My husband and I, along with a team of therapists and educators work hard each day to help these great qualities shine out instead of words like anxious, impulsive, stubborn, overwhelmed and destructive.
Since Mason was very young we have worked hard to support him socially, emotionally and with all daily routines. About a year and a half ago after numerous evaluations Mason was diagnosed with Autism and ADD. We were not surprised by the diagnosis, more so relieved that we now had a path to follow to better support our child. We love him and a label didn't make that any different.
So, we had a diagnosis and a hopeful plan. While some behaviors have waned we still work endlessly each day to help our buddy to remain positive and successful. Unfortunately, things like his anxiety result and inability to calm himself in overwhelming situations and is still a daily struggle.
Since his diagnosis my husband and I have been doing extensive research on Autism and anxiety and service and companion dogs continually show up as a positive tool in helping kiddos on the spectrum. We have even visited different service dogs of various breeds and talked with various trainers on temperaments and training program suggestions.
An autism service dog, for example, can accompany a child to decrease anxiety during medical or dental visits, school activities, shopping and travel. Some autism service dogs are trained to recognize and gently interrupt self-harming behaviors or help de-escalate an emotional meltdown. For instance, it might respond to signs of anxiety or agitation with a calming action such as leaning against the child or gently laying across his lap.
When we read this, I cried. I simply cried. I couldn't believe that this sort of training and support even existed.
When you see your child struggling each and every day it is heartbreaking. It is so hard to see the shining, unique personality of your little boy being overtaken by anxiety, uncontrollable outbursts and self-harming behaviors such as picking and negative self-talk.
We are willing to do anything to support our boys and if a service dog will give Mason even some relief in those moments of fight or flight we will do whatever it takes to bring that pup into our family.
Unfortunately, the opportunity to support your child with a service dog comes at a lofty price that our family at this point cannot afford without help. It will cost us up to $14,000 to purchase our dog and have it specifically trained in an ADA registered program specific to assisting children with Autism.
This is where we are hoping our community may be able to help. If we can relieve any of the cost in adding a service dog to our family we would be beyond grateful. As soon as we save up enough money we would be able to put our names on a list to recieve our dog and start the journey to helping Mason in a big way. We appreciate your generosity and support.
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