My son Jaycob was diagnosed with Autism at 3 years old , he is now 5 . Jaycob is non verbal and has difficulties communicating . Due to his Autism and lack of communication Jaycob has no sense of danger, like none at all ! Jaycob would walk infront of a moving car without a second thought , run off without the fear of being lost , jump into water without being able to swim or tell anyone his name , my name , dad's name or anything else to help find where he's from and so many more frightening situations . On the 4th of October at about 6.30 pm i was in the kitchen making dinner , i had my 2 yr old waiting hungry my teething baby sooky and rice overflowing on the stove . I had seen Jaycob walk into our front lounge room and i assumed he was going to rest on the lounge because he was very tired from school . 5 - 10 minutes went by and i had this gut wrenching feeling and thought to myself "i can't hear him" , i was hoping i was walking out to the lounge room to find him asleep but what i found was Jaycob gone and our fly screen on our low window out the front of the house pushed out from the inside , he had taken off ! I can't even begin to describe the feeling i felt , a parent's worst nightmare . Jaycob is not able to alert someone for help , get to a safe place or find his way home and in that split second my thoughts went to a very dark place . I ran out the front screaming his name and then i see a lady holding his hand walking up my drive way , i just dropped and squeezed him . This lady and her husband were walking by my house at exactly the right moment , they saved my little boy from getting lost or worse .
For a while now I've been wanting to apply to get Jaycob an Autism assistance dog but to do so i have to raise $20,000 to donate to SmartPups , a non for profit organisation that is run by volunteers and funded purely off donations from the public . Some of the thing's that these dog's are trained to do are .
Tethering - we attach Jaycob to his assistance dog by a belt around the waste with a lead attached to the working coat of the dog . If in an avent Jaycob were to run off unexpectedly the dog is trained to sit or lay down and act as an anchor to prevent Jaycob running off into traffic or bolting through the busy shopping centre. It also gives Jaycob the freedom to walk along side us comfortably without the worry from us and the constant strict hand holding .
Jaycob is very prone to running off , so we are forced to put him in a pram at 5 yrs old or constant very strict hand holding which is so hard with two other children . He also gets very frustrated with this because he just wants to be like everyone else and walk but for his own safety , he can't .
Tracking- If god forbid Jaycob were to get lost the assistance dog is trained to track him and find Jaycob . This could possibly save his life . If those people weren't walking by my house Jaycob would have been gone . An Autism assistance dog would of been a massive life saver for Jaycob lastnight if the situation didn't pan out the way it did . No parent should ever have the constant worry of their child getting lost .
Social interaction- Jaycob has a very hard time making friend's and for a mum to see your 5 year old child not being able to interact with the other kid's or make a friend is heartbreaking but having an assistance dog he will always have a friend and it will aslo give him something to talk about to other's when he does learn how to communicate . For most children/ Adults with Autism it's very hard to start and hold conversations and form friendships .
Behavior disruption- the Dog's are trained to nudge or calm the child if they see repetitive behavior which usually ends up in a meltdown if they can't redirect themselves or they have found a way to distract themselves and for Jaycob he finds it very difficult to come back from a meltdown . For a little boy these meltdowns are very tiring and exhausting. Imagine crying for hours on end and finally calming down , afterwards you experience a pounding headache , tiredness and just pure exhaustion. Now imagine you were a 5 yr old child feeling like that . Seeing him so upset and frustrated is very upsetting to watch .
Having an Autism assistance dog will give him so much freedom just to be a kid ! And it will give us so much peace of mind.
The $20,000 will help Jaycob receive a little buddy that will be a constant friend , help him with day to day struggles and help to keep him safe . These dog's could one day save a life and I'm sure plenty of the graduated trained dog's have done exactly that in the past for many children .
If you could find it in your hearts to donate or even just Share this go fund me page you have no idea how much you'd be helping our family .
We thank everyone in advance for your kind donations and support towards our little boy .
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