This Chilean Organization Is Helping Kids With Autism At The Dentist Using Service Dogs
Junto a Ti (Next to You) began when a man noticed how much his child with autism was calmed by their family dog. Now that dog and five others are helping kids with autism on their trips to the dentist. Find out more here!
When Raul Varela noticed how much his autistic child calmed down when they interacted with their family dog, Zucca, he realized he wanted to train more dogs to help other autistic kids. So, after quitting his job and becoming a certified therapy dog-trainer, he started Junto a Ti (Next to You), an organization that takes therapy dogs into dentists' appointments for children with autism.
The dogs have to be even more specifically trained to help autistic kids at the dentist's office. Even Zucca needed more specialized training before she was able to help at the dentist's.
Zucca had already been trained to be around children with autism, but taking her to the dentist was different. She needed to be able to resist the screaming, the noise from the drill and to stay still in the lap of the children.
Now, the dogs of Junto a Ti have helped more than 50 autistic children remain calm during visits to the dentist's office. What do you think? Would a dog help you with your dentist's appointment or make you more nervous about germs? Talk to us about it in the comments below, and share with your friends to see what they think!