12/12/2012 11:39 am ET

Service Dogs Love, Protect And Connect Autistic Kids

From the time Elizabeth Mullen's son Cooper was a toddler until age 4, if she wanted to hold or cuddle him, as she had with her two older children, she needed to sneak in and catch him while he was sleeping. When he was awake, the small boy screamed if touched, given a bath or exposed to hot or cold. "Touch was the big one for me," Mullen says. "I wanted to hug him."

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