PAWS (Parents Autism 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.

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


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

Due to limited resources, we can only run workshops in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. If you are located in a rural area of one of these states or another state, we may be able to run workshops in your area. We require a minimum of 10-15 interested families before a workshop can be organised, if you feel you can organise this number of people, please contact us.


Please be advised that all PAWS workshop series for 2018 have been filled and conducted. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to provide any further workshops in NSW, WA, Queensland or Victoria in 2018.

Due to the overwhelming amount of interest and immense success rate, PAWS will be closed until June 2019. Applications will not be accepted or processed until that time. We thank you for your continued interest and support in our PAWS program.

We would like to encourage any families interested in attending a workshop series being held in South Australia in 2018to contact us for further details.

For more information, please call 1800 688 364 or email us.

Each Assistance Dog costs over $35,000 to train

This includes everything from purchasing a puppy to food, vaccinations, training and placement. Assistance Dogs are provided free of charge to people in need.

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