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Ceremony marks graduation of first batch of autism assistance dogs

Shanghai Daily

25th December 2023

Ceremony marks graduation of first batch of autism assistance dogs

By Ke Jiayun


The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center hosted a unique graduation ceremony for China's first group of autistic support canines over the weekend.

Autism was first identified in China in 1981. According to data, the country today has approximately 10 million autistic patients, 3 million of whom are children. There is yet to be a substantial breakthrough in the medical and social domains associated with autism.

Autism assistance dogs, according to Assistance Dog International (ADI), can support autistic children aged 0–14.

In 2021, Erxing Shanghai Guide Dog School became the first in China to train autistic assistance dogs.

Guide dogs are more familiar in China than autism-aiding dogs. People find it hard to comprehend how dogs can help autistic youngsters. The idea is to help kids interact with the outside world by letting them play with dogs.

"Autistic children commonly experience social, language, communication, emotional, and behavioral issues," said Li Jian, Shanghai Purple Leaf Plum Children's Brain Development Center rehabilitation technical director. "These trained dogs can help kids build relationships."

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