Are you going to help Savana gain independence?
I have created this page for my amazing daughter, Savana. She is a 13 year old girl who is autistic and suffers from PTSD. We are on a mission to raise enough money to train a Golden Retriever as a service dog to give her the independence she deserves. Please read on to find out why we need your help to give Savana the independence a service dog can bring. Savana is a smart, creative young person who will contribute so much to the world given the chance.
Savana has had a hard journey. Being undiagnosed with autism until age 10 and previously misdiagnosed, she is only beginning the journey of learning to live in a world that was not made for her. Along the way she has suffered trauma in daycares and school that still affect her.
I began to wonder if Savana had autism about 4 - 5 years ago however the psychiatrist we saw brushed it off because her symptoms did not look like the typical autistic child. Little did I know then that girls with autism can have very different characteristics than boys, who are the model for autism criteria. He diagnosed her with ADHD and Tourette's. As I researched these diagnoses, I began to realize that she did not have ADHD or Tourette's, and I pushed for a thorough autism diagnosis. I was correct and Savana had her autism diagnosis finally after over a year into the process.
The diagnosis of autism really made a difference in her life. I began to learn about how she saw the world, how overwhelming some sounds and environments could be for her. Ever since, it has been my mission to adjust our life as much as possible to encourage her growth and success, and find the services that will allow her to be successful.
On top of the journey to diagnose autism, Savana suffered trauma by daycare caregivers, and also from bullying throughout her K-5th grade education. Despite all these setbacks, Savana is kind, compassionate, creative and so smart. She loves creating art for people and seeing the joy it brings them. In addition to art, Savana loves playing the piano.
Still, Savana has great difficulty doing things that many people take for granted. Going out in public, interacting with her peers and often just interacting during regular family time poses a challenge for Savana. As much as we have adjusted our family for Savana, there are still many times that she becomes emotionally dysregulated and overwhelmed. She relies on me for doing simple things like going to the bathroom or going into dark rooms because she is unable to do so alone. She is actually the one who realized a service dog could fill in the gaps that I couldn't and could help her to gain independence that had seemed elusive.
The primary job of the service dog will be to: alert Savana to overstimulation and provide tactile calming or pressure therapy; interrupt emotional dysregulation; alert caregivers to a need for assistance; turn on lights when entering a dark room; and provide sensory stimulation. These are the specific tasks the dog will be trained to do initially. The dog will also be a friend and companion for Savana. She would like to gain independence to make friends, go to stores, go to church and possibly high school and college with her service dog.
I am a full-time mom and homeschool teacher. I began homeschooling Savana over 2 years ago when we realized that the public school system was not helping her. While we have everything we need, we cannot save up enough to pay for all of the service dog training. We are asking for your help to meet our goal to train Savana's service dog. We are committed to pay the costs associated with the purchase of the Golden Retriever from a reputable, established breeder and all the care the dog will need (i.e. food, veterinary, gear). We estimate this will be $6-9,000 in the first 2 years.
We are asking the Go Fund Me community to help us raise $10,000 to cover the costs for the professional dog trainer. This will be about a 2 year process of training the dog for all the tasks Savana needs.
Savana has taken a hands on approach in this fundraising which makes me exceedingly proud! She has spent hours creating art to sell in our neighborhood to raise money. All the money she raises will go towards training of the dog and his/her care.
I am thankful that you have gotten to the end. Thank you!! I hope that if you are able, you will contribute towards this cause. Every little bit helps!! Please share this with others who may want to help.
We will be starting a blog once we have the puppy to share Savana's journey, and the dog's training. Check back soon!
- Carol Bundock
- chelsea smith
- Allyn Bruty
- Lisa Pierleoni
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