Service dogs are widely used to help individuals manage their daily lives and complete tasks that might otherwise be difficult for them to do alone. To acquire a service dog, you need to have some type of disability that inhibits your own abilities to complete tasks. Your service animal will then help you manage parts of your disability and help you complete difficult tasks. For example, some service animals help their owners get up from their chair, or even retrieve their medications for them.
What are the Qualifications to Obtain a Service Dog?
- Be at least 12 years of age unless service dog is needed for a child with autism (then the age is 6-12)
- Have a diagnosed physical disability, anxiety disorder such as PTSD, debilitating chronic illness, or neurological disorder affecting at least one limb
- Reside in a stable home environment
- Be physically and cognitively capable of participating in the process of training, up to one hour per day
- Be able to independently command and handle a service dog
- Be able to meet the physical, emotional, and financial needs of a service dog
- Have no other dog in the home (other animals as pets are permitted)
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Millions of individuals suffer from this disorder, some who may not even know it. This disorder is most commonly diagnosed during childhood and it then carries over into adulthood. Some of the symptoms are trouble staying focused, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity.
The symptoms can become very overwhelming and have the ability to negatively impact an individual’s day-to-day life. Owning a dog can help these individuals battle their disorder, but can a service dog improve their overall being?
Can Someone with ADHD Obtain a Service Dog?
As you can see above there are specific criteria in place that helps determine whether or not someone can have a service dog. The lines are a little blurry when it comes to ADHD because it isn’t an anxiety disorder, it is a neurological disorder but it doesn’t affect the limbs, and it isn’t a physical disability.
The “in” for someone with ADHD obtaining a service dog comes from a debilitating chronic illness. In most cases ADHD is not debilitating, but it can be for some individuals. Those who would like a service dog, but don’t meet the requirements may benefit from a therapy dog or an emotional support animal. These are the most popular scenarios for someone with ADHD.
How Do Service Dogs Benefit Those with Debilitating ADHD
Those with debilitating ADHD can benefit from a service dog because they can help them regain some control over their life. The service dog can help interrupt and redirect the owner’s attention to whatever the task is at hand. Dogs require schedules, so having the animal can help serve as a routine for the owner. Every morning you take your dog out, you get the dog food, you take your dog for a walk, etc. Having routine is great for individuals with debilitating ADHD. The hyperactivity component can also be focused on because having an animal allows you the opportunity to run with it, go on walks, or even swim together.
Service dogs aren’t for everyone and an emotional support dog may be able to greater benefit someone with ADHD. Emotional support dogs can help:
- Outlet for excess energy
- Be a non-judgmental companion
- Provide social interaction opportunities
- Encourage routines
- Decrease stress
- Offer a healthy distraction
If you aren’t able to qualify for a service dog don’t be discouraged, your options don’t end there. Whether you have a service dog, emotional support animal, or simply a dog for a pet, you can reap some benefits.