Teaming up with the nonprofit A.I.R to provide therapy dogs

We are working with Trish Baker of A.I.R. – Attitudes In Reverse to engage handlers with their therapy dogs to help with our research study.  The handler/therapy dog team will come to your house to work with individuals with autism spectrum disorder.  Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes with different personalities, but all of them have been certified.  See Miki in the video below.

AIR Dogs: Paws For Minds
In 2012, A.I.R. began its program providing emotional support dogs and psychiatric service dogs to people in need. AIR Dogs: Paws for Minds. Our hope is to locate really great dogs in shelters and match them up with a human partner who suffers from some mental health issue. Oliver, the Pomeranian, was matched up with Stacey in September. Watch for updates on Oliver and Stacey’s progress as they work together to qualify Oliver as a certified working service dog.
“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”- Ben Williams

The mission of A.I.R. – Attitudes in Reverse® is to seek to end the stigma of mental illness in society so that those suffering from mental pain can seek the help they need and through that help we will ultimately defeat the only remaining illness with a strong universal stigma. “Start the Conversation to Save a Life.” ® They serve to educate about mental illness, to prevent suicides, but just as important is to educate so that no one is mis-judged or criticized because they have a biological-based brain illness. All people, no matter what their differences, should be treated with respect and kindness.

Company Overview
Attitudes In Reverse® was the primary mission of Everybody Loves Kenny Project, Inc. a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit created after the death of Kenneth Silas Baker. Kenny was a smart, athletic and very much loved young man who suffered for many years from Anxiety and Depression. He lost his struggle on May 19, 2009 when the pain of mental illness took him from us. He was 19 years old. AIR, founded April 26, 2010 by Kenny’s sister, Katelyn Baker, with the concept that Mental Illness is like AIR, just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean is isn’t there. It is all around us. Katelyn won the New Jersey Governor’s Ambassador Award Against Mental Health Stigma in 2010 for her concept.

One of their main goals is to reach high school age students. Schools prepare them for SATs, ACT’s but little discussion takes place about mental health and suicide prevention. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death on college campuses. Schools teach about drugs and addiction, but no one teaches that most drug ABUSE is due to the self-medication of untreated mental health issues.


2012 Touched By An Agency Award/Grant from Merck, as part of their Partnership for Giving campaign.
2012 Garden State Seeds of Hope, presented by New Jersey Monthly Magazine
2011 AKC Humane Fund Award of Canine Excellence (ACE) for Therapy
2011 Dare To Dream Award
2011 NJ Governor’s Ambassador’s Award- Received by La Jolie Salon and Spa
2011 NJ Governor’s Ambassador’s Award- Received by Piscataway High School and Piscataway ROTC
2010 NJ Governor’s Ambassador Award- Received by Katelyn Baker
Contact Info:

US Mail: PO Box 3127, Princeton, New Jersey 08543
Phone (609) 945-3200 (Trish Baker)
Miki, A.I.R. Awareness Dog’s Facebook Page:



Info for Therapy Dog Handlers Only

Please go to the private google doc

For you (therapy dog handler) to be able to access this, you will need a gmail account and you will need to send it to so that Dr. Fagan can give you permission to access this document.  Thank You, JF

Here is the link to the online ESCS (Early Social Communication Scales) form which you will fill out during/after each of your sessions (excluding the first meet and greet session).:

Survey for parent/guardian

As participants in this study, parents/ guardians are requested to fill out what is called the ATEC Survey.  This survey has been used in prior research studies and considered to be a useful tool in assessing whether an individual has/has altered their responses to situations.  Take a look at it (see link).

ATEC Survey

ATEC survey is available in 2 forms:

Print-out version of the survey will be provided; you can fill in the survey and return to the dog handlers.

An online version of the survey can also be found from this website:

 You can submit the survey online by entering one of the following emails in the “Clinician/therapist E-mail” section


About the Rutgers University Research Study on Animals & Autism

OUR STUDY: Parents Perception of their Autistic Child’s Behavior Following Interaction with a Therapy Dog or Non- Real Counterpart

The main objective of this study is to examine whether therapy dogs would be beneficial to children with autism spectrum disorder. Parents will be asked to complete a survey about their child’s responses following interactions with a therapy dog and handler vs non-real toy dog with the same handler.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Families with an autistic individual will be divided into 2 groups – some families will work with a therapy dog, while other families will work with a stuffed toy dog. The therapy dog handlers will visit the participating families homes once per week for a month for up to 60 minute sessions with a therapy dog or in some families, a stuffed dog.  The latter families would have the opportunity to receive subsequent visits with a therapy dog over an additional 4 week study period.

Informational Sheet

You are invited to voluntarily participate in a research study that will measure the treatment effects of canine-assisted therapy on children with autism spectrum disorder.

In conjunction with the non-profit agency A.I.R. (attitudes in reverse),  a therapy dog or a stuffed toy dog and handler will come to your home for up to 60 minutes once per week for one month. The parent(s) or caregiver of children with autism spectrum disorder will be asked to complete a survey before each session and after the final session,  The survey, the “Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist” or ATEC survey, will consist of multiple-choice questions that should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. You will be asked about your child’s diagnosis that was previously provided by a professional.

CONFIDENTIALITY/RISKS: This research is completely anonymous. Only the parent/caregiver’s initials will appear on the survey. No information will be recorded that could identify you. This study consists of only a survey and there are no risks involved.

COMPENSATION/BENEFITS: You will receive no direct benefit or monetary compensation for participating in this study.  The animal-assisted therapy sessions will be provided free of charge. It is expected that the research will provide scientists with a better understanding of whether animal assisted therapy is beneficial in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Contact Dr. Julie Fagan at 848-932-8354, with questions.

SUBJECT RIGHTS: This study has been approved by the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board.

Interested in Participating in our Research Study on Animals & Autism?

The use of service and “therapy” animals in the treatment of a variety of emotional disorders, including depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and autism, has recently come into the spotlight.  Hopeful parents, caregivers, and individuals suffering from such disorders want to latch onto a new non drug therapy that may help manage the disorder.  Unfortunately, there have been few scientific studies evaluating the effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy in the treatment of such disorders, including autism.

This is where you come in.  Help us determine whether therapy dogs prove to be beneficial for those with autism.  As a control, some families will receive visits with a stuffed toy dog and handler.  These families would later have the opportunity to receive home therapy dog visits. There is no charge or compensation for participating.

If interested in participating either as a therapy dog provider or as a family member with autism spectrum disorder, please email: