Dogs for the Disabled support from APBC members with PAWS

PAWS Parents Autism Workshops and Support APBC

APBC members supporting PAWS at Dogs for the Disabled!

Stephanie Hedges, Justyna Ratczak, Ingrid Haskal, Tara Bates and Rebecca Heyworth spent a successful day learning about the unique new project by Dogs for the Disabled with Katie Bristow-Wade and Amy Davies (and of course India the dog!)

Observing the array of benefits that a pet dog can have on a child with autism - whether calming an anxious child, building self-confidence, or assisting with the development of life skills - the PAWS service, helps parents/carers of children affected by autism, learn how to source, care for and train a wide range of dog breeds and ages for such a role.

Parents attend a series of three, one day workshops covering a variety of topics; from gaining ideas as to how the dog can help such families, to selecting the right age and breed of dog, suitable training methods, socialisation, safe child-dog interactions, and so much more.

Katie Bristow-Wade, the PAWS course leader, has been developing the project since its conception back in 2010. With over 280 parents now enrolled on the service throughout the UK, Katie is at the stage of ensuring successful ongoing aftercare to support parents for the future.

This is where Stephanie, Justyna, Ingrid, Tara and Rebecca come in! Coming along to the centre at Dogs for the Disabled, the group learnt in great detail as to how pet dogs can assist families affected by autism, the advice that the PAWS team offer these families, details of the PAWS research project alongside Lincoln University, and so much more! A parent who has experienced the PAWS service benefitting his family also came along to speak, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room as he gave the group a great insight into his experiences.

As a result the PAWS team have a great start into building a team of experts across England, providing aftercare support alongside the team. Thank you to all those that have made the day so successful!

If you would like to learn more about the PAWS service, or get involved in supporting the team yourself, please do get in contactkatie [dot] bristow-wade [at] dogsforthedisabled [dot] org or visit – we will be looking to take on new recruits towards the end of this year.


Katie Bristow-Wade, provisional member of the APBC

PAWS Project Team Leader