Hey Y'all!Our 5 year old son Will has Autism. We've been approved to receive a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. We fundraised in December 2014 and raised $15,190!!Our next step is to fundraise for the 2 weeks of travel expenses when we attend our July 2016 training class in Ohio to bring home Will’s service dog and we need your help!
Please purchase a puzzle piece and bring us one step closer to completing the missing piece of our family and bringing home Will's service dog!We thank you for anything you can do! Please read Will's story below and follow his journey on social media!
Meet Will! Will is 4 years old and loves trains, rescue vehicles, the iPad, running, jumping, and riding his bike. He's in his second year of early intervention special education preschool and having so much fun learning new things! Will is a happy boy who is very empathetic and loves to be silly!
Will has Autism. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at 25 months, just after his 2nd birthday. Autism affects 1 in 68 children and every child with autism is unique. There is no cure for Autism. Will's brain is wired differently. He is developmentally delayed in certain areas and struggles with social interactions, verbal, non-verbal and expressive communication, has restricted and repetitive behaviors, sleeping and sensory issues including having strong food aversions.
Will has trouble understanding what you say to him and cannot answer you directly. He cannot express how he's feeling so he easily gets frustrated and will get mad and start hitting himself. He withdraws and goes into his own world when overly stressed. He struggles transitioning from one task to another and needs to be informed of changes before they occur. Will has no sense of danger. And since he runs away from you when he's mad, we're afraid he'll run into the street or wander away. Because of this, we have hotel latches on all of our doors at home. Will has anxiety sleeping by himself and will wake in the night to either come sleep with us or play on his iPad (not getting enough rest). Having sensory issues is daunting. Will is sensitive to touch, loud noises, bright lights, textures, temperatures among other things. He has trouble making and maintaining eye contact while engaging with others. He seeks sensory input to help regulate his body. Often you'll see him spinning, jumping, running, climbing, hanging upside down, or throwing himself against objects.
Will has been thriving with early intervention! At 2 years old, he received in-home Occupational, Speech, and Behavioral therapies and was fortunate enough to participate in the TEACCH Autism program (TEACCH is a world renowned program sponsored by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill). Since age 3, Will has been in preschool continuing with OT and Speech therapy. Additionally he has required private OT food therapy each summer to address his aversions to many foods. We use verbal and visual prompts and keep a structured, routine environment for him (change creates feelings of fear and/or anxiety).
As Will continues to become more independent, it's presenting new challenges and dangers. But we do know Will has a bright future because he is surrounded with love and support from all of you!
Why a service dog?
We can't begin to put to words what a blessing it would be for Will to have his own Autism Assistance Service Dog. It would be amazing for our whole family. An autism assistance dog would be able to help Will in all situations and be able to go in any public area (protected by the ADA). This service dog will be trained specifically for Will's needs. Will's dog will be trained in search & rescue tracking, tethering, behavior intervention, and socialization.
The peace of mind that will come with our dog is unimaginable. Autism service dogs help children with self-confidence, independence, the ability to perform daily living tasks including sleeping, safety, and companionship and so much more. The benefits of a service dog for our whole family are priceless!
Why 4 Paws?
Our family supports the mission of 4 Paws for Ability.
4 Paws for Ability believes service dogs should be made available to any child with a disability who wishes to have the love, companionship, and independence that are the result of service dog placement.
At 4 Paws For Ability it costs $22,000 to train and place a service dog with a disabled child. However, our families engage in fundraising activities as volunteers for 4 Paws to qualify for a free service dog. However each family is required to engage in fundraising activities as volunteers for 4 Paws to offset the cost of the service dog. Each family is asked to help raise at least $14,000. By doing this, the waiting list is only as long as it takes the person to complete their fundraising requirement.
Every dollar helps and will bring us one day closer to Will meeting his amazing companion!!!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!
For more information about Will's journey, please visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pawsforwill. Feel free to email any question to: mailto:[email protected].