Parents of autistic children have a lot to worry about.
We worry. Not just about the things every parent worries about, but all the normal worries with some extra twists. For example my wife and I don't worry about Xander fighting with his little brother. We worry that he will never interact with his little brother. We worry about new environments and too much stimulation making Xander melt down, causing us to avoid such situations and thereby decreasing Xanders chance at normal development. We don't worry about the kinds of friends Xander will have. We worry about whether or not he'll ever have friends. We worry about Xander wandering away as autistic children are prone to do. Xander is almost completely non-verbal. He won't tell you his name. He won't tell you where he lives. He won't tell you he needs help. Even worse we worry about him wandering away and finding a body of water. *In 2009, 2010, and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering*-Source: Interactive Autism Network Research Report: Elopement and Wandering (2011)
Lots to worry about.
Enter Jacob Bush and Argos K9 Unlimited. Jacob is dedicated to easing a bit of the worry we feel everyday by providing Xander with an autism service dog. Jacob is a retired Marine who trained K9's for military service. When we first contacted Jacob about an animal for Xander, the hour+ conversation that ensued left both parties feeling like this was going to be something big. Big for us, big for Xander. We thought our requests would be impossible, we thought we were asking too much. We were wrong. The dog Jacob will provide will be trained to:
Be a calming constant in new or strange situations
Transport Xander's communication device
Protect Xander from hazards (the stove, bodies of water, traffic)
Rescue Xander from water (if he goes in)
Stay with Xander if he wanders
Help with disorientation
Help with balance and stability (gross motor skills)
These are the things that Xander needs to help have a safe childhood while his communication abilities social skills improve.
The total cost for Xander's dog and training will be $12,000. We have put together $5,000 on our own and are reaching out for your help with the balance of $7,000. I know this animal will help Xander. Please help us make this happen.
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