Service dogs for youth with ASD

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Providing a Companion for a Youth with ASD

The Mira Foundation program provides service dogs for young people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

Learn about what impact a service dog can have on the development of a young person with ASD, and the program’s admission criteria.

What is the service dog program for youth with ASD?

The Mira Schola program was launched in 2010 to help the families of children with ASD.

Studies conducted by the Mira Foundation have shown that service dogs provide many benefits for young people with ASD and their families, both physically and mentally.

More specifically, they help to reduce stress and anxiety and improve the quality of sleep, language skills and socialization.

Our program has the following objectives:

  • Help young persons with ASD come out of their shells and reach maximum autonomy.
  • Equip and support the parents and relatives of youth with ASD.
  • Engage in research to advance knowledge and practices relating to developmental disorders.
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What are the admission criteria for the service dog program for youth with ASD?

Here are the main criteria to receive a service dog as part of the program for children with ASD:

  • The young person with ASD must be 15 years old or under
  • Provide a recent ASD diagnosis evaluation report (Please have a report filled out by your doctor before proceeding with your request)
  • Certify the absence of dog allergies in the family
  • Certify that no other dog lives in the home at the time of the assignment
  • The young person with ASD must show interest in the dog
  • Be sure to never leave the dog alone and always include it in daily activities
  • Be a resident of the province of Quebec or the Maritimes
Two young girls hug a Labernois dog who has his Mira harness

Program sequence


The program is available for children and adolescents with an ASD, under the age of 15. The attribution of a service dog requires increased involvement of the young beneficiary’s parents.

After having analyzed the request, we hold an evaluation meeting at our offices to determine the youth’s eligibility. This meeting aims to better identify the youth’s needs and assess his or her level of interest in the dog.


According to the program’s time frame, the designated parent is invited to take a 9-days course at our facilities.

The class has 8 students. It focuses on dog handling and requires the parent’s involvement 24 hours a day. If the beneficiary is too young to take the course, it will be offered to the designated parent. In the case where the child participates in an adolescent class, the chosen parent must accompany him or her during the week-long course. After this week, the accompanying parent must be able to bring the dog with them in daily activities while the child is at school for the first few months. This period is an adaptation period for the youth to consolidate his or her dog management skills and abilities. Also note that in separated families, when parents have shared custody or if one parent has custody, the participation of both parents in the training course is required.


At the end of the stay, a Mira Schola program coach will follow up at the beneficiary’s home to ensure the service dog’s optimal integration in the family environment.

However, it will be your responsibility to maintain what the dog has learned.

Apply now

Due to the high volume of requests, for ethical concern to serve families waiting in a reasonable time and to ensure optimal service to the beneficiaries, the service dog program for youth with ASD no longer accepts new applications for the moment. Any changes regarding the reopening of the program will be indicated on this page.


A video of a young girl that has a dog from the Mira program for young child with TSA.