Holden is an extremely active 5 year-old with severe autism. He loves to run, climb, play outside and in water. He loves to explore new places, loves live music and marching bands, and enjoys outdoor festivals.
He is currently non-verbal, and works so hard every single day to non-verbally express his wants and needs. He experiences frustration from his inability to communicate and will often scratch, bite, pinch or pull hair, simply because he has no other way to express his frustration.
Holden has to be closely monitored as he does not consistently respond to his name, and has no sense of danger. Furthermore, children with autism (Holden included) have a propensity to wander and an affinity towards water (a concern given our proximity to a large lake).
I have extensive precautions in place in order to keep Holden safe. I have gates preventing (or slowing) him from reaching exterior exits, and I try to keep the gate around our property closed as much as possible, as well. However, when it comes to Holden, you can never be too careful, and it is my responsibility to take every proactive measure possible to keep him safe.
Holden is one of the sweetest, most loving children you could ever hope to meet. On good days, he has the most infectious belly laugh that can immediately light up your entire day! And he is very blessed to have a very sweet, very precocious little sister who loves him very much!
Holden has really hard days, too, though. He tries so hard every single day to do the things he needs to do. He struggles to live in a world that often overwhelms him. He wants so badly to communicate. At the moment, he's doing everything his brain will allow him to do, but he has a physiological, brain-based disorder. And while I know that it is not curable, there are ways to keep him safe.
And that is one reason I am raising funds for Holden's service dog, his new best friend! In addition to shepherding Holden to prevent him from wandering, he will also be trained to locate Holden specifically by his scent, should he ever go missing (Heaven forbid). He will also be a wonderful companion for Holden. In addition to being Holden's best friend, he will also be trained to calm him, will attempt to keep him from eating objects he shouldn't eat, scratching until he bleeds, running out into the street, etc.
I know that this dog will be such an amazing companion for Holden and will immediately become a very cherished part of our family. We can't wait to meet him!
Please don't hesitate to ask questions... about Holden and/or about autism.
Thank you in advance for your support! :)
PLEASE NOTE: I am currently in the application process. Once Holden's application is approved, they will discuss pricing. I am currently estimating the cost of the service dog because we know that it will take me a long time to reach our goal and I want to go ahead and start saving. Once our application is approved and I know the actual price, I will update the amount with the actual cost. I do know that $11,000 is in the ballpark.