Help Omri: Autism Service Dog

I am very fortunate to be friends with a great family who live just outside of London, England.  My friends have been blessed with 4 amazing and beautiful children.  Omri (second youngest) is 5 years old and was diagnosed as autistic just after he turned 3.  To complicate matters, they also spend significant time helping their oldest son succeed with Downs's Syndrome. Despite the many challenges of raising sons with Autism and Down Syndrome, they are a positive, happy and loving family.  My friends  would never ask for financial support that is why it is my personal mission to help raise money for Omri. 

Omri doesn’t really speak much and can find it hard to communicate his likes, dislikes, wants, desires and needs.  This makes him anxious and stressed.  He also struggles in unfamiliar environments, especially very busy or noisy ones, like shops or restaurants.  As a result, it is impossible for the Avivi family to do anything outside of the home as a family. 

Omri loves animals, especially sharks, dolphins, whales and dinosaurs. His parents noticed that when Omri was upset or frustrated, dogs have had an incredibly positive impact. When he gets up close to a dog and pets it, he instantly calms down.  He can sit for a considerable amount of time just next to the dog, holding its paw, stroking it and chatting to it.  Omri, the boy who rarely speaks and is often anxious, is transformed in the company of dogs. He is transfixed and calm!

Omri often finds it difficult to fall asleep and wakes up frequently in the night. His parents believe that having the comfort of a ‘furry friend’ with him in his room, will aid his sleep and keep him calmer at bed times. It is for this reason that they started to look into getting Omri a special assistance dog.  A dog that will be a positive influence and a companion to him but also one that will hopefully help them to keep him safe whilst out and about.

Having done a ton of research on the matter, they found an organisation called Autism Dogs which specifically trains assistance dogs to help children with Autism. Unfortunately, it’s not just a matter of buying a dog.  Training is lengthy, and the dog will be trained in techniques that mitigate or help with some of the challenges or conditions specific to Omri (for example warning of danger and helping to prevent Omri from running into dangerous situations). Autism Dogs matches a dog based on type, weight, color, age, temperament to Omri's specific needs. In paying such attention to each individual case, the Autism Dogs Team will train the dog to suit Omri and help him to succeed in life.  It may be intervention through anxiety or meltdown, confidence to go out into public places without bolting, retrieving items when feeling weak or unable, assist with self-care like fetching fallen items.

The actual cost of the Assistance Dog Programme is approximately  $15,000. Please help  Omri succeed with Autism and give my friends a  chance to be a family both inside and outside of their home.  For everyone who donates and helps support this life changing venture, we thank you with all our hearts and take the knowledge that you will be improving Omri and his family's life.  We look forward to updating you on their journey and the  life improvement for Omri and their family.


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Derek Abramovitch 
Deerfield, IL
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