Service Dogs for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients frequently expereince loss of feeling/dexterity, difficulty walking, vision impairments, coordination and fluidity of movement as well as mental/emotional symptoms. We have had success integrating service dogs into the lives and therapies of TBI patients. Our dogs can assist with balance, retrieving dropped items that can't be seen or physically grasped, and prevent injuiries related to poor coordination/fluidity of movement or vision loss. In most of our clients with TBI, the dog is involved in rehabilitation therapies. For example, occupational therapists have used SIT Service Dogs to practice dressing habits, grasp, and targeting. Another important role service dogs play in the lives of patients with TBI is as a motivating and bonded companion. TBI is often concommitant with depression and feelings of isolation. A service can give his human partner the initiative needed to freely intereract with others and connect with community. The involvement of the dog provides a positive motivator, alternative focus (e.g redirection during uncomfortable stretching), and empowerment while physically assisting with daily tasks essential for independence.
If you or a loved one has experienced a TBI or other neurological disorder, and as a consequence experiences mobility issues, please check out the Mobility Assistance Dogs section for additional information. Many of the service dogs we have placed have a range of functions, serving clients with multiple diagnoses.
Service Dogs for other neurological conditions
We also serve clients with neurological disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing disorders, and/or PTSD. Comparative to TBI patients, self-isolation, difficulty transitioning, a lack of connection to peers or community, and depression can accompany neurological disorders affecting a client's ability to communicate and/or experience the world similar to others. to appropriately mitigate neurological conditions such as autism spectrum disorders, service dogs can interrupt self-harming behaviors, alert to night awakenings, and prevent elopment behaviors. The bond plays an important social role in these types of service dogs- allowing their human partners to safely enjoy the world while increasing quality of life.