Family Caregivers and Dog Guides for Autism Assistance
June 1, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
Roxanne Davis is the mom of an autistic son, Mason. Chris Fowler, a professional Dog Guide trainer since 1994, trained the two autism assistance Dog Guides, Zeus and Dublin, that Roxanne Davis talks about. Roxanne and Chris tell us about the experience of autism and the assistance that Dog Guides provide to autistic children, their families and their family caregivers. Chris talks about the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides and its work. Roxanne tells us about her family’s experience with Zeus and Dublin. Chris explains how Dog Guides are trained and how the families are prepared for the extra ‘parents’, as Roxanne calls them. They explain the particular challenges of autism that Dog Guides help with. They discuss the advice that family caregivers need when they are thinking about a Dog Guide for autism. They explore the developments in support systems that they believe would enable more autistic children, families and family caregivers to be helped by Dog Guides.
Family Caregivers Unite!
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Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.
Dr. Gordon Atherley
Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.
Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.