Most of you know our story and the miracle behind our little boy, Liam! We dealt with a long, painful road of infertility and endured the lost of 9 pregnancies. After countless tears and nearly 7 years, the Lord blessed us with a wonderful family who stepped forward, in a selfless act, to carry our child for us! These last 2 years have been nothing short of amazing - something that still feels surreal. We still find ourselves saying, "Can you believe we have a baby upstairs sleeping right now!" After dealing with so much heartache we never thought we would have this blessing!
The first year with Liam was a dream come true. Everything was perfect, Liam was reaching his milestones (most of them early) and was even our little social butterfly but then things slowly started to change
A year ago we started to have some concerns with Liam's development, minor things that maybe were nothing, but as a mom who already has a child with autism these things seemed big! We spent 6 months with people telling me "he's a boy they develop late" "he was born early, just give him some time" "ah don’t worry about it, my kid was the same way and they are talking non-stop now!" "all little boys are crazy, he will be easier when he gets older" and the list goes on.
At Liam’s 2-year Well Baby appointment, on May 19, 2016, we brought up our concerns with his pediatrician and immediately she referred Liam out to start speech and occupational therapies. She also offered to put in a referral to see a Developmental Pediatrician and a Genetics Specialist for further evaluation.
On August 30, 2016 we walked into the Developmental Pediatricians office, I knew how things were going to go but was hoping I was being overly worried. It was suppose to be a 90 min appointment but it didn’t take near that long. The 2 doctors walked out of the room and less than 5 minutes later walked back in, sat down on the chair across form us and said "Liam fits the criteria for Autism. He is Autistic
(more to the story under the picture)
Probably not a normal parental response but we felt blessed
and relieved walking back out of that office knowing our child was Autistic. People may think we are crazy when we say “blessed” but when you know something is wrong with your child you just want to help them … and now we can. If you have been given this journey, or are familiar with this road, you know the importance of early intervention. Most would consider the news of Autism a curse but we consider it a blessing. We know providing therapy at a very young age
, when a child’s brain development is most receptive to learning, can alter the course of autism.
Our little boy is healthy, he is happy, and he is thriving. He isn’t sick. He isn’t dying. He doesn’t have a terminal illness or a painful condition that affects his everyday living. What we do from here forward will shape his development and his future
and we are doing everything we can to help retrain his brain to process in a more organized way.
Immediately after getting his confirmed diagnosis we began looking into a service dog for him. The child psychologist
we work with said she has seen more improvement in 1 year in a child with a service dog than in 3-4 years in a child without a service dog
. That was all we needed to hear. As a parent you know that you will do absolutely anything to make sure your child has the best chance at a functioning future.
An autism service dog not only helps with a child’s development, social skills and anxiety but a service dog can also provide unconditional, nonjudgmental love and companionship. In a world that is tough to go through for a typical person it can be even more difficult for a child with behaviors that make them different. Unfortunately at 2.5 years old the teasing and getting made fun of has already started.
We had reference letters from Liam’s Developmental Pediatrician, general pediatrician, and his social worker sent to the service dog organization and the trainer. We are now just waiting for his match and hoping we can bring his dog home around February but our prayer is that the Lord handpicks and matches the perfect dog for him
despite when that may be.
The breakdowns of the specific costs are the following:
o Deposit to hold our spot with the trainer = $500
o Cost of puppy = $1,300
o Training = $7.000
o Travel costs to Utah (Flown or driven for pickup) = $500
The service dog will go through roughly a 8-9 month service dog course with the last 2 months of the program dedicated to learning tasks specific to Liam’s needs.
There is no donation too small. We are grateful and blessed at any finacial help in aiding us to reaching our goal. There is no way we could ever fully express our gratitude for supporting our family through out everything - when we started out on our journey to have Liam, over the last 2 years of watching him grow, now to the news of his autism diagnose and helping to bring his autism service dog home. Your support has repeatedly played a key role in giving us hope
for the future and we know with the help of all our friends and family we will be able to give Liam the support he needs to thrive.