Hi, I'm Lizzy Walsh, I'm fundraising for an autism service dog for my grandson Orion. We were recently accepted onto the Autism Dogs CIC programme and the process of getting Orion his dog has begun.
I expect most people know nothing about autism service dogs and what they can bring to a child with autism. They are taught special skills specific to the autistic persons greatest difficulties. These can include; anti-bolting (to stop the person running into traffic etc), meltdown support, sleep support and self harm prevention. You could look at the Autism Dogs CIC website for more information at www.autismdogs.co.uk . Due to the high level of training and service dog status the dog will cost £12995, which is a lot of money for myself and my daughter Chen who is a Speech and Language Therapy student.
This wonderful service dog will completely change Orion's life and he will be able to access so many places that he is currently unable to including shops and other public places. Orion is non-verbal which causes him be become very frustrated when he cannot communicate, he often hurts himself such as banging his head on the floor or with objects, he also hits and scratches himself and pulls his hair. This is very distressing for him and to witness, a service dog can help soothe and calm him before he reaches this point. Orion bolts if not restrained in a pushchair (which he is too big for) which is very dangerous when trying to get out and about, the service dog will be taught to prevent bolting and will be harnessed to Orion, so he will have more freedom to explore and play safely. Orion also has difficulty falling and staying asleep the service dog will be taught to cuddle Orion to provide pressure like a living furry weighted blanket to help him sleep.
Orion is a beautiful, happy child with an infectious laugh and a love of all animals, particularly dogs. Any donation would be greatly received to help Orion access every day places and activities that most take for granted.