Pawsitive Self-Regulation and Emotional Control: A Guide for Implementing Therapy Dogs to Help Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Self-Regulation and Emotional Control

With the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) increasing at an alarming rate, educators and services providers are in need of a variety of different strategies to help support self- regulation and emotional control for students with autism spectrum disorder. Although not a defining characteristic of ASD, individuals with ASD often have sensory processing impairments including self-regulation and emotional control. When individuals have sensory impairments, sensory input is not integrated correctly in the brain and may cause varying degrees of problems in development, information processing, emotions and behavior. Too often, students with ASD are considered the “bad kid” or the “loud kid” due to their behavior, when in reality they want to do well, but lack the necessary skills to support them. The purpose of this project is to provide educators and service providers with effective strategies to help support students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with self-regulation and emotional control with the use of a therapy dog. Keywords: Animal Assisted Therapy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Self-Regulation, Emotional Regulation, and Executive Functioning