Thank you for your interest in learning more about Justin Greenaway. We are pursuing a service dog for Justin due to his underlying diagnoses of autism and ADHD.
Justin is the sweetest, most innocent, and non-malicious 8-year-old boy you will ever meet! He has big beautiful eyes with long eyelashes that “bat” when he is trying to charm you or when he finds something funny. Justin has a twin sister and an older brother who love and accept him unconditionally and are totally invested in promoting his growth. He is blessed to be surrounded by a loving supportive family that will do anything to help him achieve his greatest potential. To this end, we believe that having a service dog will help Justin refrain from engaging in disruptive or potentially dangerous behaviors, calm down when he is upset and cannot express why, learn how to socialize and reciprocate appropriate behavior, and remain safe.
From the beginning we have been pro-active in our efforts to help Justin, even if it meant facing an incredibly emotional and bureaucratic journey. When Justin was an infant, it was clear that something was different. Justin would not make eye contact and seemed to enjoy “living in his own bubble.” Any noise or large gatherings bothered him so much that going out to social events became a challenge. He was also so hyper! Keeping him safe and happy was an exercise in patience and endurance. Later, when he began pre-school, he could not sit with peers during circle-time, preferring to “listen” while hiding under a table. He was often misunderstood and difficult to engage. He did not speak. During this time, Justin was provided with Early Intervention services, later transitioned to an in-district school with supportive services, and subsequently transferred to an out-of-district school that was better suited to address his needs. We also obtained ABA services for him to receive at home, after school. In the midst of dealing with all of the concerns identified above, Justin was also hospitalized with the RSV virus when he was 3-months-old and battled multiple ear infections as an infant and toddler. Moreover, he underwent several surgeries which included placing ear tubes in each ear, removing his adenoids (were causing sleep apnea) and later removing his tonsils.
Despite these many challenges, Justin is a survivor and we are very grateful that he has been able to make great strides as a result of all of our advocacy efforts. While he is not conversational, Justin is now able to make simple requests. He loves to play on his trampoline, ride his bike, swing “high” on a swing, participate in art activities, and go for long walks. Justin enjoys the outdoors, loves dancing and listening to music, and likes to be around his family. He is a happy boy who is both loving and likable.
A service dog could make a significant difference in helping Justin continue to make progress and remain safe. Justin is always “on the go” and really has no concept of danger. He cannot be left unattended. Justin will easily reach to touch something on the stove, jump from a high place, or run into danger without thinking twice. He also does not feel pain the way most people feel pain. He may injure himself and yet barely cry and since he cannot express what he is feeling it is hard to know how hurt he actually is. Due to PICA, Justin also likes tasting non-edibles like lotion and soap. We are often scared that he may ingest something that may poison him. A service dog will prevent Justin from placing himself in a dangerous situation and help us by monitoring him during the split seconds that we look away and he quickly engages in these behaviors.
Additionally, although Justin can be very charming and loving with the people that he closest to, he finds it hard to “connect” and socialize with others. While he is very aware of everything happening in his environment and may be interested in approaching someone, he is awkward in his approach and unable to communicate his interests or thoughts. As a result, he stays close to family and unless he is re-directed to play appropriately, he may isolate preferring to “stim” strings or necklaces in order to self-soothe and entertain himself. A service dog will help Justin have more opportunities to engage with children or adults seeking to speak to him about the dog. These experiences may enhance his ability to learn how to communicate better with others and feel comfortable with social interactions. By having a dedicated service dog, Justin will be able to experience friendship and love outside of his family and therapists. Perhaps he will even learn reciprocity and how to “care for” another. The service dog could also be extremely useful in interrupting stimming behaviors.
Lastly, it is also hard to know when Justin is going to have a “meltdown.” Sometimes it happens when he is denied access to a preferred item, sometimes when he is transitioning to something less interesting, or “feels” something that he is unable to communicate. At times, there is no apparent reason. A service dog may be able to help Justin calm down when he is frustrated or upset and thwart any injurious behavior. Perhaps the service dog will get to know Justin so well that he may recognize when Justin’s mood is shifting and interrupt a downward spiral before it begins?
It costs at least $40,000 to specially train a dog for Justin. Families cover only a portion of that cost, a fee of $17,000. We are fundraising to help cover the fee required to provide Justin with a life-changing service dog. Donations in support of Justin should be made directly to 4 Paws for Ability – be sure to write Justin Greenaway on the memo line. Mail checks to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Justin Greenaway
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.
If you wish to make an online donation, the website is www.4pawsforability.org/donate-now . Include Justin’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. You may also call to make a credit card donation over the phone at (937) 374-0385 – Monday thru Friday 9AM to 4PM EST.
Thank you for your support!
We are extremely grateful to anyone who chooses to contribute towards our fundraising goal. While this is certainly a lot of money, we are confident that with the help of people like yourself we will achieve this goal and Justin’s life will be forever changed in so many positive ways and for years to come!!! Thank you for playing a role in moving Justin forward…