Autism Service Dog for Aedan

Aedan is a sweet 5 year old boy with autism. He is severely affected by lights, sounds, and social situations. As Aedan gets older he seems to have a harder time coping with everyday sensory input. When he gets overloaded he runs laps around the house, walks in circles while staring at the ceiling and making noises, or retreats under a blanket with his ears covered. He may scream, cry, and hit himself because life is so overwhelming. Aedan is constantly under assault by things you and I never even notice. We don’t often leave the house but when we do venture from home we so do with trepidation. One loud noise, too many people, an unexpected event will send him into a complete meltdown.
It breaks my heart that his life is such a struggle at 4. I fear for the difficulties to come as he gets older and is expected to cope with more. For a majority of the time he is lost to us, in his own world. We do all we can to pull him out. On the rare occasion he really looks at me with those big brown eyes my heart melts and breaks at the same time. I know then he sees me and knows my love for him, but it is brief. I want to do all we can to make his life less stressful, easier, and ultimately happy.
We are asking for help to get Aedan a service dog that is specially trained for children with autism to provide emotional support, stress reduction, as well as to help keep him safe. Aedan wanders, he has no concept of what is dangerous or harmful. A service dog is trained to alert in these situations. He also suffers from insomnia. At night his brain goes into overdrive and cannot relax. Service dogs provide comfort and have a calming effect to improve sleep.
The dog training program ranges from $13000-$18000 and is a year long. This dog will be Aedans constant companion for the next 10-15 years, and will even accompany him to school. People are hard for Aedan, it’s too hard to look at us, talk to us, socialize. But a dog has no expectations of him. It will just be at his side to help him navigate the constant barrage of sensory input. The dogs are trained to act like a living weighted blanket to help calm children and they can sense when anxiety levels rise allowing them to prevent meltdowns.
We are hoping that this will help Aedan to come back to us a little more often, be available to learn more, have more positive social interactions, and just be happier.
Please visit the link below to learn more about the Ry-Con service dog program and the Briards they train. The dog will start out at the training facility in March and stay for about 7 months for intensive training. They will work closely with Aedan to tailor the training to meet his needs. So the newest furry member of the clan should join us sometime this fall!
We thank you for taking the time to read our story and we are truly grateful for your donations and your continued support by sharing our story.
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Michelle Williams 
Garner, NC
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