Undivided Resources
The Amazing, Incredible Service Dog

The Amazing, Incredible Service Dog

Published: Jan. 27, 2021Updated: Mar. 12, 2024

Featured image
What’s the difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal? What are the eligibility requirements, costs, and the application and training process to get a service dog for a child with a disability? We reached out to several organizations that help train and match service dogs for insights in answering these questions, and we were lucky to hear the success story of one family whose two service dogs have changed their lives for the better. At the end of this article, you’ll find a list of reputable organizations and some specifics, including types of service, age restrictions, cost, and wait times, as well as other resources to help with your search for the right dog for your child.

Overview: What is a service dog?

Service dogs are dogs that have been specifically trained to help a person with a disability complete essential tasks and/or respond to medical emergencies, increasing that individual’s independence and quality of life. Depending on how these dogs are trained, they can guide people who are blind or have low vision, alert Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to sounds, turn on light switches and open doors, pull a wheelchair, provide balance support, retrieve medicine, and much more.

The most important thing to know about service dogs is that they are tools, not pets — they must have at least one trained skill that is directly related to the user’s disability. Dogs for protection, companionship, or emotional support are not considered service dogs and can’t accompany the user in public places like restaurants, stores, hotels, and schools the way service dogs can (this is called public access). We will briefly touch on emotional support animals but will mostly focus on service dogs in this article.

Obtaining a service dog usually takes at least two years, so if you’ve been thinking about it, don’t put it off any longer! To get insights about the process, we reached out to Canines for Disabled Kids, a nonprofit organization that works with families and schools to pair kids with service dogs.

Comparing different types of service dogs

Types of service dogs

Service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but because there is no agreed-upon terminology, different agencies often use different terms. We’ll use the following categories: guide dogs, hearing dogs, medical alert dogs, mobility dogs, and autism dogs. Aside from guide dogs and hearing dogs, service dogs can help people with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, ALS, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, fetal alcohol/drug exposure, epilepsy, autism, Down syndrome, psychiatric disorders, and many other conditions affecting a person’s mobility, health, or strength.

Guide Dogs

Guide dogs help those who are visually impaired move around independently and safely. These dogs are trained very specifically, and most organizations require that clients be at least 18 because guide dogs work best when the user is able to work independently with them. An option for younger visually impaired children is a buddy or companion dog. Companion dogs are trained by a guide dog program and can help the child become a better candidate for a guide dog when they’re older.

Hearing Dogs

Hearing dogs are trained to physically alert their users to important sounds such as a smoke alarm, doorbell, alarm clock, or telephone ring. The dog nudges or paws its user and leads them to the sound’s source. These dogs can also be taught to respond to hand signals and American Sign Language. They can sometimes be trained to work with tablets or other electronic devices (for example, a child could press a button on her wheelchair that has a pre-recorded statement for a command to the dog).

Medical Alert Dogs

These dogs are trained to respond to medical conditions such as seizures, diabetic shock, anxiety, allergic reactions, and more. In some situations, dogs aren’t able to alert prior to the onset of the event, but they can often detect the slight changes in behavior that are related to the event earlier than humans can. Medical alert dogs are usually trained to nudge the user to take preventative medication or get to a safe place, retrieve medication (or juice for a diabetic person), or seek help by finding a specific person. The dogs may be trained to press a button that will sound an alarm for help if their person cannot sound an alarm or ask for help on their own.

Mobility Dogs

These service dogs often help the user perform daily tasks such as picking up items, opening and closing doors, pushing buttons, carrying packages, helping with dressing and undressing, and assisting with balance.

Kristin Hartness, Executive Director of Canines for Disabled Kids, tells us that mobility dogs can sometimes be trained for “stand and brace,” where the user balances on the dog’s shoulders to stand up and get stabilized. She adds that there are some cases where dogs can replace a cane or crutch (these are called stability dogs), but they are rarely used as it can be hard to find a match because the animal will need to have just the right height and build for this work.

Autism Dogs

Many programs specialize in pairing service dogs with children with autism and other similar disabilities. These dogs are usually trained in three main areas: applying deep pressure (or performing other calming tasks), interrupting harmful behaviors, and reducing elopement (wandering or bolting). Autism dogs are able to accompany the child anywhere in public as long as they are properly trained in at least one skill that is directly related to the disability. These cases often require the parent to use the command so that the dog can intervene.

Facilitated Dogs

This term refers to a service dog that is paired with an adult or caretaker because the child is too young or unable to care for the dog on their own. Typically, the dog is legally tied to the parent or another trained caretaker, so that person must be present with the dog at all times. Canine Companions for Independence calls these dogs “skilled companions,” which is not to be confused with an emotional support animal.

Emotional support animals

An emotional support animal provides a therapeutic benefit to a person with a psychiatric disability through companionship, comfort, and encouragement, but the dog does not have specific trained skills. As such, they are not granted access to public places. However, the federal Fair Housing Act views emotional support animals as a “reasonable accommodation” in housing units that normally have a “no-pets” rule. You’ll need a letter from a licensed mental health professional that documents the individual’s need for an emotional support animal.

Emotional support animals are sometimes called companion animals or personal therapy animals. They are often dogs but don’t have to be; sometimes they are cats, guinea pigs, or even birds. But if you’re looking for an animal that can accompany your child to school or in other public places like grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, and medical facilities, you’ll need to focus your search on a service dog. (The only two animals that are recognized as legal service animals under the ADA are dogs and miniature horses.)

Therapy or facility dogs

Therapy or facility dogs visit places like hospitals, schools, mental health institutions, and nursing homes to help reduce stress for people who are in these environments. They always work under the instruction of their handler. These dogs do not have public access and must be granted the right to visit by the individual facility.

Who is eligible for a service dog?

To be eligible for a service dog, a person’s disability should fall under the ADA definition of a mental or physical disability. The organization providing the dog will then assess the type of training needed to serve that person’s disability. Some organizations are very strict about what they consider to be a disability, and others are more open to disabilities that might not be clearly defined by the ADA.

In most cases, you’ll need a doctor’s note that explains the disability and why the individual’s life would be improved by a service dog. You’ll also usually need two letters of recommendation from people outside of your family.

How to choose a program for service dog training

While it is possible to self-train a service dog, it is not ideal for most people, as it requires a great deal of time and financial resources. Most agencies do not train outside dogs. When looking for the dog that’s right for your child, be sure to search for programs that offer training in the skills you need and that work with your geographic location and age range, as many organizations have minimum age requirements.

Canines for Disabled Kids maintains a database of more than 200 service dog programs, so they can easily help you determine what tasks a program’s dogs can and cannot do. “We’ll spend hours, days, and even years to help families understand what service dogs are and what they are not, whether a service dog is the right tool for their family, and whether they should do owner-assisted training or program training,” Hartness says.

“Eligibility for a service dog is simple, but matching the client to a program is much more complicated. It’s like picking a college in a lot of ways — the programs all have differences within them.” All of the work that Canines for Disabled Kids does is free of charge, regardless of where families get their dog from. “We just want to help everyone get on the same page,” Hartness says.

She recommends visiting the program you’re interested in and going through the interview process on site so that you can meet some of the dogs. She also recommends looking at the contract. Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Does the organization give the family ownership of the dog, or does the contract keep ownership within the program?
  • Do they require that you use their veterinarians? Do they cover the cost of veterinary services, and is there a limit to what they will cover?
  • Do they require yearly checkups with a trainer?
  • Do they reclaim the dog at retirement or can you keep it?
  • Do they charge the family an upfront fee for the dog, or do they require fundraising?
  • Do they bring the dog to you to do training with the family in the home/school/community, or do you need to travel to the organization’s facility for training?

It’s important to manage expectations early on to avoid surprises down the road.

Service dog application process, timeline, and training

Like everything else, the application and training process varies among organizations, but on average, it takes at least two years from time of acceptance to receiving the dog, primarily because it takes nearly two years to fully train a dog. Wait times fluctuate, so check with the organization to get an estimate. You can certainly apply early, generally speaking, depending on an organization's policies.

Most agencies require program training where clients come to their training facility for in-person group training with the dog. These programs are usually 12 to 14 days. There is also the option to do owner-assisted training, which means the client is the owner of the dog and is involved in the entire training process from the beginning. Most families tend to do program training, which requires 80 to 100 hours of training with the dog (after it has been pre-trained by the program).

There are no standards for regarding how these organizations run, so make sure to check the policies of the organizations you're looking into. Re-certification is often required by agencies, and policies vary. Sometimes, families are required to recertify every year (with a physician’s note, two letters of recommendation, and medical records), but this can be done remotely after the initial training.

Kelly Camm, Director of Development at 4 Paws for Ability, which trains and places service dogs with children with disabilities all over the world, says that the organization does not train all dogs the same way but bases training on the needs of the child. Parents specify what type of tasks they need the dog to perform (for example, helping maintain balance, retrieving dropped items, opening and closing doors), and the dog is trained to perform those tasks.

4 Paws requires clients to attend a 12-day training program at their facility in Ohio. The child and parent, adult, or aide must be present. “Families can communicate with each other on their own private Facebook page and get to know each other before and after the training,” explains Camm. “A lot of the kids and families become friends, and we try to combine clients that have similarities.” All the parents in the class know what it’s like to have a child with a disability, so it becomes a great support system. Camm says people tell her all the time that they’ve never felt so accepted and that they’ve found their new family. “It’s such a benefit for our families to have that community and support,” Camm says.

At Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), each dog spends the first year and a half of its life with a volunteer puppy raiser learning basic commands and being socialized. Then, the dog enters professional training to learn advanced commands at a CCI regional training center — while CCI is located in Northern California, they have training centers all over the country. Training takes five to nine months. Once the dog has completed the training and a candidate has been matched with the dog, they enter a two-week group training class where they learn to work together. Throughout the working life of the dogs, they periodically return to a training center for certification, workshops, seminars, and reunions.

Costs of a service dog and fundraising

The cost of training a service dog is usually around $30,000 (closer to $45,000 for a guide dog). Most agencies ask that clients raise a portion of this amount upfront or at some point during the process, or that they participate in a “pay-it-forward” fundraising campaign for the organization. You can obtain service dogs from nonprofit or for-profit organizations, but it’s often easier to raise funds when working with a nonprofit.

When an agency lists their dogs as “no cost to the recipient,” this means they have received donations for the funding (in other words, someone other than the recipient paid for the training of the dog). These agencies have a person or team of people doing the fundraising, which can often mean long wait times. In addition, many of these organizations ask that clients raise money to help future clients (goals vary, and they can ask for this money to be raised either before or after receiving the dog; most offer tools and advice to help with fundraising). Agencies that ask clients to pay for part of the costs upfront encourage their clients to do this through fundraising, and they offer assistance and tools for this as well. Some organizations will also work with clients to write grants and seek financial assistance.

Clients are usually responsible for their transportation to and from the training center, their meals during the training period, and the cost of staying in a hotel if needed. 4 Paws for Ability estimates that it costs about $1,500 to $2,000 per year to maintain a service dog, or about $100 per month for veterinary care, food, and equipment.

When it comes to fundraising for a service dog organization, Canines for Disabled Kids says that the common range is $15,000 to $20,000, but some programs have a sliding scale with a fixed maximum. “The less they ask for, the longer the wait time will be,” Hartness tells us. Though this might sound impossible, Hartness says fundraising is actually the easiest part of the process. “If you’re working with a nonprofit, you fundraise through them,” she explains. She also recommends that you don’t start fundraising until you know who you are fundraising for.

Tip: Hartness does not recommend using GoFundMe or a similar platform because they take a percentage of the funds. If you go through the nonprofit itself, donors get a tax reduction (and they know exactly where the funds are going). If you’re working with a for-profit, you might have to use a platform like GoFundMe. Hartness recommends writing a letter to every social group in your area, such as the Rotary Club or Knights of Columbus, to ask for help with raising money. Religious affiliations are also a popular way to raise funds.

Financial assistance for a service dog

Health insurance doesn’t cover service dogs. Camm from 4 Paws says she has never been given a reason for this, but she thinks it’s because the dog is a living creature. “You can fix a broken wheelchair, but you can’t just replace a service dog,” she says. She adds that they have had two clients who have been able to get their service dog fees covered through county disability services, but this is very rare. “Hopefully as time goes on, there will be more assistance because we'll have done a better job of educating the public on how helpful they can be,” Camm adds.

Regional Centers can help with some of the costs of food, grooming, and healthcare for service dogs. California’s Assistance Dog Special Allowance (ADSA) program provides a monthly payment of $50 to eligible families using a service dog. You must be a resident of California and receive benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), State Supplementary Payment (SSP), In-Home Support Services (IHSS), or Cash Assistance Programs for Immigrants (CAPI).

If you need more assistance, Elizabeth Spencer, Director of the Family Resources and Empowerment Center at LA’s Westside Regional Center, tells us to email your case manager with your request and explain the situation. You’ll likely need to write a letter explaining why your child benefits from the service dog, and provide a letter from a physician that explains how the dog helps your child. If it gets turned down, you can appeal (something you may have to do more than once).

Service dog scholarships

Scholarships are also a great option. For example, Canines for Disabled Kids raises money and awards scholarships every six months to help families cover some of these costs. Scholarships are paid directly to the training facility and range from $250 to $5,000 as determined by a committee. Clients must already be accepted to a service dog program when they apply for a scholarship.

To be eligible for a scholarship with Canines for Disabled Kids, a client must receive the trained dog before turning 18; they must work with a 501(c3) nonprofit; and the dog must be a full service dog with trained skills. “The more money we raise, the more we can give; if we have 10 applicants, we want to give something to all 10,” Hartness says, adding that the review board often looks at how much independence they think the dog will give the child. A one-on-one partnership is more likely to get a bigger piece of the pie. Hartness says they’ve been able to grant a scholarship of at least $500 to everyone who has applied for the last several years.

When Hartness receives an application, she verifies the training program and asks them about the applicant and the dog they’re training for them; she also asks for two references that aren’t related to the family and one medical reference (often the same things that are provided to the training program). “We do this to confirm that everyone is on the same page and to get an understanding for who this person is because we need to convince the review board to give them the largest amount possible,” Hartness says.

Tip: Hartness notes that many veterinarians offer discounts for service dogs, and most of the time there is no fee for a service dog’s license (all dogs are required to be licensed with the county of residence). “Service dogs are not a cheap tool, and there are not a lot of resources for ongoing care, but you can talk to your accountant about deducting food and medical costs,” Hartness says, adding that guide dogs have a special classification when you file taxes.

Legally, service dogs can go anywhere in public as long as they have one or more trained skills that directly relate to the individual’s disability. In addition, the Fair Housing Act allows for trained service animals in apartments or other “no-pet” housing at no additional cost to the person with a disability. The dog must be under the control of the handler at all times.

You do not legally need to carry or show legal documentation or certification. People can ask you if the dog is required because of a disability (which is a yes or no answer), and they can ask what task the dog was trained to do to help with the disability, but legally you don’t have to answer any other questions, and you cannot be asked to prove the disability or demonstrate the trained skill.

Hartness notes to answer the second question with what the trained skill is, not the result. For example, don’t say, “The dog calms my child down.” Instead, say, “The dog is trained to apply deep pressure to my child during an episode.” Otherwise, it could seem as though the dog is an emotional support animal, and you could be denied access. “The language we use is so important because it’s so easy to see a dog as a companion or emotional support animal,” Hartness says. There are a lot of state laws that the ADA made obsolete but were never taken off the books, so that can add confusion. “The important thing to know is that the ADA trumps state laws,” Hartness says. “A state can be more supportive than the federal law, but the state can’t be more restrictive than the federal law.”

Legal rights for a service dog in public

A service dog success story: Ned and Raven

Rosemary Shulman has two service dogs for her kids: a Goldendoodle named Ned for her daughter, Maya, who was born with FASD and a Golden Lab named Raven for her son, Matthew.

When Maya was 9 years old, Rosemary felt nothing was working. She decided the family needed to try something new, so she reached out to 4 Paws for Ability because she’d heard that they place service dogs with younger children. She filled out an application online, and the director called her a few months later to ask what she was looking for, what her child’s needs were, and some questions about their environment. The director also asked that she video some of their day-to-day life.

“They want to see everything — the good and the bad,” Rosemary says. “That’s what the dog would have to deal with, and they want to make sure they provide the right dog for your situation.” She adds that you can’t choose the dog’s gender or breed as it’s completely based on your child’s needs.

Once Rosemary was approved, she was notified and asked to start fundraising. Rosemary raised the $17,000 in four months by hosting spaghetti dinners, which included donated items that she raffled off. She sent the money to 4 Paws as it was raised. When Maya was 11, the family traveled to Ohio for the two-week training with her dog. Rosemary tells us that the class started between 9 and 10 a.m. and went until 4 to 5 p.m. every day. To practice working with the dogs in public, they went to the mall across the street. “You take a test at every stage, and you must pass the test to move to the next level,” she says. Rosemary gave us an example of an activity that involved riding in an elevator with the dog. Maya was usually afraid of elevators, but she went right in because the dog was there — they even went up and down multiple times.

The class also teaches clients about their legal rights as well as how to groom and feed the dog. At the end of the training, clients receive a certificate for their dog. Rosemary carries a copy of the law with her in case there are any issues, as well as a copy of the dog’s shot records and certification. She recommends that parents ask the agency for a guide (and if they don’t have one, ask them to make one) on how to handle the dog to share with the child’s school. If this isn’t possible, parents may ask the agency to speak to their child’s school administrators.

Ned was trained as a tether dog — meaning that Maya holds on to one side of his harness and either Rosemary or an aide holds on to the other side — because Maya would often bolt. He also helps with behavior disruption, such as knocking her hand away when she is biting her nails to the point of bleeding, or pulling her hair; Ned also applies deep pressure to calm her.

Ned attended school with Maya, which was allowed because she had a 1:1 aide who was trained to handle the dog. “Ned was a fixture at her middle school,” Rosemary says. “His presence prevented anxiety and enabled her to concentrate. At 4 Paws, they call this ‘pixie dust’ — the amazing essence of having the dog there.”

Ned and Raven the service dogs

Maya used to have one to three serious behaviors a week, but after Ned joined their world, they dropped to maybe once a month. Flying in an airplane was a nightmare before Ned, but the family was able to go overseas with no issues because Ned was there. “The attention, the weight, and his presence immediately soothed her,” Rosemary says.

After they’d had Ned for a while, Rosemary’s older son Matthew (who was also born with FASD but wasn’t diagnosed until he was 15) began to bond with the dog, and Rosemary noticed the calming effect that Ned had on Matthew. She reached out again to 4 Paws and learned that they happened to have a great dog who was destined to be the top in her class but ended up needing surgery. 4 Paws came to an agreement where instead of fundraising again, the family paid for the dog’s surgery and attended the two-week class, this time to train Matthew and the new dog, named Raven. Matthew was 16 at the time, so he was allowed to be Raven’s handler.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my kids,” Rosemary says. “And it’s amazing to sit in the class for two weeks and watch the dogs in action, and to see the changes — it’s the most humbling, awesome experience and I’m so lucky to have done it twice.”

Service dog agencies

Note: Assistance Dogs International is a worldwide coalition of nonprofit programs that train and place assistance dogs. Organizations that pass ADI’s accreditation process become ADI Accredited Member programs, and they are regularly assessed to ensure they meet the highest standards in the industry.

4 Paws for Ability

  • Types of service: Autism, diabetes, fetal alcohol/drug exposure disorders, hearing, mobility, multipurpose (including cancer and down syndrome), and seizures (they do not train guide dogs).
  • Age restrictions: None, though a facilitator is required if the recipient cannot care for the dog on his or her own. “4 Paws works with a lot of younger people that other agencies won’t work with,” Kristin Hartness notes, adding that this can be critical for epilepsy. 4 Paws for Ability will not place dogs with independent adults who are not veterans.
  • Cost: They ask that clients raise $20,000 toward the total cost of training the dog upfront (not including travel to/from training facility and food/supplies/veterinary costs); most clients do this through fundraising. Certain breeds (papillons and goldendoodles) require an additional $3,000 due to grooming and health considerations.
  • Wait time: About 2-2.5 years.
  • Other pets: Allowed (though all other dogs in the home must be indoor pets).
  • Service area: Located in Ohio but they serve people all over the world.

Blue Path Service Dogs

  • Types of service: Autism
  • Age restrictions: The child must be between age 5 and 11.
  • Cost: The initial placement is free to accepted applicants. Parents must pay the cost of room and board during a week of training. "Ongoing expenses are aligned with the costs to care for a family pet; food, veterinary care and miscellaneous supplies would average $1,500 annually."
  • Wait time: Six month to two years
  • Service area: Based in New York

Canine Companions for Independence (ADI member)

  • Types of service: Daily tasks, hearing dogs, skilled companions, and facility dogs (they do not train guide dogs, seizure/diabetes alert dogs, or balance dogs).
  • Age restrictions: Individuals applying for an assistance dog must be at least 18, though children 5 and older will be considered for a skilled companion.
  • Cost: No cost to the individual (not including travel to/from the training facility and food/supplies/veterinary costs). CCI does not ask for any fundraising, which is relatively rare (though donations are of course accepted).
  • Wait time: The wait list time varies for each applicant, depending on what type of dog is needed, what dogs are available, and class composition.
  • Service area: They are headquartered in Northern California, but have regional training centers and chapters all over the country.

Guide Dog Foundation

  • Types of service: Primarily provide guide dogs to serve individuals with low vision.
  • Age restrictions: Will consider clients who are 16 years old.
  • Cost: No charge to the family. “Funding comes from the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations, and community organizations.” Guide Dog Foundation covers training, transportation/room and board during the two-week training program, and aftercare services.
  • Wait time: 9-18 months on average.
  • Service area: Based in New York but serves all of North America.

Little Angels Service Dogs (ADI member)

  • Types of service: Autism, balance, diabetes, extreme anxiety, hearing, mobility, PTSD, and seizures (they do not train guide dogs or food allergy dogs)
  • Age restrictions: None, but facilitators are required if the recipient is not able to care for or issue commands to the dog.
  • Cost: They ask that clients raise $18,000 (which includes a nonrefundable $500 deposit) through fundraising, which they will assist with. Travel to/from the two-week training (in San Diego or New Hampshire) is the responsibility of the recipient.
  • Wait time: Due to a number of variables (fundraising, economic climate, and the number of recipients on their list) they are unable to provide an estimated wait time; unlike many organizations, if you’re able to raise more than the minimum amount, the wait time will be shorter.
  • Other pets: Allowed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Service area: Training centers in San Diego and New Hampshire.

NEADS World-Class Service Dogs (ADI member)

  • Types of service: Developmental disabilities, facilitated service, and hearing (they do not train balance dogs, seizure/diabetes alert dogs, or guide dogs).
  • Age restrictions: Clients must be 8–16 years old for a developmental assistance dog, 12 and older for a facilitated service dog, and 15 or older for a hearing dog.
  • Cost: They ask accepted clients to raise $8,000 to continue to provide dogs for future clients.
  • Wait time: The average waiting time for a NEADS service dog is 1-4 years.
  • Other pets: Accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Service area: Headquartered in Massachusetts but they serve all of the U.S.

More resources

  • ADA.gov: This website provides helpful information about service animals with a fact sheet.
  • Assistance Dogs International: A worldwide coalition of nonprofit programs that train and place assistance dogs. Assistance dog organizations that pass ADI’s accreditation process become ADI Accredited Member programs, and are regularly assessed to ensure they meet the highest standards in the industry.
  • Canines for Disabled Kids: A nonprofit organization that works with families and schools to pair kids with service dogs.
  • International Association of Assistance Dog Partners: A nonprofit, cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing, and service dogs.
  • Magnolia Paws for Compassion: A program that seeks to increase access to animal assistance and raise awareness of the many benefits that interaction with animals can provide to those coping with illness, such as epilepsy.
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation: This organization can help raise funds for a service dog.
  • Netflix’s Dogs: 4 Paws for Ability is featured on the Netflix series Dogs in episode one, which profiles one of their seizure alert teams.



Overview: What is a service dog?

Who is eligible for a service dog?

How to choose a program for service dog training

Service dog application process, timeline, and training

Costs of a service dog and fundraising

Using a service dog in public and other legal rights

A service dog success story: Ned and Raven

Service dog agencies

More resources

Join the Undivided Community to get more resources like this in your inbox



Undivided Editorial TeamStaff
Reviewed by: Brittany Olsen, Undivided Content Editor Contributors: Kelly Camm, Director of Development at 4 Paws for Ability Kristin Hartness, Executive Director of Canines for Disabled Kids

Promise Image
Each piece of content has been rigorously researched, edited, and vetted to bring you the latest and most up-to-date information. Learn more about our content and research process here.
A Navigator is your Partner at each turn
Every Undivided Navigator has years of experience supporting families raising kids with disabilities or parenting their own. Partner with an Undivided Navigator for a free Kickstart to learn first hand what support feels like!
Expert-driven content, guidance, and solutions.
Member events and office hours with real answers, plus access to our private parents' group.
Priority to begin a free Kickstart of the Undivided Support System with a dedicated Navigator.
“It’s so helpful to have one place that you can go to get many answers.”–Leeza Woodbury, with Navigator Kelly since 2020
*Currently offering Navigator Kickstarts to residents of California