Canines for Kids
We believe strongly that kids with disabilities deserve a fair shot at life. We also believe that if afforded the same opportunities as their able-bodied counterparts, they can perform just as well, if not better.
A group of three organizations fending for people living with disability believe in these same things; so much so that in 1998 NEADS, Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans came together to form Canines for Kids. The idea behind the formation of CDK was to give physically disabled children under 12 the gift of greater independence and the accompanying benefit of being able to better connect with society. How is this accomplished?
By providing them with trained canine companions. These are dogs specially trained to help individuals who are deaf or blind become more aware of their surroundings by alerting them to everyday sounds that they cannot hear and helping them to respond accordingly. When the microwave timer goes off, for instance, the dog will give its owner a signal to get their attention. Those who cannot walk can have their wheelchairs tugged along by a service dog and those with difficulty balancing can use them as a form of support.
Seeing how important these dogs are to people suffering from various conditions, institutions like Dogs for Deaf have been formed to train dogs to perform these specialized functions and avail them to those in need. However, up until fifteen years ago there was no one making sure that kids below 12 had access to dogs trained to suit their unique needs. This is where CDK comes in. They sponsor dogs through trainings that enable them to serve children suffering from autism and other disabilities both with and without the help of their parents. Using their nationwide reach, Canines for Kids works with several families to help them identify the right training organization for the individual needs of their children. To date, over 15,000 kids’ lives have been changed for the better thanks to CDK’s efforts. CDK has also taken it upon themselves to sensitize the public on the importance of assistance animals and how they can transform the lives of kids disabled by one condition or the other.