Dogs are transforming the lives of children on the autism spectrum.

THE BUDDY SYSTEM tells the intimate stories of three families touched by autism, who experience a remarkable change when a specially trained autism assistance dog comes into their lives. The incidence of autism has increased at an alarming rate. In 2000, one-in-150 children was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Today, that number is one-in-68. So there is a high probability that that someone you know, a neighbor, work colleague, a relative—or perhaps even you—have been directly affected by an autism diagnosis.

Autism assistance dogs not only become best friends or “buddies” with the children they serve, but they are also powerful therapeutic tools who help kids on the spectrum develop essential social skills, heighten emotional empathy, and level the playing field so they can finally feel like they belong.