Guiding Eyes for the Blind is an internationally accredited guide dog school providing greater independence, dignity, and new horizons of opportunity.
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Children with Autism

Donate to Heeling Autism

Heeling Autism Program logo

Heeling Autism dog with family on beachIn 2008, Guiding Eyes for the Blind introduced Heeling Autism – a program in which its world-renowned dogs are trained to provide safety for children with autism. All of Guiding Eyes’ dogs come from a well-established breeding colony that produces dogs of superlative temperaments. Some of our dogs possess the ideal dispositions to become autism service dogs.

Heeling Autism dogs offer safety, companionship and opportunities for independence. The program boasts a 100% success rate, with the largest statistical improvements in the areas of traveling, eating and sleeping behaviors. Download the Heeling Autism Brochure for more information »

A Heeling Autism dog in a family with an autistic child can also:

  • increase social acknowledgment of the child by his or her peers;
  • provide companionship;
  • reduce parental stress; and
  • increase the child’s level of independence, confidence, and social acceptance.

Read the Mandells’ story, and learn how Heeling Autism Hagrid has helped an entire family.

Eligibility Requirements

Families that apply for an autism service dog must meet specific requirements.  Some of these criteria are listed below.  Final acceptance is at the discretion of the Admissions committee.

  1. Child must be 2-9 years old.
  2. Child must have an autism diagnosis.
  3. Child must live within 2 hour driving time from the Training School in Yorktown Heights. This is because the trainer has to make numerous trips to the family home for training and follow-ups.
  4. All family members must be open to a service dog in the home.
  5. No one in the home can be afraid of or allergic to dogs.
  6. Child must need the service dog for safety.
  7. The family must understand that an autism service dog represents a lifetime commitment.
  8. One or both parents must be able to spend five days and four consecutive nights at our Yorktown campus. If the child has two custodial parents BOTH parents must spend Tuesday (8 AM-5 PM) of that week on campus for training.

Note: This program is for families with autistic children, not for children who are visually impaired.

For more information on this program or to receive an application:  Phone: 914-243-2228  Email:

Our thanks to the generosity of the Hatfield Family Fund for their annual sponsorship of our “Paws to Read” program, allowing our Heeling Autism dogs the invaluable training experience of regularly visiting elementary school classrooms while making a difference in the lives of school children many with reading skill challenges.


To learn ways your financial contributions can make a difference for this program, contact Nancy Lothrop at or 914-243-2211.