Hi friends, I’m Andrew!
I’m 5 years old and just happen to have autism. Most of the time I’m just a normal little boy running, jumping, making lots of noise and often a mess, too! I love playing in the water, dancing, running fast, playing with Playdoh, visiting with different animals, and anything that has to do with the alphabet. My favorite foods are ice cream, chicken nuggets, and pizza. My favorite color is green and my little sister Molly is my best friend. We like to get into lots of mischief together. (My older siblings, Julian, Abby, and Jonah are pretty great, too.)
Sometimes my autism can slow me down a bit. It can cause a huge amount of stress for me and my family, too. Mom and Dad are worried 100% of the time that I’m going to get out of the house and run off. They worry I could get lost, hit by a car, or worse. We have at least 3 locks on all the doors and scary alarms that let them know when I’m up to mischief. We even have security cameras in case I get loose so they can know which direction. I like to make sure they are on their toes and test them regularly. We even had a professional baby-proofer come and I’ve managed to outsmart most of his handiwork! I’ve made it out of the house 3 times and was almost hit by a car once. It didn’t phase me in the slightest but I think my mom almost threw up. I’m glad I was wearing a hoodie she could pull me back by that day!
My mom has me in a special program at school to help keep me safe and I have lots of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social work sessions. I have 20 hours a week of ABA therapy, too. I’m a busy boy and I’m starting kindergarten in the fall!! I’m making great progress but still have a ways to go with learning to control my body, understanding safety, and dealing with my frustration. When I get upset I SCREAM and need deep pressure hugs to help calm me down. If I don’t get that fast enough, I will hurt myself by banging my head on a table, chair, the floor, or bite myself on the knee or arm to get the pressure I need. This is heartbreaking for my Mom and Dad. It is also a big problem because my little sister, who is my own personal shadow, is starting to do these things, too.
Recently, my mom found out that there are autism service dogs that would really be a huge help to me with a lot of my problems. An autism service dog would lay over me and create deep pressure to calm me down when I’m feeling overwhelmed so I don’t hurt myself and distract me by giving me kisses. My dog would also be tethered to me with a harness so I can walk independently in public! No more death grip-hand holding with Mom!! I would be able to hold onto my dog with my leash and my Mom will hold him with hers! Holding my Mom’s hand is fine for now but won’t be quite as cute when I’m 10. Not to mention I’m not gonna fit in that grocery cart at the store too much longer.
I also found out that my dog can be trained to track me by scent in case I still manage to give everyone the slip. (I can’t help myself, the feeling is exhilarating!!) My Mom saw a video clip from a service dog in our community tracking his boy and from that moment she was hooked! She says if we were to have a service dog, too, that we could go on more trips and adventures together as a family without being so worried the whole time. She says going places right now is often very stressful and scary. Especially because my communication skills are pretty limited and I’d have trouble answering questions if I got lost.
So… if by chance you’d like to help me raise money for my new best friend I’d really appreciate it! (co-best friend, Molly is still #1). Every little bit helps! The waiting list for placement gets longer by the minute so it’s time for me to get down to business. If you’d like to help me, you can donate directly on the 4 Paws for Ability website (be sure to put Andrew Edwards in the notes) or you can mail a check to them (with my name in the memo) at:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Andrew Edwards
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385
Thank you so much for reading about me!