South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind
South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind was founded in 1953 by Gladys Evans after she returned from England with her Guide Dog, Sheena. Gladys was a South African who travelled to the UK so that she could be trained with a Guide Dog. Once she realised how much a Guide Dog enhanced her life her next goal was to make Guide Dogs accessible to other South African citizens.
Dogs are trained exclusively for children. The dog’s main role is to diminish the child’s tendency to become distracted and run off. Children on the Autism Spectrum generally do not like to be restrained. The fact that the child is holding the dog’s lead (the caregiver or parent assists by holding a second lead attached to the dog) results in the child feeling a sense of responsibility to remain with the dog and family group.
Autism Support Dogs can vastly improve the child’s quality of life by giving confidence and unconditional love. The routine of dog care and dog training is part of the child’s therapy. Families find is easier to visit public places as the child is more confident and the public are more understanding and less judgemental of the child’s behaviour. Watch our video - http://www.guidedog.org.za/autism-support-dogs/
People who are visually impaired
GDA assists by teaching people who are visually impaired to be mobile in a safe manner, through the use of a Guide Dog or through the use of a long cane (white cane). People who are visually impaired can be independent and economically stable. People who are visually impaired no longer have to wait for a sighted person to assist them. Together with their Guide Dog they are able to go where they want to go when they want to go there. Many people have the freedom to study and work with their Guide Dog by their side.
People who are physically challenged
Service Dogs are trained to assist people who are physically disabled with daily tasks. Service Dogs retrieve dropped items, help to open and close doors, find and alert a family member who is on the property when directed to do so and bark on command.
A benefit of all three types of working dog is that the owners find that they are more easily integrated into the community. People are drawn to the dogs and curious about the work that they do. Many friendships have been formed as a result of the dog’s presence. Children on the Autistic spectrum benefit from the non judgemental friendship offered by the dog.
College of Orientation and Mobility provides practical training to people who are visually impaired to live their life independently; to undertake household tasks such as cooking and cleaning requires Skills of Daily living training. Orientation and Mobility practitioners would also train their clients how to navigate within their homes and gardens. Once this is achieved long cane training is undertaken where people who are visually impaired are equipped to travel in a safe and independent manner while using a long cane.
We are a well established, strictly governed NPO, with an impeccable track record.