I am not one to usually do this kind of thing although if I am being completely honest it is uncomfortable asking for help. Even so I will literally do ANYTHING to help my son. For those of you that do not know much about Ryder, he is such a sweetheart and an amazing little boy who also happens to have Autism. He was recently diagnosed with ASD 2/2 (Autism Spectrum Disorder level 2) with a severe language delay and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and will be starting intensive ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy soon. For the past six months he has been seeing a speech therapist, occupational therapist, infant educator, and going to Toddler Talk (speech group).
We had high hopes for some improvement but instead saw little to none. Since January his behavior has only gotten worse; he uses less words, has meltdowns, crying fits, tantrums, and stimming has increased tenfold. I have known something was not right since he was 18 months old and started taking notice. At the age of two we got his first assessment done and he was misdiagnosed. Hearing your child has ASD is not what any parent wants to hear but I am glad we finally have an answer and he can get the help he needs.
Every day is a challenge for Ryder because he cannot regulate his body and process the world around him. He gets overly stimulated which causes a sensory overload and makes him act out. This causes his stimming, repetitive speech, crying nonstop for no reason, not letting anyone touch him or get near him, not able to transition, and many other symptoms including withdrawing from the world around him. As a parent this is heartbreaking and I just want to fix what's wrong but feel helpless.
I have found a local service dog trainer (Trained Retrievers) who have one chocolate lab puppy left named Rusty for our son. Service dogs are extremely expensive (thousands of dollars) because of the 1 1/2 - 2 years they spend in intensive training. The dog will be trained over the next year to pass all basic training and service dog requirements. Then after a year Rusty will be trained alongside Ryder for 6 months for his specific needs which will help him in so many ways: to locate him if he runs off, tethering together to walk in large crowds, alerting us when he's about to have a fit or get stuck in a repetetive loop, laying on his lap and applying pressure (like a weighted blanket) when he's having a sensory overload, and going anywhere in public with him (including school) to make him feel more secure and confidant. I cannot stress enough how HUGE this will be for him!
Ryder got the pleasure of meeting Rusty today and started the bonding process. Although Rusty won't come home with us for at least a year and a half it takes a lot of money to train him and that is why my family needs your help. I have done a lot of research on service dogs for kids with Autism and they can be just as effective as therapy.
So as his mother I am asking my friends and family to please help my son. Anything helps even the smallest amount and it all adds up. Even if you are unable to donate could you please take a second and share this on your Facebook page/email. I am so blessed and grateful to be Ryder's mom and I believe he was put in my life for a reason. My life truly began when I had him. I love him beyond words and I want to do whatever I can to make his life better. Thank you so much and if you have any questions at all about Ryder, Rusty, or the service dog process don't hesitate to contact me.