Frequently Asked Questions about ASDA
For frequently-asked questions about puppy raising, please look under the For Volunteers section of this website.
Please click on each question to reveal the answer.
No. At this time, ASDA service dogs are specifically trained to assist individuals on the autism spectrum.Our team is made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds with unique experience and skills. For more information, please see “About Us, Our Trainers.”On average, twelve to eighteen months. Factors include the number of available dogs, how quickly an applicant completes the process and raises funds, and when the best match is made.ASDA does not place service dogs with children under the age of five. We recommend that applications be made early for families with children under the age of five.ASDA expects to receive $13,500 as a donation towards our general operating expenses. This money can be raised through family, friends, grants, and community organizations. Once the family’s contribution is received, your name will be placed in line for the next available and appropriate service dog.The average expense in breeding, socializing, raising, training and placing a service dog is over $20,000. Although ASDA receives contributions from the public, does fundraising, and receives grants, in order to operate we also require donations towards the care and training of our service dogs.
ASDA provides our families with:
- A well-bred, trained and socialized ADA compliant autism service dog
- One week of individual training for the primary caregiver(s) with ASDA staff in Portland, Oregon
- One week of individualized home and community based training, and in-school placement training, at the recipient’s homeOur initial application process provides ASDA with the documents and information we need to make a selection. Once approved, we gather more information through telephone interview. Throughout the placement process, ASDA staff continue to be in contact with our families through phone conversations and e-mail communications.Yes. Our service dogs create multiple bonds throughout their training, which translate to their recipient child and family when they are placed. It is not necessary for a service dog to be a puppy for your child to bond with it.While other agencies have either off-site training (at the agency headquarters), or on-site training (in home), ASDA does both. We require the primary caregiver to train with us at ASDA headquarters so that they can learn to handle their service dog, become an ADA certified handler, and begin initial bonding. Phase two takes place with our trainer, but in the environment that the dog will actually live and work in. Both phases are essential for long-term success.No, the placement specialist stays in a nearby hotel. Please note that ASDA trainer’s travel costs must be covered separately from the donation request.We prefer that only the principal caregiver join us at our headquarters in Oregon. This person will establish the initial bond and working relationship with the service dog. The rest of the family will be trained in phase two, on site in their own home. For more information, see the training section under For Families.Unfortunately, pets have an established role within the family and a transition to service dog status is often unsuccessful. In addition, many breeds do not have the interest or aptitude to be a service dog. ASDA dogs must possess a particular temperament, intelligence, health, age and weight, and are raised from puppy-hood in our extensive training program for their important job.This is something that is evaluated on an individual basis. While our dogs are well socialized to accept other animals, your pets might not accept a new canine member into the family. We recommend that you evaluate your pets’ ability to accept and tolerate a new canine household member. If you are thinking of adding a pet after you receive an ASDA service dog, remember that additional pets require time and effort.Yes. By federal law (Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA) a service dog is allowed access to any environment your child with autism is allowed access: schools, parks, doctor’s offices, restaurants, beaches, movie theaters, etc. And while the service dog may go out on occasion without the child, the child does not go anywhere without his or her service dog. Time together solidifies the relationship, keeps skills sharp, and helps the child grow in life skills—time together is not only permissible, but necessary.Yes. Again, under the ADA law, there are no exceptions to where a service dog is allowed.Yes. ASDA has open communication with all recipient families. Most situations can be handled by phone or email communication.Yes, but advanced or specialized training usually requires on-site training by a representative of ASDA. Costs vary.