne's service dog Kayenne is a rescue dog who has undergone training from both a professional trainer and her owner, Adrienne. Adrienne has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder- she and Kayenne demonstrate some of the ways a psychiatric service dog can help someone with PTSD to interrupt self-harm and to remember to be in the moment.

We often think of service dogs as guide dogs, who are trained to help blind or visually impaired owners maneuver around obstacles. Psychiatric service dogs help their owners maneuver through the world in much the same way – by calming them, grounding them, encouraging them to participate with others, and fostering a strong sense of confidence and independence. I can only hope that the stories like Nathan’s, of being denied access to services at school, will grow fewer as awareness of these dogs’ incredible worth grows. Service dogs have a lot to offer children with Learning Differences!

Further Reading

Considering a Therapy or Service Assistance Dog for Your Special Needs Child? Pros and Cons

Merlin’s Kids Provides Free Service Dogs for Families

Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric Disabilities

Paws with a Cause – Dogs for Autism