Program Helps Autistic Children Turn Skill Into Jobs

 A new program in North Austin aims to turn autistic children’s talent with canines into careers.

Austin Dog Alliance Executive Director Debi Krakar and others already run a program that uses dogs to calm autistic children and teach them social skills.

During the program they saw advantages that students could bring to [jobs].

“Kids on the (autism) spectrum a lot of times are very, very particular with details — and they don’t miss anything,” Krakar said.

In the social skills class, students would notice subtle signals between dogs, often before two would fight.

“They’re not going to miss it,” Krakar said. “They see the details people typically won’t see.”

Over the past two years, about 60 students with autism have graduated from the Austin Dog Alliance social skills program, but many needed a next step to get them into the workforce, Krakar said.

With that in mind, the alliance has started a program to teach the students what they need to know to land — and keep — a job.

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