Team Caiden

Being a parent of a child with autism is daunting and overwhelming at times. Being that child himself is even more challenging. Everyday little things most children can do without even thinking about, Caiden struggles with. He can't go outside to play by himself, ever. He needs pretty much constant supervision. Going out to eat at a restaurant can be a disaster, at times. Grocery shopping can be pleasant or it can be a nightmare.

Looking at Caiden, you can't really tell he struggles with a disability. If you really look, you might notice something is amiss. He doesn't quite look you in the eye when talking to you. He can have a far off distance kind of look about him. When he does try to have a conversation, he can repeat the same question over and over again. Even when you answer the question. He loses his train of thought in the middle of a conversation, and sometimes he loses interest before you even answer. He enjoys talking to adults, and he is great at remembering names. But, it is a struggle to talk to children his own age.

With his mobility and balance issues, walking down the steps first thing in the morning, takes about 3-5 minutes. Caiden is cautious of being off balance, so our pace is slow and steady. He needs help getting dressed and undressed( even though he is better at taking clothes off.) At school, he receives O.T., P.T., and speech. And if that isn't enough, after a long hard day at school, he goes to private P.T. every other week. He works three times as hard as other children his age because of this disability.

He can get angry and he lashes out at people around him. He immediately feels remorse and apologizes. But, sometimes, these episodes can last many minutes, which seems like forever when we are trying to calm him down. He can pinch, scratch and hit when he is lashing out.

He sleeps in a bunk bed, but he is basically locked in. This is to keep him safe. With a SD, I would feel safe letting him have a normal bed, because the SD could alert me if Caiden gets up out of bed.

Since Caiden is also delayed, he is only now starting to be potty trained. Again, it's another thing that most children his age don't have to deal with. I feel proud of how far he's progressed in this issue, but most people seem appalled that he isn't potty trained at 7.

We don't really do a lot of things together outside of the home, because Caiden prefers to stay home. He doesn't like crowds, and waiting in lines is next to impossible with him. Unexpected things throw him off balance. I go through his day with him numerous times, so he knows what's going to happen. Surprises, even good ones, aren't welcomed. He doesn't know how to handle the unexpected.

Caiden is a trooper. He gets pushed to his limits, and beyond sometimes. Sometimes, he has meltdowns. Other times, he rides it out. He struggles everyday. Some days are good, some days are bad. I wish he could explain how all this makes him feel, but for now, it isn't going to happen. I want to do all I can to help him succeed. I am so proud of all his hard work. I am proud to be his momma!

Now imagine there was a way to help Caiden with these daily struggles. Guess what? There is! Autism Service Dogs!!!

Not only can service dogs provide an overall calming effect for Caiden, there are a number of tasks his dog can be taught. These tasks include finding Caiden if he gets lost, serving as a stationary ballast in case of he tries to wander away, and providing redirection from repetitive or self injurious behaviors; among other tasks.

When paired with a service dog, children on the autism spectrum often have improved sleep patterns, increased social interaction and better ability to express themselves.

Now you might be thinking, "well how can I help?" You can DONATE today. If you have $1, $100, $1,000 - hey even a penny off the street that you can spare - we will take it because it all adds up.
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ToughLove GermanShepherds 
Denver, PA
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