Skip Navigation

PAWS Program

*Please note completion of these workshops are a prerequisite before we can accept an application for an Autism Service Dog.

  PAWS (Parents APAWS Logoutism Workshops and Support)   
  brings together parents of children with autism, to
  share experiences and explore the potential that a
  pet dog might have within the family. The program
  has been running successfully in the UK and the
  Netherlands for the past two years.

 The special chemistry shown between a child and 
 a dog through Assistance Dogs Australia’s work    providing Assistance Dogs for families with a child with autism, has led us to realise that whilst for some children there will be a clear need for a fully trained assistance dog, a well-trained family pet dog can also have a massively beneficial impact.


Our workshops cover the important pros and cons to be considered when thinking of applying for a dog to help your child and your family.

The workshops are designed to provide parents with the information and long-term support for sourcing, choosing, handling and training a dog specifically to benefit a child with autism and the family as a whole.


Due to the structure of the workshops, they are not suitable for children and privately owned pet dogs to attend, unless otherwise advised. 

The workshops cover:

  • Questions you might have about owning a pet dog
  • How dogs can help a child with autism
  • Selecting the right dog to live with a child with autism
  • Options for finding a suitable pet dog
  • Things to think about when training a dog
  • Selecting an appropriate training club/trainer
  • Dog welfare and equipment needs


Thank you for your interest in the PAWS workshop series. Due to an overwhelming response, all 2018 workshop places have now been filled.

We are not currently accepting applications but will advise when we are in a position to take on new applicants.


Application criteria

  • These workshops are open to parents of children and young adults with a clinical diagnosis of autism.
  • Workshops run from 9am-3pm.
  • Parents are welcome whether they already have a pet dog or not.
  • For the 2018 series, the cost will be $75 for the first parent and $35 for the second parent/carer in the same family for the three workshops. This covers resource packs and light refreshments.

Long-term support available

Following the workshops, the PAWS team will offer ongoing support to families, through a variety of media, from telephone support to an online forum and family support network.


PAWS is sponsored by our Foundation Sponsor

RSI Trust Logo

Australian Charity Awards