The prevalence of children with developmental disabilities (DDs) is 1:6 in the United States (Boyle et al., 2011; National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, 2013). Service dogs work with children who need a medical alert or response; have difficulties with major life activities, including social skills, communication, attention and learning; experience movement or mobility issues; and/or demonstrate anxiety or undesirable behaviors (Assistance Dogs International, 2014). Research cites many beneficial outcomes of service dog partnerships, such as improved mood and reduced anxiety (Davis, Nattrass, OBrien, Patronek, & MacCollin, 2004; Smyth & Slevin, 2010; Viau et al., 2010), increased social interaction and acknowledgement in the community (Davis et al., 2004; Mader, Hart & Bergin, 1989; Smyth & Slevin, 2010) and reduced parental stress (Smyth & Slevin, 2010; Viau et al., 2010). Burrows, Adams, and Spiers (2008) qualitative study found all of the above outcomes.'
Woolf, Jennifer; Rachel Gillespie; Terry Crowe; and Jean C. Dietz. "Effects of Partnerships Between Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities and Service Dogs." (2014). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ot/6