Eiji seeks autism service dog
I knew when he was just hours old that there was something wrong, but he wasn’t formally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder until January, about a month before his 3rd birthday.
He faces many challenges:
- Stimming (he picks his nose until it bleeds)
- Hospitalization due to his food aversions. He has gotten so sick twice and we couldn’t get him to eat or drink anything so he ended up staying several days in the hospital hooked up to IVs.
- He doesn’t recognize the sense of hunger, so he’ll go days without eating unless you force him. He hasn’t grown much since he was 1 year old. Our 1-year-old son and he wear the same size clothing and weigh the same.
- No interactions with peers. He’s unable to play with other children, as he never moved past parallel play. The children notice and either run from him or make fun of him.
- He’s non-verbal. He cannot even tell you his name. If he gets lost, he won’t be able to tell anyone who he is or where he came from.
- We can’t really take him anywhere. He either wanders away or melts down. People around us tend to make nasty comments about how we should “beat” him or discipline him better.
-He harms himself when he’s angry. He beats his head into the floor, walls, or with his fists. Sometimes it takes nothing more than a look to set him off.
Eiji loves animals. My boss has two Labrador retrievers and they are the only “people” that he shows human affection towards. He plays with them every day. He asks for them if we’re not there by repeating their names over and over again.
He loves cars, especially finding out how they work. He’s got this drive to find out how everything works. He will make a great engineer some day.
He is highly intelligent. The pediatrician projects that he will be enrolled in college by 15 years old. He was reading at his second birthday without any instruction ever. He also will speak in Japanese, even though we can’t get him to speak in English. He has learned that merely from the anime that we watch.
He only has repetitive language. Meaning he only says things he’s heard that day. When he was getting his IV in February rather than scream “No! Stop! Ouch!” he was screaming “Hexagon! Apple Pie! Door!”
We’re hoping for two major things to happen for Eiji with an autism assistance dog—first to give him more freedom.
He wanders with no sense of danger. Being tethered to the dog will keep him from having to hold our hands (which he hates!) but won’t allow him to get away from us. We live in the D.C. Metro area and it’s a dangerous place for a 3 year old to get lost (traffic, thousands of people rushing about, etc.). The other is to give him a friend. Eiji has no friends. He can’t connect to other children, even though he tries so hard. He gets lonely and feels isolated because no one will interact with him except his siblings.
The other perks for him will be to have a constant familiar presence when transitioning from one activity or place to another. He has a really hard time shifting gears and we’re hopeful that having the dog as a constant he’ll be better able to do it.
We also hope he’ll start sleeping in his own bed with his forever friend. He’s never slept in his own bed. Ever. Even as an infant we couldn’t get him to.
As he gets older, we’re fearful that the wandering will turn into running off. We’re afraid that we’ll wake up one morning and he’ll have gotten out of the house. Having a dog to point us in the right direction could be the difference between life and death for him.
Meltdowns are a daily struggle for us. We’re hopeful that the dog will discourage meltdowns and also be able to pull him out of them by redirecting his attention or lying across his lap.
His stimming (making his nose bleed) would be able to be redirected by the dog as well.
Eiji gets his name from an anime character (my husband is Asian and we wanted our children to have Asian names). Eiji is a character that plays tennis. He’s a happy go lucky guy whose head tends to stay in the clouds. Ironically, that’s exactly how our son is. Eiji is a great tennis player but he plays doubles with his best friend Oishi. Oishi is his best friend and has his feet firmly planted on the ground. He’s a very kind and gentle guy who keeps Eiji out of trouble and helps him with his struggles. They are the perfect yin and yang. They are called the “Golden Pair” because they are so perfect together as friends that they are unstoppable on the tennis court. We are hopeful that we’ll be able to name Eiji’s dog Oishi to honor the bond that they’ll have, just as the Golden Pair did. It sounds cheesy to many, but it means a lot to us.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Eiji. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help. If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now) or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Eiji Hoffman, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.