Australian-first trial into how dogs can help autistic children

Autistic teenager Kosta Bardas went from chaotic to calm and then completely besotted when he laid eyes on black Labrador Asta.

Having grown stronger than his mum, it had become increasingly difficult to stop the 16-year-old biting, pinching, spitting, elbowing, scratching or running off. But a session with assistance dog Asta has an immediate impact.

“It’s such a relief to see Kosta get down to Asta’s level with a big smile on his face, relax and focused,” mum Despina Bardas said.

Kosta, from Belfield in Sydney’s inner west, is taking part in an Australian-first trial to study whether highly-trained dogs improve autistic kids’ social skills, independence, motor skills and play.

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4th November 2017
Daily Telegraph