After receiving proper training, service dogs are now able to detect incoming seizures and alert the person's family regarding the impending attack.
Alyssa Howes is one such child suffering from seizures. Along with losing her sight, she started suffering from seizure attacks when she was only four years old, with seizures occurring up to 20 times daily.
It was Alyssa's grandmother that watched over her nightly to monitor the seizures. However, three years ago, Alyssa received a gift that changed her life.
It was a golden retriever that was trained as a service dog, and his name was Flint.
Flint changed the life of Alyssa's family, giving the now 11-year-old child with a more normal daily life. The service dog can alert the family if Alyssa will be going through a seizure, and can guide the child to make sure she does not fall to give her some freedom in where she goes.
"It gives her a companion to enjoy the moments when she is doing things she likes to do," said Juliette Palomaki, Alyssa's mother.
However, there are not enough service dogs being trained to accompany children suffering from autism, epilepsy and other disabilities, according 4 Paws for Ability founder Karen Shirk. The non-profit organization breeds dogs and trains them to become service dogs.
Other similar organizations also train dogs to serve people suffering from seizures, but 4 Paws for Ability is among the few ones that accept the challenge of training service dogs for children.
Most organizations require service dog handlers to be at least 16 years old so that they can control the dog even when they are alone in public places. To remedy the situation, 4 Paws for Ability also trains at least a couple of adult caregivers, which could be the child's parents, teachers or baby sitters.
Brandon McMillan, an animal behaviorist and known for being on the show Lucky Dog, said that it is easy for children with disabilities to become loners.
McMillan, who is also a spokesman for Magnolia Paws for Compassion, which looks to raise awareness on children being given service dogs, said that service dogs can open up the entire world for children with conditions.
It is not cheap to breed and train a service dog for seizures though, as 4 Paws for Ability needs $22,000 for the endeavor. Out of that amount, $15,000 should be raised by the family.
However, the amount is negligible compared to the value of the service dogs. According to scientists, dogs are able to detect a chemical change before a person is about to undergo a seizure attack, though the explanation on how dogs do so differ among scientific communities.
At 4 Paws for Ability, service dogs are trained to bark when a seizure is incoming, alerting an adult to give the child the medicine she needs.
In the case of Alyssa, once Flint senses an incoming seizure, the dog will lick the child and lie on her. Flint will also bark, which is the only time that the family hears him barking.