Make A Dream Come True

 

  Kai Foutts Korigan Gibbons Joshua Caudle Corrina Carlos Jamiee Lynn Hein Aarilynne McConnell Nicholas Howard Alana Mulvany Mia Perez Eiji Hoffman Hazaiah Fulwood Miakoda Weekley Rayne Fantigrossi Zachary Harper Elijah Schwartfigure Noah Davis Aaron Harris CJ Alter Mattison Kimbler Miles Garcia Jackson Christian Burt George Lindeman Luke Wilcox Cody McGillem Mathew Farnam DJ Bowman  Jacob Vega Kayden Wilson Jake Sprowl Mark Tyskiewicz Eli Silverman

 

An Autism Assitance dog would be a great match for Eli

spring&summer&wedding_087Elijah, “Eli” for short, is a happy, healthy 4 ½ year old boy.  He loves dinosaurs and sharks, loves watching movies and documentaries, and loves the beach and the swings at the park.  Eli has an older sister Lillie and they are 16 months apart.  Lillie always loved attention and Eli was very content sitting in his bouncy seat watching television.  Their father and I both work long hours and didn’t think much about Eli’s lack of needing attention.   He was always a very affectionate baby and loved being held, hugged, and kissed.  Around 9 months old, I started to notice Eli’s laid back personality, content to be left alone, and lack of eye contact.  I chalked it up to just being the polar opposite of his sister.  He hit all of his milestones and even walked at 10 ½ months.  He talked a little bit and sang songs between 12 and 18 months.  I mentioned my concerns to the doctor at every appointment and was told that Eli was fine, that girls are more advanced, and that I should stop comparing the two. 

After his 18 month check up, Eli started to regress rapidly.  He stopped singing, stopped talking, and started to make odd noises and hand gestures.  At Lillie’s 2nd birthday party, Eli had his first of many meltdowns.  He was absolutely inconsolable unless he was outside away from the people and the noise.  Of course, I immediately started doing research and found a lot of his characteristics to be consistent with Autism.  I was quickly dissuaded from this by friends and family who assured me that he was too affectionate to be autistic.  I let them convince me, but still felt there was something off about Eli.  By the time his two year check up came along, I had put autism out of my mind, however was still concerned about his lack of speech.  The doctor decided to send him for a hearing test because he had chronic fluid in his ears, although no ear infections.  Eli did not pass his hearing test so they referred us to see a speech therapist and also mentioned that I should get in touch with early intervention. 

I will never forget the day of the speech evaluation. 

The therapist confirmed the suspicions I had quickly dismissed, my son was Autistic.  I felt like my world was falling apart, but was relieved that we could now focus on getting him the help he needed.  Eli went through early intervention until he was 3 and then was put into a full day special needs preschool class.  The school provides speech, occupational, and physical therapy for him.  He also sees a behavioral therapist 4 times a week outside of school and is now in his second year of preschool.  Eli has come a long way and although he is still considered non verbal, his spontaneous language has greatly improved over the last year. 

Eli has several limitations that are not only concerning, but frightening.  He has just recently started to become more social with peers, but only in a controlled group setting. Eli makes strange noises and hand motions that causes other children and sometimes adults to stare at him.  His sleeping patterns are very erratic and he is only content when sleeping with somebody.  Most of the time he walks around with large dark circles and in a daze from being so tired.  Eli does not transition well from preferred activities such as leaving the beach or the park.  It turns into a huge meltdown with him screaming and collapsing to the ground.  The most frightening issue he has is the tendency to wander and bolt.  It is not all the time, but Eli will just take off into the street with no warning or run into the waves at the beach with no regard for his own safety.  In a store or other crowded area Eli needs to be supervised 100% of the time or he will simply walk away. 

We feel that an Autism Assistance Service Dog will be so beneficial for him and for the entire family.  First and foremost he will have a desperately needed companion and friend that loves him unconditionally.  The dog will provide opportunities for increased social interaction as most children will be interested in meeting his dog.  The dog will be trained to distract him while transitioning which will limit the frequency and severity of his meltdowns.   We are also hoping that his sleeping habits will improve because he will have a big furry friend to cuddle with every night.  If Eli ever manages to run away the dog will be trained to track him and will also be tethered to him in crowded places.

We are asking that you donate to this wonderful organization so that families like ours are able to receive service dogs to help their children.  Please help us in raising these funds to get Elijah the safety and companionship that a service dog will provide for him.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a service dog with Eli. 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). Include the name, Eli Silverman in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Eli Silverman, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Imagine: Mark with a life-changing service dog

imageMark is a 13 year old boy who loves his iPads, loves to read books, loves to swim, and enjoys playing with his stuffed “friends”. Mark was born with a rare genetic disorder that causes him to have multiple disabilities and global developmental delays. Mark spent the first 18 months of his life in a laundry basket filled with foam rubber due to his low motor tone but through hard work and many hours of therapy he can now walk unassisted. Mark still uses a transport chair for long distances. He suffers from apraxia and is labeled nonverbal but uses his electronic devices and a few phrases to communicate with us. Mark demonstrates autistic like behaviors and needs help to calm down. Mark does not recognize dangerous situations and will walk out into traffic if not supervised. Mark suffers from sleep apnea and a severe circadian rhythm disorder. These sleep issues have kept Mark, his father and me from sleeping through the night for 13 years.

Imagine Mark being able to sleep through the night. Imagine Mark having a few ‘feet’ of independence, being tethered to his dog walking through the mall, fair, or amusement park. Imagine Mark not needing to ride in his transport chair just so he doesn’t get swept up in a crowd or wander away to explore his environment. Imagine me, his mom, having a sense of security knowing that if he should run away his service dog could track him and find him quickly, quite possibly saving his life!!!!!

A multipurpose service dog would also use deep pressure, kisses, and snuggling to disrupt negative behaviors, therefore decreasing Mark’s anxiety and helping him with social interaction.

Although Mark has been accepted as a service dog recipient, we need help from the community to make the dream a reality as we enter the fundraising portion of the process. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Mark. 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) and use Paypal or mail a check with Mark’s name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Mark Tyskiewicz, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Jake’s Cause

get-attachment-3.aspxJacob Sprowl is a wonderful, caring 11 year old child that is caught up in the turmoil of a disorder that leaves him frustrated and exhausted. Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. TS, as it is often referred to, is more common in males than females, and usually manifests itself between the ages of 3 and 9. To add to the burden Jake was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. Many children with AS are highly active in early childhood, but some may not reach milestones as early as other children regarding motor skills such as pedaling a bike, catching a ball, or climbing outdoor play equipment. Jake has a bike sitting in the garage that he never mastered, even though he has tried on numerous occasions. Simple things to us are mountains to climb for a child with these disorders.

Jake’s day can start out on the good side and at the drop of a hat come crashing down around him. The motor and verbal tics associated with TS can be awkward and embarrassing.  As he grows older some repression of the tics by Jake can hide the disorder from others, but is still happening full fold to his mind, body and soul. Tics are often worse with excitement or anxiety and better during calm, focused activities. Certain physical experiences can trigger or worsen tics, for example tight collars may trigger neck tics, or hearing another person sniff or throat-clear may trigger similar sounds. Jake has both verbal and motor tics. He will sometimes talk with a gruff voice, just like you would if you had a “frog” in your throat. Another normal tic in Jake’s everyday life is “tooting”, a sound made by pursing his lips. A motor tic for Jake is jerking of his arms or kicking his backside with his feet when he walks. Tapping is another demon that haunts Jake. It can be with his foot or hand, loud or soft, but always noticeable. It allows an outlet for the anger that builds within him.

He cannot tie his own shoes. This is an overwhelming task that the family has tried to teach him. So we must tie his shoes for him. They must be tied a certain way; not to tight, not to loose. The bow must be centered and straight. This complexity is from another disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His homework must be written a certain way and if he is not satisfied he will erase it, or write it over and over until he puts a hole in the paper. OCD affects Jake’s daily routines, in that everything must be done in order or a certain way.

Anger and anxiety have now become a part of Jake’s life. The frustration of TS, Asperger’s and OCD has taken a toll on his daily school ritual and his home life. The desks in his homeroom at school must be lined up every day when he enters the room. This may seem trivial to you, but to a child with OCD and AS everything must be in its place. Jake struggles when everyday life does not go according to plan. When the frustration and anger take over Jake has trouble speaking. He tries to calm himself down to the point where he can talk, but this can take time. He has learned to “breathe”, taking deep breaths in and out allowing him time to acclimate to the ongoing crisis. This may not always work but gives the adult involved a chance to work with Jake to re-direct his actions or feelings.

Jake’s life is also affected by his hearing loss. When Jake was young he had numerous ear infections and the doctor recommended tubes. The tubes left holes in the ear drums. There were numerous surgeries attempting to patch the holes. After 7 surgeries he still has a hole in one ear drum and the bones that sit behind the other ear drum have withered away from the infections.  His most recent surgery was to repair a concaved ear drum. Jake has moderate to severe conductive hearing loss and wears hearing aids in both ears.

Jake enjoys playing the trumpet in his 5th grade band at his local middle school. He is involved in Boy Scouts, 4H and is an acolyte at his church. He carries excellent grades with the help of his teachers, office staff, assistant principal and principal. We could not ask for a better school district that is willing and able to work with a child with disabilities. It takes a village to raise a child and our district is the village.  The Sprowl family is forever grateful to everyone who cares for Jake during school hours when we cannot be with him.

We look forward to a new addition to the family. A service dog will give Jake the best friend that he so desperately needs, and help deter the meltdowns with a nuzzle, a touch or a lick. To give Jake some normalcy in his life, to take the pressures from the day and melt them away would be an awesome experience that he deserves. We do believe a service dog would do that for our Jake. Please help the cause, Jake’s cause.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a multi-purpose dog with Jake. 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). Include the name, Jacob Sprowl in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Jacob Sprowl, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you in advance,

The Sprowl Family

Helping Kayden on his quest for a service dog

get-attachment-1Kayden is a loving goofy 8 year old boy.  He loves monkeys, skylanders, playing his Xbox, playing games on his tablet, and watching the Disney Channel. 

At a young age we knew Kayden was different than other kids.  He was not talking yet at the age of 2.  He did not respond to voices or baby talk or even look at others as a baby.  Kayden was diagnosed with Autism in February 2008 at the age of 2.  At that time Kayden was not speaking and only lived in his world.  He started speech therapy, occupational therapy and early childhood education.  At the age of 3 ½ he was finally able to start applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy.  Kayden finally began to interact, talk, and learn the things that 3 years should know.  A year later he was doing fabulous he was meeting his ABA goals, was challenging his therapists and was starting to come out of the autism shell. 

Throughout this time Kayden was extremely aggressive and when he would get upset it would be severe, unprompted and sudden.  We decided to try some medications to help him get more out of ABA.  He began medications and they really helped him.  He “graduated” from ABA after 3 years (that is all that our state pays for) and he was doing well in Kindergarden with his medications. 

Winter of 2013 it came to our attention that the high dose of medication was harming Kayden physically.  Under the care of a doctor we attempted to lower his dose to one more appropriate for his size and age and it was found to have no effect.  That is when we decided that medications were not going to continue to help him. 

Summer of 2013 came and Kayden has regressed to a dramatic effect.  Our little guy was gone again.  His aggression returned, his sensory problems returned, his social awareness left, he would run away, going out in public became difficult, and his communication would come and go.  Times got very tough and he was asked to leave a traditional summer camp.

We knew then we had to do something….but we did not know what. 

A friend mentioned that they had received an autism service dog….hmmm we knew that our current dog (who unfortunately has since passed due to age) always had a calming effect on Kayden so maybe that would be a good idea.  More research was needed.  We researched different companies and exactly what a service dog could do to help Kayden.  What we found was hope!  That is when we found 4 Paws for Ability….they are dedicated to helping kids at all levels of autism.  We learned from them how an autism service dog could help Kayden in public, help to not run off or wander into a parking lot, help him at home and teach him how to care for a dog.

Currently today Kayden has a hard time in public.  He will run off or wander off at the store.  Loud places make him anxious and bother his ears.  We cannot visit anywhere that he will become over stimulated.  At home it is a constant battle to get him to do the things that you would expect of an 8 year old.  He is very aggressive to his brother and stimms a lot at home.  Kayden has no friends and is not really social and only prefers to be at times with his parents or grandparents.

We have explained to Kayden about this dog and how it could really help him and he is so excited to get his dog.  Please consider helping Kayden get the dog that he so desperately needs! 

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a multi-purpose dog with Kayden. 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). Include the name, Kayden Wilson in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Kayden Wilson, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Waiting for his best friend

vegaDustin “Jacob” Vega is a 13 year old, who was diagnosed with Generalized Epileptic Seizures, Along with Depression, Asthma, and Sleep Disorder.
 
Jacob loves Lego’s, video games and helping others. He is a deacon in our church and is active in Boy Scouts. But his true love is music, and enjoys playing his saxophone for his younger brother and sister. My son tries to live life as normal, but some days are harder then most due to his medical condition. His first seizure was when he was 5 years old and now he has seizures in his sleep, this prevents him from sleeping alone. He is afraid of not waking up. When he has night seizures it makes it hard to get up in the morning, he usually sleeps all day and I keep an eye on him. I touch his head and softly tell him I’m here.
Jacob has had several accidents caused by his seizure disorder while playing outside, resulting in trips to ER for head injury treatment. He has been the target of inconsiderate people who would re-live for him his seizures; He refuses to wear a helmet and decides not to play outside anymore. It’s hard for him to make friends, and this is a whole part of his depression. If Jacob had a trained seizure service dog I feel this will give him the confidence and companionship he needs to help him through his hard times. A best friend he so desperately needs.
   
In 2013 Jacob’s Dr. suggested that we look into getting him a seizure dog, I wasn’t sure that this was what my son needed, nor was I sure I could afford another child. (Having a service dog is like having a child) But once I started researching service dogs, I found that this is exactly what Jacob needs. The best friend a boy could have with all the training that a parent needs to feel comfortable to see my child through life. I found 4PAWS FOR ABILITY, a non-profit origination which trains and places seizure service dogs with children who are in need. It costs $22,000 to train and place a dog with Jacob, the Vega family is committed to raising $13,000 in support of 4PAWS FOR ABILITY’S mission.
 
If you would like to help us reach our commitment with a tax-deductible donation, please visit (www.4pawsforability.org/donate.now) in honor of Dustin “Jacob” Vega or mail a check to: 4PAWS FOR ABILITY
                C/o Dustin Vega
                253 Dayton Ave.
                Xenia, OH. 45385
 
Thank you for taking the time to read about my son, and may God smile on you and your family. 

Helping DJ find his dog

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Like any parent, I strive to do everything possible to give my child an opportunity to live a happy, healthy life and give him the best possible future.

My son Dennis, (or DJ) has Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, fine and gross motor delay, Epilepsy, selective mustism, anxiety, speech delays, and some health problems. He is 7 years old and home schooled through a cyber-academy because he cannot handle being at school or anywhere where there are groups of children. But although DJ faces several challenges, we face them together, one step at a time.

In my efforts to find ways to enhance DJ’s progress, I came across an organization which provides service dogs trained specifically for children like my son. After going through the applications process, I happy thrilled to report that we were approved and accepted into the program! A service dog will greatly improve DJ’s quality of life by providing love, behavior disruption (he pulls out his hair, bangs his head, bites his nails till they bleed), detecting seizures, and he will be tethered to the dog while out in public because DJ is also a runner/wanderer.

As you can see, a service dog would help me on my quest to give DJ the best possible future.

It will cost 4 Paws approximately $22,000 to raise and train a service dog for my son. The money we raise will go to 4 Paws for Ability directly to help them in caring for and training these special animals. Our fundraising efforts will help to prevent a waiting list and keep us from having to pay to receive my son’s service dog. 4 Paws for Ability is a wonderful organization that helps many families and we are very excited to raise money so they can continue their amazing work over the world.

Any donations made should be made directly to, 4 Paws for ability 253 Dayton ave. Xenia OH 45385

Please make checks out to 4 Paws for Ability and please make sure to write on your check memo line – In honor of Dennis Bowman- so that we receive the points from your donation. ALL donations made are tax deductible as 4 Paws for Ability is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. Any services or products donated for an event is also tax deductible!

Thank you for your time and support,

Amy Swanson (DJs mom) 215-670-8956

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Autism Assistance Dog could be magic for Mathew

matthewfOur son is an energetic, fun loving 3 year old who continues to amaze us daily. At a young age he was able to assemble 24 piece jigsaw puzzles and his first 50 words were all names of animals from farm to pet and even some exotic animals. Mathew loves to play with his friends, read books, and help Mommy and Daddy with chores. More than anything though, Mathew loves to “play” Magic: The Gathering and Skylanders.

Mathew was diagnosed with Autism in October of 2012 at the age of 26 months. Since then our family has undergone a roller coaster of therapies in an effort to give Mathew the best chance of success as he grows older. After many plane trips to be able to receive services and several therapists in the local area Mathew has shown marked improvement in most areas. However, he has plateaued and now is even showing some signs of regression in some areas. Currently Mathew is enrolled in a special education preschool through the local school district where he also receives speech therapy. He also receives occupational therapy and applied behavior analysis from private providers.

One of the difficulties faced by those diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum is that no two kids are alike and display Autism in a wide variety of ways. Because of this, no one therapy regimen will help all those who are Autistic. After much discussion with Mathew’s former and current providers we have decided to pursue getting a service dog for Mathew. Asking around led us to an organization called 4 Paws For Ability.  They are a nonprofit organization whose mission is to place quality service dogs with children with disabilities and veterans who have lost use of limbs or hearing; help with animal rescue, and educate the public regarding use of service dogs in public places. They are also one of few organizations who specially train Autism service dogs and are willing to train us as a family to work with Mathew and his service dog in a team of three when necessary. 

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a multi-purpose dog with Mathew. 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). Include the name, Mathew Farnam in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Mathew Farnam, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Cody seeking his perfect match in service dog

DSC_4780Precious and perfect yet challenged

Cody is ready and waiting for a partner who knows just what he needs when life becomes overwhelming!  Cody’s story began the moment he was placed in my arms. I was awed by “what a precious and perfect little boy” he was and wondered what his future would hold as he would grow through the years. We were so thankful that he was healthy and happy and appeared to have no problems of any kind.  As time went on we began to notice that Cody seemed to be struggling to do things that other children do easily. Cody seemed to be a very laid back and easy going child who was in no hurry to do much of anything.  For that reason, those who knew us and Cody said “that’s just Cody being Cody, he will do it when he wants too.”  I was unsure and unsettled about his development.  After some time we realized that Cody’s seemingly laid back personality was not the cause of his delays.  We connected with First Steps and Cody has been identified as having developmental delays, speech apraxia, and a sensory processing disorder.  We are in the process of having a clinical diagnosis given and suspect he will be placed on the autism spectrum once the testing is complete.

Most loving little boy

Cody is the most loving little boy you will ever meet.  He has a way of making people slow down and realize what’s truly important.  His smile lights up the room and his laugh is contagious.  Despite his happy and loving nature, Cody experiences a lot of frustration due to his inability to communicate and respond like others because he has difficulty putting sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words.  As a result he has meltdowns.  Cody will bang his head on the floor and throw himself into things or throw things during these meltdowns.  An assistance dog will be trained in ways to help Cody calm down and stop the meltdown.  The dog will provide a nudge or a kiss, sometimes even deep pressure to help Cody regulate himself.

Expert escape artist

Cody is also an escape artist.  He is able to disappear in the house as well as get out of the house.  Due to his lack of speech, he does not respond when his name is called.  An assistance dog would be trained in search and rescue so if Cody were to get out of the house ,we would know where to look immediately.  Cody desperately wants to be like his brothers and other kids, but he has trouble keeping up and staying within set boundaries.  Thanks to a skill referred to as tethering, an assistance dog would allow him to be able to walk out in public instead of riding in a cart; this will help Cody feel more independent which is one of the things he craves.  An assistance dog would also provide Cody with a friend, someone who will stay with him when he is unable to keep up or just can’t handle the noise level or activity level of his brothers and neighbors. 

Extremely bright

Cody is an extremely bright boy.  He is able to count to 100 and recognizes 50 plus sight words.  However, he cannot talk like you or me.  What he does say is scripted, practiced, and rehearsed multiple times before he can use it independently.  We are hopeful that one day he will become a conversational speaker and be able to share all that he wants to say.  This is one of the most frustrating things for Cody. He is so bright and has such a great sense of humor, but he can’t put it into words.  Other children shy away from him because they can’t understand him. You can see his frustration level rise and the meltdown begin in response to his inability to communicate. As a result, Cody isolates himself from others.  We are hopeful that an assistance dog will help Cody slow down and not become frustrated as quickly and perhaps find a friend that he feels comfortable sharing things with in his own way. An assistance dog will also open an avenue for other children to interact with Cody and begin to understand his challenges in life.

Perfection in need of a friend

As I look at Cody and how far he has come, I have the same thought as the first time he was placed into my arms –  “what a precious and perfect little boy.”  There is nothing “wrong” with Cody.  He is exactly who he is supposed to be.  He has, and continues to, bring so much joy to those he comes in contact with; it is his gift.  As his parents, we want to provide him every opportunity to continue to grow and become the inspiring young man he is destined to be.  We believe that an assistance dog is the next step in helping Cody continue on his journey.  We appreciate any help in making this dream for Cody come true. 

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a multi-purpose dog with Cody McGillem. 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). Include the name, Cody McGillem in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Cody McGillem, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Luke in desperate need of Autism Assistance Dog for safety and companionship

lukewilcoxLuke has a wonderful, big smile, bright blue eyes, and curly hair. He enjoys going to school, reading books, playing outside, and pushing anything with wheels. He also likes watching movies and playing on the IPAD. He has the best laugh. He enjoys wrestling with his older brother, playing chase, and being tickled.

Luke is the youngest of four siblings. When he was born he brought healing to our hearts because the pregnancy was normal, delivery went well, and we were able to bring him home from the hospital with us 2 days after birth like most parents experience. This was different for us because our previous son, Brody, now almost 6, was born with a rare birth defect called Pierre Robin Sequence. He required an 8 week stay in the NICU, multiple surgeries to help him be able to breath and eat, and extensive therapy. So, when everything went well with Luke, we were thrilled.

However, it became apparent in the first year of life that something was wrong. He did not meet his milestones as most children do. He loved just staring at his hands and was not aware of the environment around him. He had some feeding difficulties, low muscle tone, and torticollis. He had to go to therapy for torticollis to stretch his neck muscle so he could hold his head up straight. He also did not imitate much. He qualified for early on educational services at 8 months old. We did everything we could do to help him make progress with his delays, but the progress was extremely slow. Luke was late to sit up, crawl, and walk. By 2 years old, Luke was still not pointing, talking, or trying to communicate. He was diagnosed with Autism.

Luke is now almost four years old. He now points and says a handful of words, but is considered nonverbal. He cannot dress himself and is not potty trained. He has little interest in toys and doesn’t know how to “play” like other children. He goes around the house knocking things over, pulling things off bookshelves, and out of drawers. He has a short attention span, has repetitive behaviors, is impulsive, and has difficulty interacting with people. He becomes anxious and has meltdowns in new places or changes in routine. He bangs his head on hard surfaces when upset. Luke also struggles with sensory issues. He chews on things around the house such as furniture, wires, clothing, toys, etc.  At times, he cannot even tolerate clothing being on his body. Luke also has a difficult time falling asleep at night and staying asleep.

Another huge concern is safety for Luke. Recently, Luke was in the backyard with his sister and wandered off. We looked for him everywhere for about 20 minutes and finally had to call the police. We found him playing on the back side of a huge dirt pile where a new house was being built. In public places, he has to be in a cart or stroller (which he is getting too big for) or he will run off. This is so scary and limits where we can go. This is what inspired us to look for a service dog for Luke.

We are so excited to have been approved for an autism service dog through 4 Paws for Ability. We believe a service dog would be life changing for Luke and for our family. It would help him to try communicate more. The dog would be a sleeping companion and would hopefully help him to sleep in his own bed and stay there all night. The dog could also disrupt his challenging behavior by touching, nuzzling, or providing deep pressure and hopefully he would then interact with the dog instead. The dog would be calming for him during meltdowns, new environments, or changes in routine. We would be able to tether the dog to Luke when we go to public places like the park, store, library, or anywhere else so he would stay with us and not wander off. If Luke did escape, the dog is a trained search and rescue dog and would be able to track him. We believe a service dog would make daily life safer and less stressful for Luke. In addition, it would give him a best friend who will love him unconditionally. Luke’s teacher also feels a service dog would help meet his social and emotional needs. He responded very positively to the teacher’s dog that would visit the classroom regularly.

Our family life changed dramatically six years ago. We have been blessed with 2 wonderful, little boys, both having special needs. Our older children are 14 and 11. They are a huge help and love their little brothers dearly. Daily life can be a huge challenge as we try to have some normalcy yet, help our boys reach their full potential. This service dog would be a miracle for our family.

It costs 4 Paws for Ability $22,000 to place a dog with Luke. We are committed to raising $13,000 to support the mission of 4 Paws for Ability 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 his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws For Ability, in honor of Luke Wilcox, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank You and God Bless,

The Wilcox Family

George in search of his “Super Dog”

george_lindGeorge is a 7 year old little boy who has faced a lot in his short time on earth. George was born perfectly healthy –  or so we thought. His life started off pretty uneventful. He was a beautiful baby boy, perfect in every way, but within weeks of him coming home we began to notice some strange behaviors. George would laugh in his sleep. This does not seem so bad, we would find out years later that these were in fact his first seizures.

Fast forward a few years and George was developing fairly normally. He was full of life and energy. We noticed a few odd behaviors, and some developmental delays physically, but with his first steps we thought we were on the right track. George would often “ignore” people and do repetitive things without regards to others around him. His father and I considered this could be seizure activity but were assured by his pediatrician this was simply George being a difficult child. George became difficult to redirect and move from one activity to another. Again, with psychological intervention we were assured this was all from something called sensory integration disorder. We worked with therapists, doctors, teachers and family. Things would seem to improve temporarily, only to experience regression and and a trip back to square one.

This would bring us to George’s 3rd year.

George was at preschool on March 12, 2009 when I received a frightening call from his teacher, informing me he was non responsive, blue, frothing at the mouth and shaking. George was having his first Grand Mal Seizure. It occurred during nap time lasting just over 20 minutes. His EEG later showed halmark signs of a horrific syndrome, but before this diagnosis was discovered, he would be treated as a child epileptic. For the next year, we worked dilligently with docotors to find a medication that would work for George. We would find one, then suddenly its effectiveness would taper. He would seize during naps and at night. Eventually came another horrible Grand Mal, this time lasting 45 minutes. Frightening as it, was we knew if George made it out of it with his abilities in tact we would do everything in our power to prevent this type of seizure again.

The doctors continued tests. For another year we fought something we thought was a well known disease that could be easily controlled by the right medications. It turns out we were wrong. George developed something called atonic seizures; a type of seizure that stole my son for quite some time. By this point, he would have as many as 500 seizures a day, and his “big ones” at night. George was just about to turn six and by this time, slept with me and my husband nightly so we could catch the invisible devils before they became life threatening, as they so easily and often did. It was April 23, 2012 when his neurologist finally decided that George not only had Lennox Gastatut Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. He also would require a surgical implant to help control his seizures. Although the surgery was difficult,  within 24 hours of having this unit turned on, it seemed we had found our saving grace.

Currently, George has continued to have seizures which began increasing again this past spring. After having 3 weeks of seizures that were classified as non-convulsive status epilepticus, George was hospitalized for 10 days and underwent several tests. This testing revealed he has a second rare disorder, this one being life threatening and for us, life altering. George has been diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disorder of complexes I, III and IV. Basically, he runs a a AAA battery compaired to your C cell.

George’s prognosis is unknown. We only know he continues to have seizures – some during the day, several at night. He has difficulty walking and is often very unstable, he has to have supplemental feedings through his Gtube, and requires 24 hour care. His dad and I do not sleep well because George still sleeps with us so we can catch those nighttime demons. George is also prone to those nasty seizures which are hard to distinguish as seizures. Non-convulsive status epilepticus is hard to identify with kids with Mito as they often have what are termed brown out periods. During this time the children are very lethargic and hard to arouse, similar to the non-convulsive status epilepticus.

I know George’s story is a lot to take in, and I hope that you can see why from a medical stand-point, a seizure alert dog would be helpful for my family, espeically George. We know that seizure alert dogs have their limits, but we also know that they can and have saved lives. George can benefit from what he refers to as his “Super Dog”  in so many ways and I hope that after reading this you will further consider him for sponsorship.

Sincerely,

Gabrielle Lindeman

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a multi-purpose dog with George Lindeman. 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). Include the name, George Lindeman in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of George Lindeman, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Adam looking for a homerun in service dog

get-attachmentHi, my name is Shonda Lucas and I want to tell you a story about a little boy, my little boy, Adam. From the outside Adam looks like any other five year old boy. He’s cute, he loves superheroes and playing in the park. He’s bright, energetic, loves kindergarten and playing baseball. His big, bright smile brings joy to everyone he meets.

Only, he isn’t like every other five year old. Adam was born with a virus (Congenital CMV) that left him with several different disabilities including: brain damage, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, developmental delays, behavior issues, sensory processing disorder, and lack of impulse control (to name a few of his challenges). He has meltdowns and Adam will run away when he gets overwhelmed by a situation.

Now imagine Adam, being able to go to the local grocery store without a meltdown because he has his professionally trained service dog with him who helps keep him calm. Imagine Adam having a few ‘feet’ of independence, being tethered to his dog walking through the mall and not riding in a stroller or wheel chair just so he doesn’t escape and run off if he gets overwhelmed. Imagine me, his mom,  having a sense of security knowing that if he should run away his service dog could track him and find him quickly, quite possibly saving his life!!!!!

It costs 4 Paws for Ability an estimated $22,000.00 to train each dog they provide for children like Adam. Yes, you read that right, $22,000.00. It may seem like a steep price but when you KNOW that these dogs are trained to help an adult with Epilepsy go out safely into the community or that they help a Veteran work through their PTSD… when you KNOW how a trained service dog can give a family peace knowing their child has a loving, gentle companion and that the dog may be the only ‘living being’ a child with autism will relate to… When you KNOW a specially trained tracking dog could save a life, maybe even ADAM’S one day- that training is priceless!! 

Adam has partnered with 4 Paws for Ability (a 503c charity) to raise $13,000.00, helping to allow 4 Paws for Ability to train a dog for a child or adult like Adam… In return for helping raise this money, 4 Paws for Ability will match Adam with his very own service dog!!!

Thank you so much for your willingness to help Adam and 4 Paws for Ability!

With my sincerest thanks!

Shonda Lucas – Adam Lucas’s Mom

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a multi-purpose dog with Adam Lucas. 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). Include the name, Adam Lucas in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Adam Lucas, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Autistic boy looking for help with service dog

jake_wellsJake Wells (4) is a loving and very energetic little boy. Like a lot of boys his age, he likes to explore, climb and run.  But Jake is different. He has Autism and doesn’t understand when his safety is at risk.  Jake is also considered non-verbal so he can’t tell you his name or where he lives should he become hurt or lost.

Jake’s parents Joanne and Matt Wells (Louisville, KY natives) became concerned about Jake’s development when he was a year old.  Jake did not babble or try to say words. He was extremely affected by any change in his environment and became difficult to feed. His body was in constant motion, but yet he still was not attempting walking.  Jake was evaluated by their state’s early intervention program where it was suggested he be further evaluated for a possible Autism diagnosis.  “Hearing that your child has Autism is one of the hardest things a parent could ever hear. It sets you on a journey of the unknown…you don’t know where to turn, who to see, or where to get answers. But the scariest thing of all is you don’t know what the future holds for your child. Each child on the Autism spectrum is so very different” says Jake’s mom Joanne.

Jake was diagnosed at age 2 with Autism, severe expressive and receptive language disorder (non-verbal), severe Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, hypotonia, neromotor dyspraxia along with wandering and elopement issues.  Jake is extremely active and requires constant supervision since he has no sense of fear or danger. He can’t be left alone because he has been found wandering alone and can’t speak. “We continue to take desperate measures daily to keep Jake safe. Safety is our first priority with him” says his father Matt.  Jake needs to be restricted to strollers or carts when in public because of his running and meltdowns. Jake doesn’t process information in his brain the way other people do. There is a constant barrage of sensory overload in his daily life from lights, visual stimuli, noises, vibrations and movement. This gets misinterpreted by his nervous system and causes him to meltdown, bolt or scream in public. Jake is getting too big for shopping carts and strollers and his parents fear taking him in public will lead to a horrible consequence.

Jake currently attends a special needs preschool where he receives instruction and guidance to help address his delays. Jake also receives private occupational and speech therapies three times a week in addition to the therapies he receives at school. Jake needs lots of help to learn how to interact socially. Since he doesn’t talk he has trouble making friends. Jake doesn’t know how to interact with others. “Jake is the sweetest little boy you will ever meet, but he doesn’t know how to interact outside of his own little world. We try daily to bring him into our world, but he struggles since he has no words” says his mother. “It breaks my heart to see him struggle so much with something that is a developmental passage for other children. Going to birthday parties, playing at the park, participating in a jumping session at a local bounce house, even just sitting at a movie and enjoying a movie are just a few of the things Jake can not do like most other children.”

Jake’s parents want to do all they can do to help him achieve all that he should be able to just like other children. Jake has been accepted into an Ohio organization 4 Paws For Ability, which trains service

dogs for children like Jake. An Autism Assistance service dog would be trained to track Jake should he get lost or elope. The service dog would also use deep pressure, kisses, and snuggling to disrupt negative behaviors, therefore decreasing his anxiety and helping him with social interaction.  Jake’s dog would also be tethered to Jake when in public not allowing him to run or bolt into on coming cars and keep him from running away while out in public since he can no longer fit into shopping carts and strollers. “You might say it would allow us to live life like a more normal family!” says his mother. “I don’t think you could ever place a dollar amount on the peace of mind this dog would give to us.”

Although Jake has been accepted as a service dog recipient, he and his family need help from the community to make the dream a reality as they enter the fundraising portion of the process. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Jake. The Wells’ are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach their goal with your help. If you can help them with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now) or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Jake Wells, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Says Jake’s mother Joanne, “He’s a brilliant little boy that needs extra help to live the life he is destined to live. It’s our job as his parents to see he gets what he needs in order to survive in this world. Any help would be greatly appreciated.”

 

The dream of a service dog for Christian

duke2_001-Introducing Christian.
 
Christian was born November 8, 2011. A day that would forever change the hearts and minds of those close to him… Christian was born with Cerebral Palsy.
 
Christian did not have the ‘typical’ birthing process. He had a water birth!
During the birthing process Christian became stuck with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. He was born black and blue from lack of oxygen. Although it’s not known how it happened, we discovered shortly after that Christian had endured a stroke as well.
 
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurlogical (brain) disorder and is a lifelong condition. It is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain. It affects the communication between the brain and muscles and causes a permanent state of uncoordinated movement and posturing. Children with CP often experience learning disabilites and developmental delays along with bone problems, including scoliosis. Children often have asthma and respiratory problems, as well as speech and communication impairment.
 
Christian has a lot of struggles in his life that he works on with the help of therapy. He has Physical, Occupational, Swallow, Speech, Play and Water Therapy, and he even has a therapist come to the house during the week! Christian has been on many different medications and has been in and out of hospitals for many different types of testing. He just completed a week long stay at Duke for Seizure testing. As you can see, he is one very busy little boy! We have Christian in almost every program in the area in hopes of providing him with the best future possible. We all have great faith that he will beat the odds and become something great one day!
 
Despite Christians daily struggle, he always wears a smile – a smile that will melt your heart when you see it! At times, he seems so unaware of the battle that awaits him as he grows into an adult with CP. Underneath it all, he is just the average little boy. Christian loves music, banging on his kindle like a flintstone baby, watching Yo Gabba Gabba and bouncing like tigger.
 
He also enjoys wrestling with his Daddy and Papa, and giggling with his big brother, Stanley. He has the cutest giggle and it’s very contagious! Once you hear it, you can’t help but giggle too!
 
Christian is truly a blessing and inspiration.
 
“For nothing is impossibe with God” Luke 1:37
 
- Why 4 Paws for Ability?
 
We know we won’t be able to be there for Christian every waking moment, to keep him safe from rejection, to comfort him when he is sad, frustrated and angry, or to help him with the simplest things that we all take for granted. A dog from 4 Paws would give Christian self-confidence, independence and comfort through the many tests, hospital stays and fears that accompany a child with CP. It would help his anxiety and sooth him during therapy appointments. The benefits of him having a service dog are endless!! Christian is in need of care 24/7, and sometimes it can be overwhelming as he has a 4 year old brother who needs his mommy and daddy too! A service dog would not only help Christian, but the entire family. A service dog can help with a wide variety of things, like retrieving items that are dropped, bringing the phone, turning lights on and off, opening doors and more, but most importantly provide spiritual and emotional support for Christian and our family.
 
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 a service dog placement. 
 
At 4 Paws for Ability, it costs $22,000 to train and place a service dog with a disabled child. However, famililies engage in fundraising activities as volunteers to qualify for a service dog. Each family is asked to raise at least $13,000. By doing this, the waiting list is only as long as it takes the family to complete the fundraising requirment. 
 
Every dollar helps and will bring us one day closer to Christian meeting his amazing new friend and companion. 
 
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Christian. 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 his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Christian Burt, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
 
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!
~The Burt Family

A service dog to help young Raya everyday

get-attachmentOur daughter’s name is Raya Banda. She is currently 5 years old and has fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Raya was placed with us when she was 7 weeks old as a foster baby. We fell in love with her the moment we saw her and knew that she was going to be ours forever.  But from the moment we met her, we knew something was not right.

When we brought her home, Raya cried for three days straight. Because of this we ended up in the emergency room and was informed by the doctors that she was showing all the signs of a baby going through withdraws. Raya’s adoption into our family was made official on September 3, 2010 when she was 2 years old. At the time of our adoption we had a pretty good idea that she did have FAS however we did not yet have the official diagnoses. This conclusion was eventually confirmed, although it took us a year to finally be seen by the only doctor in our area that could make the official diagnoses.

Our Raya is a very loving and caring child who has no worries in the world. She has never met a stranger. She is very active, loving to swim and play with her brother and sister.  However, Raya is unable to sit still and focus on anything. She hits, kicks, screams, calls people horrible names, runs away from us, and throws things at people. She is 5 years old and not yet potty trained and may never be. She has NO impulse control, is now starting to open the front door and run outside and down the street and has tons of sensory issues. FAS causes a child to have brain damage which is irreversible. She can be happy and loving one minute and having a major meltdown the next minute.

Due to these challenges, we are often unable to take her out in public, as people in general typically do not understand Raya’s behavior. She is in kindergarten this year and currently attending a special school to help her learn how to control her behaviors and how to interact properly with others. She is also receiving occupational therapy, counseling weekly and is in the process of starting speech therapy .

Like any parents, we want to provide the very best for our child. Because of this, we found, applied and were accepted by the organization 4 Paws For Ability, who trains service dogs for children like Raya. A service dog would help with behavior disruption by touching, nudging, kissing and snuggling with her or providing deep pressure in order to calm and distract her. Through the use of a technique called tethering, she will no longer be able to run away while in public. The dog would also be trained to track Raya should she manage to get out of the house. These three skills alone could assist Raya in having an even more secure, happy and independent life.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Raya. 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 Raya Banda, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Having this dog would help Raya every day so that she might have a little better life. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

The Banda family

Caden’s quest for a service dog

caden_hallIf you ever met Caden Hall, you would never know that he battles a seizure disorder.  He is a fun-loving six-year-old boy from a family of six (Mom and Dad and TWO sets of twins).  He and his twin brother are six years old and his younger twin siblings are two years old.  Quite a hectic house as it is!  He adores every minute of being one of the “big” brothers.  He loves sports and has a super-sweet spirit.  He is always looking to help Mommy and Daddy care for the younger kids and tries to comfort others when they seem sad.

About two and half years ago, Caden’s life changed.  He woke up one Saturday morning, very confused; unable to remember his family’s names or respond when they asked him questions.  After a variety of tests, including an MRI and EEG, it was determined that Caden had a condition described as Complex Partial Seizures, which is a form of childhood epilepsy. 

These seizures are difficult to notice until after they have occurred, as there is no shaking or noises.  Yet the aftermath is quite upsetting and dangerous.  His seizures have continued to happen, but almost exclusively overnight.  Even with a video monitor, his parents have only been aware of his seizures after they have ended and he is sobbing, unable to express why.

In May of 2013, his seizures became worse.  His parents found him in his bed drenched with sweat.  They were able to stand him up but he soon after he vomited and then became completely unresponsive.  He was rushed by ambulance to the hospital and it was determined that Caden had a Grand Mal Seizure while he was sleeping.  

After this, Caden’s parents became determined to find an alternative way to detect his seizures.  The monitor was not going to cut it anymore!  They started researching and learning about seizure alert dogs. These dogs can alert him and his parents if he is about to, or is actually having a seizure.  After much research they came across 4 Paws for Ability.  One of this agency’s missions is to:

”Enrich the lives of children with disabilities by the training and placement of quality, task trained service dogs to provide increased independence for the children and assistance to their families.”

They can work with Caden’s parents to train a unique dog to meet his needs.  This dog could finally give Caden the advocate he needs while he sleeps.  His parents could finally rest easy, knowing that Caden has a true “Man’s Best Friend” by his side.  He could also become a great comfort to Caden, while he is often very emotional due to his seizure regulating medications.  Caden and his family desperately need this Canine advocate.  This comfort and peace of mind does not come without sacrifice though. 

It costs 4 Paws $22,000 to train and place a dog with Caden.  Caden’s family is volunteering to raise $13,000 of this cost to support the 4 Paws mission.  If you would like to join in raising these funds with a tax-deductible donation please visit the 4 Paws donation page:

http://www.4pawsforability.org/donate.now

You can donate through PayPal (Please include Caden Halls name in the “Special Instructions” section). 

Or mail a check with “Caden Hall” on the memo line to:

4 Paws for Ability

In Honor of Caden Hall

253 Dayton Ave.

Xenia Ohio 45385

 

Thank you in advance for your support!

The Hall Family

 

Finding Donovan’s true friend

donovan_leonardDonovan Alexander Matthew Leonard was born in 2001 and from that time on, has experienced more than his fair share of challenges. Throughout his journey, Donovan has been diagnosed with a variety of disorders, all which impact his daily life in dramatic ways. Our family continues to do everything possible to ease Donovan’s difficulties, which is a big part of what led us on a quest to acquire a service dog trained specifically for his needs. While the dog would be able to assist him in a multitude of ways, perhaps what we’re most looking forward to is the possibility of our beautiful boy experiencing a good night’s sleep and the feeling of having a true best friend.

Donovan was born with an apgar score of 10.  We didn’t think anything about his not sleeping through the night until he was a year old. We were told to just be patient. He is 12 now and he still does not sleep through the night even though he is on a prescription sleep medication.  

Donovan has always been easily frustrated; he didn’t talk much as a young child, and showed no interest in his toys. We just assumed these behaviors were the result of his not having siblings his age to interact with.

When Donovan started preschool his teacher could not get him to enter the classroom. This went on for a month and during this time Donovan began to appear depressed and regress. His pediatrician had us withdraw him from school and Donovan improved.

Donovan was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was four. This diagnosis was changed to autistic traits, ADHD, and early onset bipolar.  He later began to have visual and auditory hallucinations so then schizophrenia was added. Donovan has been tested on a variety of medications, with most working for a limited time. His diagnoses have changed at various times with Agenesis of the corpus callosum being added after an injury resulting in an MRI. At this appointment we found out just how high his pain threshold is. He had a severe sinus infection that was detected during his MRI, his forehead was badly swollen and the top half of his face was bruised from him hitting his forehead on the floor at school during a meltdown. While waiting for the test Donovan was sitting on the bed watching TV and laughing. He had been given nothing for pain yet. Later the nurse asked him how he felt. He said fine, but when she asked if his head hurt, he told her yes. When asked on a scale of 1-10 how bad, he said 10 then went back to laughing at the show he was watching.

When Donovan was a toddler he spent his days running from door to wall and slamming his body into them each time. He would also throw severe tantrums when he had to go inside or there was a change in his routine. Donovan did not play with his toys but he would empty his toy box so he could sit inside. He did not interact well with other children and frequently became aggressive. On a trip to the zoo, Donovan spent more time looking at maps than he did looking at the animals. His favorite TV show was the weather channel because of the maps. He would scream every time his hair was washed or cut, and transitions of any type were very difficult. He would only sleep a few hours a night.

Because of behavioral issues and his wandering, the decision was made to place Donovan in a self contained classroom when he started kindergarten.  We realized that even an enclosed classroom was not working for Donovan. We have tried school settings several times throughout the years. He is currently being homeschooled which seems to be working best.

Donovan still has difficulties sleeping, suffers from anxiety, has  behavioral issues, no friends, has a learning disability, low muscle tone, difficulties with fine motor skills, speech difficulties,  a high pain threshold, he very seldom tells us when he is hurt or sick, he is a literal thinker, and the worst part is – Donovan is very lonely.

Donovan is a sweet young man whose main interests are spending time on the computer and playing video games.  He has recently started enjoying reading and loves joke books. He can (and has) told every joke in a book in a single day. This is a big accomplishment because Donovan is very literally minded and is just beginning to grasp the concept of jokes. Donovan enjoys spending time with his dad and cuddling with his mom.  

Donovan has been approved for an Autism service dog whose duties will be tethering and help with behavior disruption. This dog will also provide much needed companionship and reassurance at night when Donovan wakes from his frequent nightmares. 

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Donovan. 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 his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Donovan, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.

Boy and his mother on a mission for service dog    

mjjacksonEarlier this year, 8-year-old Miles Garcia Jackson was approved for a service dog through nationally renowned organization, 4 Paws for Ability. Whether it was a stroke of luck or divine intervention, when Brandey Herring, Miles’ mother, came upon the non-profit’s website, she was immediately interested in what their service animals had to offer—peace of mind.

Young Miles is diagnosed with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Early Onset Bipolar Disorder and Dyslexia. He also has ongoing gastrointestinal issues and migraines. Any one of these conditions can be difficult for a family, but combining all of them in a single- parent household is quite overwhelming. Herring works tirelessly to ensure that Miles has every opportunity available to any other child in the US and State of Georgia, every opportunity he deserves. 

Even before the age of 2, it was evident to Herring that Miles had no sense of self-preservation. Stranger-danger did not exist in his world, nor fears of racing traffic, deep pools or possible falls from great heights. Almost 7 years later, these dangers still do not register for Miles. Combining this with his curiosity and compulsive desire to wander off, a common trait for kids like Miles, can lead to some very scary moments for his family.

Miles also suffers from sensory overload, a symptom of Asperger’s, and anxiety and paranoia, symptoms of EO Bipolar. Add the 3 of these with his incessant need for routine, and social situations can be extremely painful, both for Miles and his mother.

4 Paws for Ability is often a last hope for children who’ve been turned away from other service dog programs. Unlike 4 Paws, many organizations have disability criteria, making it possible to be told your child is “too disabled” or not “disabled enough” to be a qualified candidate. 4 Paws is also one of the only agencies with no minimum age requirement. The Ohio-based organization trains multi-purpose service dogs to the specific needs of the individual. In Miles’ case, that would include tasks like behavior disruption, tethering and tracking, socialization and calming.

“I believe this dog will have a dramatically positive impact on our lives,” states Herring. “Not only will the dog make life safer and less stressful for my son, it will also be a constant best friend who loves him unconditionally, something that’s a blessing for a child who occasionally suffers the heartbreak of taunting and teasing.”

4 Paws was founded in 1998 by Karen Shirk, currently the Executive Director, who was denied a service dog because she used a ventilator at night. 4 Paws is truly enriching the lives of children with disabilities. To shorten the wait for a service dog, 4 Paws for Ability partners with families who volunteer to raise a portion of the funds needed to train said dogs. It costs around $22,000, and Brandey Herring has agreed to raise a minimum of $13,000, which is what all families are asked. With the help of the Miles’ community, friends and family, Herring is hopeful and undeterred at the amount.

Please help Miles’ dream come true by contacting Brandey Herring at 334.714.6690 or P. Wingate at 229.410.9376 to learn more about planned fundraisers and benefits or offer ideas of your own. If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www. 4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include Miles’ name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Miles Garcia Jackson, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Miles has already named his future dog. Let’s help bring “Spikey Squirtle Huntin’ Dog Dancin’ with the Wolves” home. 

Young Blake loves animals, seeking special canine friend

get-attachment.aspxBlake Leigh Farrell was born December 1, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her first smile was during those first days in the hospital, and she has not stopped smiling since.  She loves people, animals and especially her big sister, Finley.

Blake began to show signs of mild hypotonia (low muscle tone) around her first birthday. We began a series of evaluations and tests in December, and in January it appeared her gross motor skills were regressing. Much to our dismay, Blake received a diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA type II) on February 6, 2012 at 14 months old.  

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) refers to a group of inherited diseases of the motor nerves that cause muscle weakness and atrophy (wasting). The motor nerves arise from the spinal cord and control the muscles that are used for activities such as breathing, crawling, walking, head and neck control, and swallowing. SMA is a rare disorder occurring in approximately 8 out of every 100,000 live births, and affecting approximately 1 out of every 6,000 to 10,000 individuals worldwide.

SMA affects muscles throughout the body. In the most common types, weakness in the legs is generally greater than in the arms. Sometimes feeding, swallowing, and respiratory function (e.g., breathing, coughing, and clearing secretions) can be affected. When the muscles used for breathing and coughing are affected and weakened, this can lead to an increased risk for pneumonia and other respiratory infections, as well as breathing difficulty during sleep. The brain’s cognitive functions and the ability to feel objects and pain are not affected. 

We have had many challenges since Blake’s diagnosis, but with our positive attitude and her amazing personality, we have turned these challenges into opportunities.  Blake is only able to sit independently for a short time.  She uses a wheel chair around the house and has a motorized Stander.  She has multiple sets of braces and respiratory devices (cough assist, suction, and pulse ox).  Blake is in therapy 6 hours a week, consisting of water therapy, land PT, OT, and hippotherapy.  Blake is capable of eating independently and is also very good at coloring.  She has great dexterity, but struggles with strength in her arms and hands.  She is unable to pick things up that fall, open drawers, push buttons, or sit up on her own.  

For those of you that do not know our sweet ”Blakey Blue” or “Bumble B”, she has the most amazing spirit.  If I could describe her in one word it would be HAPPY!  She is the most loving, funny, easy-going child I have ever seen.  People flock to her wherever we go, and the light inside her is contagious. Blake began speaking at an early age and already can spell her name.  She enjoys reading books, playing the ipad, playing princess dress up, and cuddling with her pets.  Her big sister, Finley, is her best friend.   Blake also loves to ride horses and swim, which is great for her muscles!  

Blake requires a mobility service dog to help her with the many tasks she can not do.  Such as, picking things up, closing doors, pushing buttons, opening drawers, and any help getting around. This dog will help our family with many of the tasks that we have to do to help Blake get around as well.   And besides all of the mobility support she will receive,a service dog will become her best friend and provide her with another emotional bond to help her with confidence, love, and support.    

Our family has always had a love for animals, and we are so excited to have a dog partner with our daughter to help her through this journey.  I believe a service dog will give her so much in life that she would otherwise struggle with.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Blake. 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  Blake Farrell, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.

Help to brighten Mattison’s day with an Autism Assistance dog!

mattison_kimbler1On July 22, 2010 we were blessed to have a beautiful, happy little girl – Mattison S. Kimbler. She is our only child and the center of our world.  Over the next year and half she began to laugh, roll-over, crawl and develop as any child should. We enjoyed watching her grow, with every new accomplishment documented by pictures, videos and the immediate phone calls to let everyone know of Mattison’s first steps, words or even her first attempt to use a spoon. With every baby check-up, Mattison had exceeded developmental milestones.  As a first time mother, I took comfort that all the books, magazines and child development programs I spent time and money on were really worth it!  

In December of 2011 Mattison caught what we thought was a casual winter cold. Over that next few days Mattison remained very quiet, sleepy and only wanted to be held or carried around.  But Mattison then spiked a fever of 102.8. This, in addition to her other behavior changes, prompted her to be admitted to the neurology unit of the local children’s hospital.  Mattison was only 17 months old at the time, but she bravely endured being placed in an isolation crib, given IVs, blood tests, an MRI and an electroencephalogram. As a parent, I admit I was frightened by looking at all these scary medical devices and can only imagine what she was thinking, but Mattison stayed brave!  After the results came in, doctors were unable to identify what caused her to become so sick.  It took Mattison a couple weeks to get her energy back and at that point we noticed our little girl had started to change.

Mattison regressed back to crawling and unsteady baby steps. She didn’t talk nor interact as much as she had in the past. Over the next few months she continued to change.  She regained a steady walk but her behaviors were different. She became more withdrawn, fearful and showed little interest in her favorite toys. Mattison was still a happy little girl but she found joy in her own little world. She was often unaware of things around her.  I could be right beside her doing jumping jacks and calling her name without any response at all! She showed no interest in other children playing with toys outside, instead choosing to play with a stick, walking around the fence and listening to the sounds it made as she ran it along the chain links.  It was during this time we had been referred to a developmental pediatrician for observation. It wasn’t long before one developmental pediatrician soon became a team of physicians who studied language, social interaction, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, cognitive function, emotional stimulus, and psychological aspects. After all the subsequent evaluations, the team’s decision was made without hesitation and unanimously concluded – Mattison has Autism!

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to hear in my life. She was so young.  Autism is usually diagnosed in Pre-K or Kindergarten. But due to the extent of her “symptoms”, Mattison was diagnosed before her 2nd birthday.  All I could think was, “How can this be? She was advanced in meeting all her milestones less than a year ago!” The more I researched the disorder, the more I realized how much our lives were really going to change!

Mattison is now 3, and has made huge improvements but still struggles in daily life. Mattison is VERY active! Because of her short attention span and ADHD tendencies, everyday tasks such as eating lunch or getting dressed are very difficult.

At home, Mattison is outgoing, happy and full of life. However, her behavior outside of the home is often the total opposite. Mattison becomes anxious and easily triggered by sounds or lights in public places. During our everyday errands, Mattison is comforted only by being held or strapped in her stroller. The simple task of picking up a gallon of milk can turn into a large ordeal.

With the help of therapies, Mattison has begun to interact with some people and children again.  While it has decreased some of Mattison’s triggers, it has made her susceptible to “stranger danger”. Accompanied with her tendencies to wander, you are truly unable to take your eyes off her for a second!

Her need for constant supervision continues at home also. Mattison is very smart and has mastered the ability to unlock the doors. This became apparent one night when I quickly tried to use the bathroom, convinced Mattison would be fine watching her movie and playing in the game room. I came out to find the room empty. I called her name as I ran up and down the stairs. Panic set in as I looked through the laundry room to find an open back door. In a full sprint, I darted to the back yard to find Mattison kicking her ball around. While thankful, I was terrified.

She is also unafraid of heights, which entices her to climb just about anything she can get away with. Plus her inability to realize danger usually prompts her to jump down from places instead of climbing down. 

These very special autism assistance dogs are trained to assist Mattison in ALL of these trouble areas. The familiarity of a constant companion reduces anxiety and stress in public. Autism assistance dogs can help identify Mattison’s triggers and form distractions. And the special tether leashes will inhibit Mattison from wondering and will allow us as a family to peacefully walk through a store together for the first time in her life!

Working with Mattison’s “quirks” does make life a little more difficult, but she’s our Mattison and this is our life! Mattison has so much to offer the world! She is an amazing child to be around, and fills everyone around her with joy. With your help we can provide a special little girl with a very special companion who can help her in experiencing all the world has to offer not only as a “typical child” but for the rest of her life.  So as a family, we humbly ask for your help in providing Mattison Kimbler with an Autism Assistance Dog.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Mattison Kimbler. 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). Include the name, Mattison Kimbler in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Mattison Kimbler, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you for your support,
The Kimbler Family

Little CJ in need of seizure awareness dog

CJ_alterCJ is a very energetic little boy! He loves doing so many things; from hiking, fishing, singing to going to his karate class.  And he loves animals! Just the other day he helped rescue a little baby bunny from the window well.  One of his favorite things to do is sing country songs.  He also has a memory like you wouldn’t believe. He will hear a song on the radio one time and have it memorized and be singing it later that day.

I still remember the day CJ was born.  We were told after 18 hours of labor that we needed a C-section because his heart rate was dropping and his umbilical cord was only 7cms long.   When CJ entered the world I still remember the doctors taking him out and there was no cry.  They whisked him away from me and seconds later I finally heard his little cry.  For the first two months of his life he had constant respiratory problems.  We were always going to the doctor for breathing treatments.  After his third month he was diagnosed with Asthma.  His first year he was hospitalized 7 times, all for respiratory issues.  Due to all the hospitalizations he fell behind on meeting his milestones.  CJ did not crawl until he was 10 months old and didn’t walk until he was 18 months.  When he turned 2 years old we had many more tests done because we knew something was not right.  He would stop breathing for 20 seconds during the middle of the night and I was constantly checking on him and sleeping next to him.   We were told his tonsils and his adenoids would need removed so he could breathe better.  Thankfully, the procedure resulted in improved breathing.

By the time of CJ’s third birthday, he was starting to have emotional breakdowns for seemingly no reason.  He was very clumsy, constantly falling down and he wouldn’t put his arm up to protect his head.  He would just fall.  There were so many nights where my husband and I would wake up to check on him and he would be covered in vomit.  We thought maybe it was a flu bug.  However, it began to happen more often and he would do this silently, making it difficult to detect even when he slept next to us.  When he turned 5, things seemed to settle down and we were making great progress.  It was time for kindergarten to start and he was ready for the big day.  While at school he continued to have emotional breakdowns and sometimes stare into space.  We pulled him out of school and opted for homeschooling while we conducted more tests. 

This year CJ was diagnosed with Complex Seizures.  His seizures tend to occur at night and cause vomiting.  We sleep with a video-enabled baby monitor so we can see and hear if he is having a seizure.  Our biggest fear is not hearing him, making it possible for him to choke if we were not able to get to him in time.  We believe a seizure awareness dog would greatly help CJ in several ways.  The dog would be trained to alert us when he is about to have a seizure and act as a calming distraction during an emotional breakdown.  I myself have struggled with epilepsy my whole life and if I don’t get enough sleep I am able to have a seizure. Growing up, I never had the opportunity to have a seizure awareness dog. We want to protect CJ at the same time allow him to do the things he enjoys without the fear of a seizure.  This dog and new family member would be an answer to our prayer for CJ’s safety.  

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with CJ. 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 the 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include CJ’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of CJ Alter, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you and God bless,

The Alter Family

Young Aaron needs service dog for added safety

aaron_harrisI remember thinking,  “He is the most precious little boy I have ever seen.”

I’m sure all moms think that way when they first give birth. Aaron was a little behind when he first started growing; he crawled and walked late. There were never any big indicators that something was wrong when he was little. The one thing I remember is that he would bang his head on the high chair when he was eating. It never looked as if it was hurting him. He played with toys and would even talk and made good eye contact. He loved cars and would roll them on the floor making car noises. He said momma and daddy and a couple of  other words.

Then one day all of that stopped.

We noticed that Aaron would just sit on the floor and stare into space as if in his own world. He would get really tense and make hand movements when things would spin. He started to walk on his toes much of the day. He stopped talking and playing with toys like a normal child would. A family member printed out a article on Autism. I remember thinking, “No not my son. He doesn’t have that.” I would take him to the doctor and she would tell me that there is nothing to worry about. I couldn’t explain the hand movements and the tensing so I eventually decided to record him and show the doctor. His doctor heard our concerns and told us that it may be PDD, Persuasive development, which is at the bottom end of the spectrum. She told us to give the child development center a call.

Aaron started therapy and upon evaluation they decided it would be best for the ECEP team to test him for Autism. The day of the evaluation was difficult; I didn’t know what to expect. The results indicated that Aaron had Autism.  My husband and I went home and cried but that was just the beginning. Aaron started having small staring spells and I began researching doctors, finding Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX. They had a special area just for children with Autism. We decided to make an appointment. It was there we discovered Aaron also has Cortical Dysplaysia and Epilepsy. We were even more devastated than before. The doctor prescribed medicine for seizures and medicine for him to sleep.

Aaron is now almost 6 years old. He will be in kindergarten this year. He does not talk and cannot dress himself. He can use his fingers to feed himself but not utensils. He wanders and you can’t leave him alone. He requires adult supervision at all times. He is not potty trained and sticks everything in his mouth. It took us a year to decide that Aaron would need something drastic. We researched 4 Paws for Ability and found that so many kids with Autism have become more independent with a service dog. The main concern right now is that he has already gotten out of the house two times and ran across the street to the park. The dog is trained to be able to track Aaron, which is thrilling to us. The dog can also calm him when he is having a bad day and is also great for enhancing his social skills. 

In short, the dog would change our boy’s life!

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Aaron. 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). Include Aaron’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Aaron Harris, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you,

Joetta Harris

Noah’s dream of a service dog

get-attachmentSo a little about Noah. Well for one, there is nobody like him. All parents say that about their children, but I really mean it. He is the most compassionate eight year old that you will ever meet. He truly loves life — and always has a (semi-toothless) smile to share. He also has hour-long stories and a million questions to go along with it. He once told me that his dream is to one day become a police officer and a dad because he would be a great dad from the start. He loves monopoly (which he can beat almost anybody at), chess (he is so good at chess that he beats the computer on the hard level, and beats me every time) and basketball. He also loves to make paper airplanes, loves listening to Michael Jackson, and loves to make other people smile.  
 
His Diagnosis Story: We always knew that Noah was “different”. A lot of people have a hard time understanding him as a person — even his teachers. At his first preschool, at about the age of two, I had a teacher tell me to my face that she thought my son was “retarded”. After crying for several hours, I called my mom in hysterics, and we decided to take Noah to the doctor. His doctor brushed it off, and said that there was nothing wrong with him at all, so we let it go. At the age of three, I had to take Noah to an ENT specialist, who told me he noticed that Noah’s speech was delayed. He gave me a phone number to the public school system that actually had a daycare that he could go to that would help him along.

He started picking up things quickly, and we set up an IEP for him. He was still not diagnosed with anything. We started him in pre-k, and had some problems with the teacher again. This time, the teacher would withhold Noah’s snacks if he couldn’t keep still. She would only give him water (and this was a 5 hour day), and have him sit and watch the other kids eat. She also told me that there was nothing obviously wrong with him. Noah’s luck with teachers changed in 1st grade with his teacher Mrs. Zenz. She understood him and took the time to get to know Noah. She appreciated his little quirks and Noah soared academically. He went from the bottom 17 percent all the way up to 67% on his proficiency’s. That is the difference one teacher can make.

Another teacher that changed Noah’s life was “Mr. E”. Mr.E is the special needs teacher at Noah’s current school. Noah had a rough start to the year, and I had almost daily calls – switching between his after school care and his regular school. One day I got a call saying that Mr. E was taking Noah on – that he noticed Noah had some difficulties and that he was going to work with him. Finally, somebody recognized what my family and I had noticed. We changed Noah’s IEP to include more social/behavioral goals as well as organization. I then started taking Noah to a therapist who immediately diagnosed him with Autism. Within a few weeks of seeing the therapist, she also diagnosed Noah with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder), a mood disorder and anxiety. After these diagnoses, I became very angry. For his entire life, he had been punished for things he was unable to control.

How Autism has changed our lives: Autistic Children have breakdowns because of over stimulation. We have a hard time going in to public places. One time he had a melt down in Olive Garden (before we understood what was going on), and when I had to take him out, an entire table full of people clapped as we left. Talk about mortifying. So for the last few years we have tried going places that are not over-crowded or at least to places that are more child-friendly. After the diagnosis, we understand that Noah would have breakdowns because he was being over stimulated. For Autistic children, everything is amplified. Everything is loud; lights, music, people,etc. We still avoid places where there are higher chances of over stimulation.
 
Noah is also very impulsive. Just in the past month, I can count on two hands how many times he has done something that could endanger him or somebody else. For example: I was getting Noah ready for school one morning and told him to go out to the car. We share a driveway with our neighbors, and my neighbor was very OBVIOUSLY backing up. Noah ran RIGHT BEHIND the neighbor and almost got hit. He went and sat in my car unfazed from the entire situation as my neighbor was in tears. In another case, we were walking in a parking lot. I had two arms full of groceries and in one moment Noah was right next to me, and in the next, he bolted from my side to the other, and right in front of a car driving towards us.
 
Another time was when the weather started getting really nice. I had to run inside the house to do something really quick, it took less than a minute. Noah was outside with his sister, who is 5. We have had the talk about not leaving the yard, not talking to strangers, etc. several times. When I came out, I could not find either one of them. My heart sank. I started panicking and screaming for them and there was no response. I started running up the street with my phone about to call 911, when I spotted him almost three quarters of a mile down the street with his sister. When I confronted him, he simply stated that he was looking for friends.
 
Noah is also very awkward socially. He loves people, but has a hard time relating to them. He flaps his arms a lot (this is very typical of an Autistic child), and makes non-sense noises (also very typical). He struggles to make friends sometimes because of these behaviors. It is sad as a parent because he is always trying to make people happy. Sometimes in order to make friends he will give away his favorite toys or favorite Pokemon cards.
 
How the service dog would help us: Autistic children tend to have a stronger bond with animals than they do humans. Noah actually has two blue dumbo rats. It sounds gross, but they’re actually very neat. One is named Optimus and the other is Blue. Noah takes care of them on a daily basis. He likes having something besides himself to care for – it gives him a sense of worth. A service dog will help him feel like he has someone/ something else to care for.
 
Noah has had a lot of change in his life. Children with Autism usually adhere to a strict schedule and they do not like change.  We went through an abusive marriage to my ex-husband together. We also have gone through moving several times, so he has had to change schools, too. On top of everything else, I have started nursing school (on top of working full time), which means less time with me. Having a service dog would be one consistent thing for him, and would provide more security for him.
 
When Noah gets over sensitized, the dogs are trained to be in tune to his emotions and they’re taught how to calm him down.
 
The service dogs also help with impulsive behavior. That is my primary concern because of safety.
 
Also, as a mom, I would feel better knowing that Noah would have a dog with him. He wouldn’t be alone. Noah is hard to understand sometimes, and when he acts out, children his age do not get it. The dog would ensure that he didn’t have to go through it by himself.
 
As of right now, Noah is on two different types of medication — Concerta for ADHD and Zoloft for anti anxiety. I think that a service dog would complete the bundle or even lower or perhaps eliminate the need for medication. I have heard about what these dogs can do for children, and it would be a complete blessing to both Noah and to our family.
 

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Noah. 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). Include Noah’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Noah Davis, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you!

Jennifer Davis

Autism service dog for Antonio

get-attachmentAntonio is a three and a half year old sweet, energetic little boy.

Antonio is one of triplets born at 33 ½ weeks gestation. He was diagnosed with autism in June 2012. At about the age of eighteen months, we knew Antonio was delayed. We finally decided to have him tested at the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital. I hoped that autism would be ruled out and that there would be another explanation for his delays. When we were told that it was autism, I was shocked. I actually thought I would be ready to hear the ASD diagnosis, but I was not. It took a while for it to really set in and become reality.

At this time, Antonio is attending the Sonya Ansari Center for Autism. His progress has been amazing. He will say words and we are working on sentences to ask for things he wants. One of the greatest things that I have found when researching treatments and therapies are autism service dogs. Currently, we cannot let Antonio go for even a second because he will run from us. With having two other toddlers it makes it very difficult to go out alone. I am terrified that he will run off when I have the girls with me. A service dog would allow Antonio the ability to have more freedom when we are in public by having him tethered to the dog and being able to walk with the dog. A service dog would also be able to track Antonio if he were to get away from us, comfort him when he is upset or having a meltdown, and keep him from dangerous activities and behaviors. The tracking is not only important because of his elopement in public, but also because he will walk right out of the house. We have had to install extra locks he cannot reach in order to keep him inside. Antonio’s service dog will be trained in tracking, tethering, and behavior disruption. Antonio loves animals and bonds with them well.

Antonio is an amazing little boy! He is loving, kind, sensitive to his environment and eager to learn. He has an uncanny interest in mechanical and musical things which gives us a great outlook for his future. Although his Houdini skills and no fear attitude may serve him well throughout life, for now our concern is his safety and wellbeing. This is where we believe that 4 Paws can assist us. Having a service dog to aid us in his safety and development will benefit our entire family.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Antonio. 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). Include Antonio’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Antonio Macerata, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you!

A service dog for Elijah

get-attachment-1.aspxElijah is five years old, severely Autistic, nonverbal, and one of my three sons.  My wife and I received his diagnosis when he was just 22 months old and have been fighting ever since to get him the therapies he needs in order to grow and thrive in this world.  Through our research, we have noted the significant increase in the quality of life for children with this diagnosis following the addition of a service dog to their life.  Elijah is a very active and inquisitive little boy that requires a level of attention and situational awareness that, at times, can be very overwhelming for his mother and me.  While we do all that we can to cater to his needs as well as his two brothers, Elijah deserves a friend that will walk with him and calm him in ways that his mother and I cannot.

The service dog that we will have trained for his needs will be capable of providing a multitude of different needs to Elijah to include calming pressure stimulation and the ability to conduct search and rescue.  Having this capability will provide our family with peace of mind that in the event that Elijah escapes our line of sight, we will have an immediate response available to us through our service dog.  Unfortunately, wandering is a leading cause of death for many children with Elijah’s condition.  Because he does not answer to his name and does not fear the unknown, wandering is a major threat to him and our family.

It will cost 4 Paws for Ability $22,000 to train a multipurpose dog for Elijah. We are committed to raise at least $13,000 so that Elijah may receive a service dog. If you can help us with a tax- deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page, or mail a check with Elijah’s name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Elijah Schwartfigure, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Please assist my family in creating a more safe and independent lifestyle for our baby.  Your contributions, no matter the size will only bring us one step closer to achieving this goal.  From my family to yours….THANK YOU! 

Chasing Hope

hope_middlestetterHope is our fearless eight year old girl who has Down syndrome and ADHD. She is sweet and gentle, loves animals and babies, and is very busy. She is inquisitive, impulsive, and like all

children she wants to do what the older kids are doing.

Unfortunately, Hope is also an escape artist, taking opportunities to go on walks alone whenever they arise. This tendency of her’s has terrified us on multiple occasions. She has frightened the staff at her former school in Louisiana, which once went on shut down because staff could not locate her. Regardless of what we try, she finds the tiniest of opportunities to wander, and because of this we have found her in all types of odd places. We continue to try a variety of locks, alarms and even a locator to help prevent these escapades. The locator stymied us; taking too long to register her signal as our fears were escalating. We have found that we can generally find her faster without it. The longer she is gone the more fearful we are that she will end up in a dangerous situation.

Hope is very loving and seeks cuddling, and has great difficulty falling asleep alone. On the rare occasions we are able to get her asleep in her own bed, it is not uncommon for her to get up in the wee hours of the morning and play in the dark or join us in our bed. Fortunately, she has not escaped the house during these nocturnal play times.

We learned about 4 Paws for Ability during an online search following one of Hope’s adventures. We had found Hope in an empty neighbor’s home and then immediately and tearfully contacted Karen at 4 Paws to learn if a dog could help. Thankfully the answer was “yes”.

The service dog would be trained to track her, allowing us to find her quickly in the instances that she does go exploring. Her ability to slip away in large crowds would be eliminated when tethered to her dog, allowing us all more peace of mind. We could begin exposing Hope to places we currently avoid due to the stress levels involved.. The service dog could also give her comfort when needed. The dog can snuggle with her and eventually get her to sleep in her own bed on a nightly basis.

Like any parent, we want to give our daughter an abundant life, and protect her in every way possible.

It will cost 4 Paws for Ability $22,000 to train a multipurpose dog for Hope. We are committed to raise at least $13,000 so that Hope may receive a service dog. If you can help us with a tax- deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page, or mail a check with Hope’s name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Hope Middlestetter, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thanks you,
The Middlestetters

Zachary seeking the miracle of a service dog

zachary_harper1My son Zachary is a 9 year old nonverbal, severely autistic child who has a history of seizures, sensory deprivation, sleep disorder, anxiety and OCD tendencies. The list could go on and on but what I focus on is his tenacity, which has helped him overcome so much. Zachary is very receptive and loving! He communicates his needs by signing or using his vantage communication device. Zachary was born at 36 weeks via scheduled cesarean, and he came into this world bringing such joy. He met every milestone up until the age of 18 months when he suddenly lost what vocabulary he had. Gone was “mama”, “dada”, “cup”, “patty cake” and “bite bite”. I thought he’d lost his hearing but then other things started happening. He stopped making eye contact, interacting with his cousin, stopped sleeping, spun in circles, and hand flapping until he left marks on his thighs. It was a major regression. Something took our bright-eyed little toddler and left behind a different being, one who screamed but yet still clung to his mommy. Autism is a diagnosis no parent should ever have to be told their child has. But yet there it was; a slap in the face!

Fast forward to present day, Zachary has had early intervention, multiple therapies, but still no speech has surfaced, which causes such frustration to the point where he is acting out physically now. His anxiety has led me to home-bound him from school. I am seeking out a service dog to be his best friend, to calm him, to give him the security he needs to achieve his goals. And so that he may engage socially with his peers, maybe one day attend school, sleep in his own bed and become independent.

Zachary is a miracle, not to be underestimated. We nearly lost him last year due to him getting up in the middle of the night to run his own bath and nearly drowning due to a seizure. I never heard him get up after being up with him all night. God gave him back to us. Our house is like Fort Knox but still I know if he wants out he will figure it out! This amazing creature will provide us all with what is most important –  safety!!! We are ready to have this new family member with the help of 4 paws.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Zachary. 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). Include the child’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Zachary Harper 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you,

Jennifer

 

Young Ed already excited about life with a service dog

IMG_0359Ed is a wonderful and loving boy; unfortunately it is hard for people outside his immediate family to know how great Ed is since he has autism.  High-Functioning Autism, often referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome, affects Ed’s ability to communicate, his emotional recognition and expression, and his social interaction.  Due to this social awkwardness, it’s very hard for him to make friends and function in a social setting.  Another impact of Ed’s autism is that he gets very uncomfortable in crowed places or with new people.  For example, when we are out grocery shopping, after about 10 minutes Ed will start showing signs of distress and ask to leave.  The noises and commotion at a place like Meijer or Wal-Mart can quickly overwhelm Ed’s senses. 

In addition to Asperger’s Ed has ADHD and Dyslexia.  Putting those 3 disorders together makes school a nightmare.  This past year Ed was attending a school that specializes in children with special needs.  Half way through the year, the school asked us to start homeschooling Ed.  He just was not able to cope with being in the classroom all day.  Ed’s therapist tested his intelligence, which showed he had a higher than average IQ, but due to his various disorders, he couldn’t function in a school setting.  In fact, we think his relatively high IQ often makes his situation worse since he knows he should be doing better.  This upsets him even more and causes him great frustration. 

To help Ed we’ve been going to counseling since he was 4, often Ed just refuses to talk or cooperate.  We’re trying medication for his ADHD and depression and it seems to be helping a little bit but it has other negative side effects.  But Ed seems to have a special love for all animals, even worms and insects. He’ll carry them to safety if they are in harm’s way.  Ed has a special fondness for dogs and they can have a very positive impact on children with autism.  So we decided to try and get Ed an Autism Assistance Service Dog hoping it will help him cope with his disabilities and better integrate him into society as he reaches his teenage years.  We reached out to 4 Paws for Ability, a non-profit organization that trains and provides quality, task trained service dogs to children worldwide.  After reviewing our application, interviewing us and receiving the doctors’ recommendations, they approved Ed for a service dog. 

Ed is very excited about being able to receive a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability.  Just the idea of having a dog and working towards our fundraising goal is already benefiting Ed.  Our family has been discussing different ways to raise money.  One of Ed’s suggestions was to get a bounce house and charge people $1 to come and play in it.  He came up with the slogan “Raise your fun while we raise funds.”  The kids also put up a lemonade and cookie stand one afternoon.  They managed to earn $3.50 before being rained out.  What we hope turns out to be a big event is a garage sale we are having this weekend.  Not only do we have items from our household but family members and neighbors have been dropping off items for us to sell.  They have been more than generous with their items and hopefully they will turn into a good amount of money for 4 Paws.  When Ed’s grandpa stopped by today to drop off yard sale items Ed was more sociable than he normally is and even said thank you (when prompted) without a grunt or mumble under his breath.  This may not seem like much but it was for Ed.  Along with the garage sale the kids are going to set up a lemonade stand again.  With the extra traffic coming for the garage sale they should surpass their last amount made.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Ed. 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). Include the child’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Ed Wrona 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you,

Jayson, Sarah, Ed, J.J. and Megan Wrona

 

 

Active toddler seeks furry BFF

Rayne Alexander FantigrossiRayne Alexander Fantigrossi is a very active 3-year-old boy. When Rayne was about one and a half I started noticing a few things that seemed different. Our once very talkative, social son started to regress. At the time I chalked it up to his father returning from a deployment in Afghanistan. After some months passed we realized it was not simple regression due to the changes at home. Rayne stopped speaking all together and then he slowly stopped listening to anything we said. We wondered if he had lost his hearing and took him to be evaluated. We were told that his hearing was fine but we should start speech therapy. We started speech therapy and she recommended occupational therapy, as well. From there we went to an ENT to follow up on the possibly hearing issue. He sent us back to the regular pediatrician who along with Rayne’s therapy team sent us to yet another doctor. We ended up at the developmental pediatrician who gave us the diagnosis of moderate to severe classic autism.

Rayne’s biggest challenges are that he is nonverbal, lacks socialization skills, performs repetitive behaviors (stimming), and lacks safety awareness.  Rayne often wants somebody to sit with him but NOT play with him. This is very difficult if not impossible at times when his father is away with the military and I’m here with two children. When there is no one to sleep in his room he oftentimes will not sleep. He will spend the entire night spinning, jumping or yelling. This frequently ends with him having slept only 3 or 4 hours in a night. Rayne is a very light sleeper so times when I’ve tried so lay down and leave later to feed his younger brother, Jayce, he wakes up an cries and does not go back to sleep even if you return to his room. He does sleep well when there is somebody to sit with him and he is not alone. Rayne loves to run. We often go as a family to the park to run/walk three or more miles per day. Even with all of that exercise Rayne is still all “go”.

Some of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as parents are Rayne wandering or running away and watching him be lonely if we can’t sit with him. He also resorts to stimming if we can’t do “squeeze therapy” with him which he needs frequently.  We can’t go out without keeping a tight grip on Rayne. He will run away in a store or parking lot- he will even try to run away if you are walking from the car into the house. He does not understand not to run into a busy road. Multiple occasions I’ve had to sit his brother’s car seat down on the hospital’s sidewalk to run and grab Rayne when he’s pulled away from my grasp and was running toward a very congested road.  He is getting too big to ride in carts at stores making shopping exceptionally difficult. He is very capable as far as motor skills. He can unlock doors whether they are locked with a key or if the locks are close to the ceiling. I am very short 5 feet tall and Rayne is 3-feet-6-inches tall so anything I can reach he can pretty much reach with a step stool or chair. He is also strong so he will move things you wouldn’t think he could move in order to climb up to get things he wants or unlock doors. 

Rayne is very interested in cars, gardening, running, and science. He is very good at taking things apart. If he watches his dad put something together with tools he might get those tools out and take it apart again. If he can’t get the tools because they are outside or hidden he will use something that looks similar that he can find. He loves to dig and plant seeds and watch them come up. He also enjoys aquariums, the beach, and anything to do with marine life including watching science shows about animals and the ocean. He loves to swim and has been going to swim lessons since he was a baby. The only problem is that he does not understand water safety and when there is a body of water he wants to run and jump right in.

We are seeking an Autism service dog for Rayne.  We believe that a dog would help Rayne try to communicate more. We hope that it would help him sleep in place of somebody lying in his room and would be able to do some of the “squish” therapy by sitting on his lap which would allow us to sleep and also get necessary chores done at home while allowing Rayne to have companionship and not feel lonely. A service dog would be able to disrupt some of his stimming by touching and nuzzling him and hopefully that would redirect him to interaction with the dog or something else. We would be able to tether the dog to Rayne so that we could go to the store, park or anywhere and not have Rayne run away without having to have our hands on him holding him all of the time.  Some of Rayne’s doctors and therapists are very enthusiastic about the opportunity for him to have a service animal. They believe it will help him be able to live a more normal life and help long term with speech and socialization skills and we know that a dog would help us feel more comfortable when it comes to safety.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Rayne Fantigrossi. 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 his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Rayne Fantigrossi, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you.

Super 4 year old girl searching for a “super-dog”

arabella_praterMy daughter Arabella Prater is 4 years old.  She has had health issues her entire life.  She is currently awaiting test results for a Mitochondrial disease.  A few of her diagnoses include: low muscle tone, seizures, asthma, dysautonomia (the inability to regulate things such as her body temperature), hypoglycemia, visual impairment, chronic pain, vitamin/mineral/and amino acid deficiencies, fatigue, and chronic infections.
 
The biggest challenge with Arabella is making sure that those caring for her are knowledgeable about her condition (including her health care providers) and keeping her safe.  We must carefully manage her blood sugar with frequent feedings and a feeding tube and she requires hospitalization for special IV fluids to prevent critically low blood sugars anytime she gets a stomach virus.  We have to watch her more closely than most 4 year olds due to balance and depth perception problems.  Daily activities and therapies require careful scheduling to avoid excessive fatigue or sensory overload.

Despite all of her challenges Arabella is full of life.  She is a loving little girl who is obsessed with princesses, who loves animals and playing doctor, and she has a belly laugh that comes straight from her soul.  She takes on her challenges with an incredible strength that only a 4 year old is capable of maintaining while referring to herself as Super-Arabella.  Most importantly Arabella still believes in miracles and that she will feel better someday soon.

Arabella’s dog will be superdog!  She is convinced it will be a female golden retriever that will love to play tea party.  But even while her dog is having tea it will be doing potentially life saving work by alerting us to seizures or drops in blood sugar so that we can correct the problem before she ends up in bad shape.  Her dog will help with mobility, sensory overload, and will be used for tethering, so that she can walk around with more independence without wondering off.  Arabella’s dog will be her guardian angel and will keep her safe even when I need to sleep or cannot be by her side.   It will be an invaluable addition to our family.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Arabella. 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 Arabella Prater, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you!

Tiffany Prater

Family hoping to find a supportive service dog for their beloved Benjamin

Benjamin SilvermanBenjamin Michael Silverman was born on May 13, 2008 by emergency cesarean. When he drew his first breath he weighed a mere 4 lbs. and 8 oz. Due to multiple complications, Benjamin was in the NICU for almost 11 weeks where he survived a pulmonary hemorrhage, along with several other scary events. He was diagnosed with moderate to severe Left Ventricle Non-Compaction while in the NICU. There is no cure or fix for LVNC… only a heart transplant when his heart weakens.

Benjamin definitely had some delays and eating troubles, (he has a g-tube) but they kept pointing everything back to being a preemie. One day we were out and about, (Benjamin was about 10 months old), and there were several younger babies around him. They were lifting their heads, rolling around, and crawling. That’s the minute we knew something else had to be going on. Sure enough, they diagnosed him with cerebral palsy at the next doctor’s appointment. Medical experts still feel they haven’t quite diagnosed Benjamin. There are unanswered questions and we hope in the future to continue to learn more about Benjamin’s conditions or maybe get a diagnosis that would help us give Benjamin better support.

In the meantime, we know the best support he could have right now is a multipurpose service dog. Benjamin just turned five years old. He is non-verbal, has absent seizures that turn grand-mal and has major eating issues. He is also currently being tested for autism. He just started using his walker more consistently but still needs support getting around. His little life is filled with doctor appointments, tests, heart echos, blood draws, PT, OT, speech therapy and more medication then anyone should ever be on. This dog will be his loyal companion and friend, help Benjamin self-regulate his behavior, detect seizures, help with his mobility and bring some fun-loving normalcy to his little life. His service dog will also help him brave this big world with a best buddy by his side.

You cannot meet Benjamin and not just love him to pieces. His smile and contagious laugh will brighten the darkest day. We know that our Benjamin is a gift from God, and that his time here is a precious gift, and we want to do everything we can to enhance his life to the best of our ability. That is why we are so excited we discovered 4 Paws For Ability! 

4 Paws for Ability, Inc. is a non-profit organization that places service dogs with children who have disabilities. They believe that 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.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Benjamin. 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 his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Benjamin Silverman, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

You can also keep tabs on our journey through our blog: http://thelifeandstoriesofbenjaminbutton.blogspot.com/

We are so grateful for those around us who continually support us and show us so much grace and love through this uncharted journey. We thank you!

Thank you!

Nicole Silverman

 

Miakoda has had a long 9-year-road, seeks service dog for journey

Miakoda WeekleyMiakoda Samela Weekley is 9 years old. We first discovered that she was having problems 1 week after she was born. We had her in and out of the ER every other day. Finally they told us not to come back. When she turned 3 weeks old she was in her playpen. I had just gotten our oldest daughter ready for school when an unsettling feeling over whelmed me all at once. I ran into the other room and found our daughter lifeless not breathing. Immediately dialed 911 and started CPR. By the time that the ambulance had got to our house CPR had worked. They loaded her up and took her to the hospital. By the time that we had got there they told us that she had a stroke and heart attack. She then was flown to Children’s Hospital. When we arrived they said that she had started to have seizures that were lasting five minutes every hour. We then knew that we had a long road ahead of us. She was finally released when she was about 5 months old.

We went through a lot of physical therapy and hospital visits. Finally with all the meds and therapy we started on a road to recovery. Everything was on track for the next five years. Then she had another stroke and then her seizures became out of control again. We were on the same road again. We then started to battle the seizures, cognitive, arthritis and other medical issues. Now she is 9, and still battles her arthritis and seizures with two different meds, and has therapy at home. We do go to a lot of doctor appointments and some of those are over five hours away. She has troubles with crowds and stress. She sometimes has outbursts due to the over stress and cannot process some things correctly.

The challenges that we face on a daily basis are cognitive, stress, arthritis and seizures. The meds that she takes are a little challenging. Her balance is off sometimes and she does not get to do a lot of the things that others get to do. I do go to school with her because of her seizures and stress. School is a challenge for her because of her cognitive, stress. She cannot figure out why other students are doing work that she is not and why she has to go to special classes. The stress just builds. A lot of times her body hurts from the arthritis and the stress. Her hips, her knees, her ankles, her hands and her back just don’t like her. She has troubles getting out of bed, bending over, etc.  Sometimes she uses her wheel chair when she is having a bad day or we are going to be out all day with the family and there is a lot of walking involved.

Miakoda likes horses, camping, fishing 4-H and playing outside. She does like sports but is mostly the team cheerleader. She is kind, sweet and very loving. She loves to make everyone happy. If she sees that someone is having a bad day or not happy she will do everything in her power to make them happy. She loves to think that someday that she can have her independence.  She does not like the fact that she cannot do a lot of the things that the other kids can. She gets frustrated.  She sometimes uses her wheel chair. The wheel chair is a challenge for her because it is hard for her to push herself around in. She likes to do things in town since we live in the country. But the crowds over whelm her at times. She is most of the time a target of bullying. The other kids just don’t understand that she is in the third grade but with the mentality and the learning ability of a 1st-grader. She struggles with the fact that they treat her differently at times. She struggles to fit in with the other kids.

We are applying for a seizure dog for Miakoda. The dog to us will not only mean that we are getting a new family member but, will provide a since of security and independence for Miakoda. The new family member will help her with her balance, seizures, mobility, and help her with her stress. Help her when she goes to the hospital and to Dr.’s appointments also.

It will cost 4 Paws $ 22,000 to place a do with Miakoda. We are committed to raising $ 13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach out 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 Miakoda Weekley, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank You,

The Weekley Family

Zachary seeks autism assistance dog

Zachary FiorilloThe four words I was most afraid of echoed in our tiny evaluation room that snowy February day in 2011: “Your son has autism.”

It wasn’t a surprise. We had suspected for almost a year. Zachary was 2, and could repeat an entire episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but he could not put two words together on his own. He couldn’t answer me if I called his name. His peers were interested in playing together and Zach always preferred to play alone. My repeated efforts at bringing our concerns about our son’s development fell upon deaf ears at our pediatrician’s office. We heard the same phrases over and over again – “He’s a boy. Give him time. He’ll talk a little later.” As new parents, we trusted the advice of the doctors and waited. Our son grew deeper into his own world. We were desperate to get help for him. We began therapy and learned our new roles as special needs parents. The diagnosis was the first step in a journey that was going to be the most challenging and rewarding experience of our lives.

Zachary is now a bright, loving and energetic 4-year-old little boy. He loves to move! Running, jumping, swinging, sliding, twirling, spinning. He’s an active little guy. We try to feed this constant movement desire, but Zachary has absolutely no awareness of danger. He would run into a street without concern of cars. He has a tendency to wander off away from us if we aren’t clinging on to his hand or if he isn’t safely secured in a stroller. He sleeps in a zipped up tent that surrounds his bed because he would try to test our locks at night. We constantly fear for Zach’s safety. This concern is what initially led us to seek the services of an autism assistance dog.

4 Paws For Ability is an organization in Xenia, Ohio, that places certified Service Dogs with children with various disabilities. They train dogs specifically to the needs of individual children in order to provide them with safety, security and independence. Autism Assistance dogs are trained to provide a variety of sensory stimulations. They are trained to interrupt certain behaviors and calm meltdowns by laying across a child’s lap to give them pressure stimulation. They can also act as an anchor for a child that wanders away by being tethered to the child with a special waist strap attached to both the dog and the child. But most importantly, these dogs are trained to search and track a child that has gone missing. They can follow their scent and find a child who has fled within minutes. This skill alone is our main drive to secure a service dog for our son.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Zachary. 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 his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Zachary Fiorillo, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.

Thanks,

Laura Fiorillo

Hazaiah faces challenges, seeks service dog

Hazaiah ThomasHazaiah Thomas was born September 24, 2005. Shortly after he was born at the age of 8 months, he lost oxygen to his brain and began to have hemorrhaging in his lung and eyes. He received several blood transfusions and was not expected to make it through the night. Doctors said that if he did make it through the night he would never be the same.

Hazaiah made a miraculous recovery, but has also faced many challenges with meeting developmental milestones.

In the winter of 2009, Hazaiah was diagnosed with autism. It wasn’t until he started school in the fall of 2010 that we were really able to see how autism would affect his life. He wasn’t able to hold a pencil, cut with scissors; simple things like zipping his own pants were difficult for him. I made the decision at that point that no matter what happened that year I would retain him in Kindergarten and make sure he received the best service in and outside of school.

As Hazaiah’s mother, I was determined to do everything in my power to ensure that he could lead a prosperous and full life. This includes neuropsychology, psychology, psychiatry, ABA, and OT appointments. In addition to his appointments every morning we wake up and do therapeutic brushing, joint compressions, all while he is tuned into his listening system. Needless to say, we lead a very busy life. Everything we have done has proven to be helpful in stimulating Hazaiah’s brain and helping him to become more self sufficient and independent.

We would love to see Hazaiah to continue to get life changing help through his autism service dog. His dog will help him stay safe through His dog will help him stay safe through a tethering system, which would prevent him from impulsively running away in parking lots and public places.

His dog will help in calming him in the midst of sensory overload. And most importantly his dog will help him feel understood, something that all too many autistic children often do not feel because the world around them can’t seem to grasp how or why they operate the way they do.

Please help my family’s effort in continuing to change Hazaiah’s life for the better.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Hazaiah. 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 his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Hazaiah Thomas, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you 

-Tiesha Thomas

Eiji seeks autism service dog

Eiji Vincent Lucien HoffmanEiji Vincent Lucien Hoffman is 3 years old.

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:

-Meltdowns

- 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.

Thank you,

Amy Hoffmann

Mia Isabella Perez is looking for partner in independence

Mia PerezTwo years ago, we welcomed our third little yummy bundle, Mia Isabella. To tell you that joy and excitement were part of that day is an understatement. 

She was our third child and our last, and we were so happy and excited to welcome her to our close-knit family. Emma, her older sister, was excited to have a little playmate, someone to dress up and play teacher with. What a magical day. The moments of that day are unbelievably vivid in my mind, a glimpse of how emotionally charged that day was. I knew immediately from the moment I held her after she was born, however, that something wasn’t right, but I was continually reminded that I was tired.

I was told, “There is a 1-year-old at home, your hormones are raging, etc.” However, she was immediately taken for testing with the preface of,  “everything is going to be OK, Mrs. Peres.”  

Fast-forward two years, and we have a diagnosis. Are you ready? She was diagnosed as having Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy, left-sided hemiparesis with dyspraxia and ataxia of speech. Basically she had a stroke that left her left side weaker. She has flaccid muscle tone (hypotonic), the stroke affected her mid-brain (Cerebral Palsy is associated with mid-brain injury or the area of the brain that affects movement), dyspraxia has to do with motor planning, what it takes your brain to initiate and carry out a movement and ataxia is the motor planning aspects of speech, etc.     

Regardless of all the doctor visits and diagnosis and blood tests and surgeries and therapies and that diagnosis – she is our ray of sunshine. 

Her tenacity and her spirit have proved every single doctor wrong. She crawls and is pulling herself up to stand. She cruises on furnisher. She is our Mia. She has forced us all to grow and adapt both individually and as a family, and now we are experiencing more of that growth. She is an unstoppable force of nature. She is moving and striving for her independence. As her mom, I will always be her loudest and proudest cheerleader, and that leads me to the present situation at hand. 

She needs a partner in crime, a companion in her mission to become more independent. She needs a doggy; a doggy that will accept her the way other kids at the playground don’t, because they see the walker coming. She needs a companion that will bond with her, one who isn’t mom and dad and family; a doggy all her own, that can help her open doors and grab things that have fallen and can help her with her walker. A partner that won’t want to tame the force of nature, but rather go along for the ride, because she deserves that, she deserves independence to succeed on her own terms, just like all children do, not despite her disability, but because of her great ability.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Mia. 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). Include the child’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his/her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Mia Isabella Perez, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you. 

Thanks,

Miriam & Edward

Riley knows, ‘no battle is won without leaving scars’

Riley BrownRiley is 7 years old with an infectious smile and a laugh that will melt your heart. His loving personality and bright eyes will make you fall in love with him in an instant. Just by looking at him, you would never know what he has been through in his short life.

Riley was diagnosed, at 18 months, with severe intractable epilepsy. With the progression of seizures, Riley has developed severe developmental delays and is non-verbal. By the time he turned 4, he was tested and shown to be at the level of a 3-month-old. His EEG’s were showing that he was having over 100 seizures a day. Not only were they taking a toll on his brain, but his body as well. We tried everything from medications and herbal supplements, to the Ketogenic diet. None of it seemed to work.

The day after his 4th birthday, Riley had his first brain surgery. The doctors performed a Corpus Callosotomy, where they separated the right side of the brain from the left side. After a very quick recovery, Riley began to flourish, regaining the abilities he lost and learning some new ones. A short 10 months later the seizures returned with a vengeance, and once again started pulling our precious boy away from us.

Last October, Riley had his second brain surgery to remove the spot that was generating his seizures. The doctors successfully removed the seizure generator. Since his last surgery, Riley has once again begun to flourish as a little boy.

No battle is won without leaving scars, and Riley is no exception. Though the seizures may be gone, (hopefully for good this time), he suffers from the toll they took on his brain. Riley still has severe developmental delays, as well as being non-verbal.  He shows no fear or sense of danger; combine that with his strength and quickness, and is a walking recipe for devastation. In public people stare and whisper because they think he is just an ill-tempered kid acting out, when in reality he is so excited to be out of the house. Outside of our family, Riley does not have many friends. Most children just stare or ask, “What’s wrong with him?” 

Receiving a Multipurpose Assistant Dog would give Riley the ability to do so much, as well as give him confidence and independence. Children would no longer see a boy with disabilities, but a friend with a dog. People would no longer whisper behind his back in public, but rather come and talk to Riley about the dog that just kept him from having a meltdown at the mall. Plus, it is always nice to have an extra set of eyes and hands, or paws in this case, for the next time a fire truck rolls by with the sirens blazing, and Riley decides to try and run out into traffic to chase it. We know the dog would help us in distracting those behaviors and keeping Riley safe. If Riley decides to try and wander off, these dogs are trained to help track him as well. And for anyone who knows Riley, knows he is a wanderer. We know having this dog would do so much for Riley.

4 Paws for Ability, Inc. is a non-profit organization that places service dogs with children who have disabilities. They believe that 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.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Riley. 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, or mail a check with his name on the memo line to:

4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Riley Brown, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

-Jason & Ashley England

4 Paws for little ballerina

Mercedes Ciara-Li JohnstonMercedes Ciara-Li Johnston is a loving 5-year-old girl with a very compassionate heart.  She loves playing dress up, with her Lalaloopsy rag dolls, and with her baby brother. She has just started ballet after about two years of asking, but she enjoys all kinds of dance.  She played hockey this winter, but is now showing interest in figure skating. 

She was adopted into our family at the age of 2, just six months after her older brother.  Around the age of 3, we started to notice similar characteristics that her brother had shown before being diagnosed with Static Encephalopathy alcohol exposed. Mercedes was diagnosed with Static Encephalopathy the same form of FASD as her older brother at the age of 5. Along with this Mercedes suffers from a sensory disorder where she is easily over stimulated and can’t recover from being overloaded without a significant amount of time passing.  Mercedes also suffers with an extreme fear of being left behind and can easily get disoriented to where she feels that she is lost. 

Mercedes is currently in Kindergarten and trying her best.  Some days she is unable to complete her homework due to her sensory disorder and being over stimulated.  When she is over stimulated she can quickly become angry and frustrated and doubt her abilities to complete the task at hand.   

Like all parents we try to provide the best for our special ballerina.  Mercedes sees an occupational therapist twice a week for sensory, a speech therapist once a week for language, a counselor once a week that specializes in working with children with FASD and activity therapist one or two times per week. Our next major goal for Mercedes is to be able to provide her with a FASD assistance dog.  

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong disability that looking from the outside in you may never be able to tell a person has this disability.  That’s why they call FASD the hidden disability.  We are hoping that Mercedes is able to get an FASD assistance dog so that her triggers can be recognized earlier and meltdowns diffused quicker so that she can bond socially with her peers and others.  We are hoping that when the meltdowns do occur her service dog will be able to provide her with the deep pressure she needs to calm down and that the service dog will be there for her when she becomes over stimulated.  Last but not least we want the service dog for her safety incase she wanders off she can be tracked and if she begins to feel disoriented and her fear of being left behind sets in she will have her service dog at her side to hold onto and accompany her.      

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Mercedes. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws Mission and can reach our goal with your help.  Any help that can be provided would be greatly appreciated.  If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now).  Include Mercedes name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal.  Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws For Ability, In Honor of Mercedes Johnston, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, OH 45385.

We would like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our heart for your support and help in making this dream come true for our little ballerina. 

Thank you,

-Robert and Season Johnston

 

Lil’ fighter needs furry partner

By Robin Howard 

Born early at 27 weeks gestation, Nicholas Howard came into this world as a fighter and as with many premature babies; he was placed on a ventilator and was given a feeding tube immediately after birth.

Born 13 weeks early we were faced with several life threatening health issues and there were several times the physician and nurses told me that they just were not sure if he was going to make it.

He was in the hospital for several months and during that time he experienced two collapsed lungs and numerous infections. When Nicholas would have his good days I would think, ” Yes, mama’s little man is a fighter and is going to be okay.” Then things would take a turn for the worse and I would wonder how much more fight is left in my little man. 

At 3 months old, he was discharged from the hospital and Nicholas wore oxygen and a sleep apnea monitor continuously for the next seven months. By the time my little fighter was 6 months old he had his first surgery. He had undergone two groin hernia repairs and a hypospadias repair. When he was three he had undergone three more surgeries. The first was an exploratory surgery to see what was the mass in his abdomen—the other two where the removal of urachal cysts, which developed MRSA both times following the surgeries.

Due to being premature I expected Nicholas to have physical, mental, and social delays. As he got older his Headstart teacher and I began to notice his behavior was different from the others. Nicholas didn’t like being around other kids, he didn’t like loud noises, and would get very upset and have meltdowns if any part of his routine varied in any way. He also started “parroting” words and actions of cartoons and super hero characters he would see on television. 

Nicholas also developed several tics, which include teeth grinding, facial elongation, and hand flapping. He also puts his hands together and taps them together; tap his fingers objects, and taps fingers on mouth. I took Nicholas to neurologist and he was diagnosed Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) a type of autism spectrum disorder, Severe Anxiety, ADHD, Migraines, Asthma, and a Vitamin D Deficiency. 

Like any parent, especially those of a special needs child, I try to provide Nicholas with whatever he needs to face his challenges. He is now attending school and sees an occupational therapist weekly to work on his motor skills. My next goal is to provide Nicholas with an autism assistance dog. This dog would bring comfort to Nicholas during his meltdowns and hopefully make it easier to open up socially with his peers by focusing the attention on the dog. 

An autism assistance dog would also help with my biggest concern, which is the safety of Nicholas. While he is very afraid of strangers and doesn’t like going to crowded places, he does have the habit of being in his own world and not paying attention to where he is walking off to. Nicholas would be tethered to the dog and this would keep him from walking off and possibly getting hurt because he isn’t paying attention. 

Nicholas, once he gets to know you, is funny, bright, outgoing, and loving little boy. As any parent would say, I just want what’s best for my little man. He had to overcome so many different obstacles and unfortunately there are many more in his future. I really believe with all my heart that having a service dog would make a huge positive impact on his life and would help Nicholas face whatever tomorrow holds for him with peace in his heart and a smile on his face.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Nicholas and I am committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission. The only way I can meet this goal is with the help of caring individuals such as you. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to help Nicholas get this autism assistance dog, please mail a check with his name on the memo line to:

4 Paws For Ability 
In Honor of Nicholas Howard
235 Dayton Ave. 
Xenia, OH 47385

If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include his name: Nicholas Howard, in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. 

On behalf of my little man, my fighter, my life, my son Nicholas Howard, I thank each of you with all of my heart for helping me help him.

Love, 
Robin Howard 

Sweet, loving teenage girl seeking seizure-alert dog

By Paige Murakami

My daughter’s full name is Alana Christine Mulvany… but we call her ‘Bug’.

She is 16 years old, and was diagnosed with Epilepsy when she was just 6 years old. Alana has a seizure disorder called Jeavons Syndrome, and we deal with seizures often. It affects every part of our life, and hers.

Alana has had to deal with a lot, because of her condition. She is often a target for bullying, and teasing which leads to Alana being angry, sad, and confused. She doesn’t understand why. It breaks our heart for her, because all she has is love for everyone even the ones that tease her.

She is the sweetest most loving child who just wants to be accepted. I just wish people in general could learn to look at everybody, and love them for what they bring to the table.

Alana is full of life, and loves to laugh, and have fun. She enjoys dancing, listening to music, and putting puzzles together. She loves food especially lasagna, and chili. Alana is challenged in a lot of areas, but never lets get her down. She continues to work hard everyday without complaint. She is a joy to have around, and all we want for her is to feel the joy that she gives to others.

I believe a seizure-alert dog could do that. I know a dog would give her confidence, and such joy. She loves animals, and tells us all the time if she were to get a dog she’d love it, and cuddle it, and take care of it, and it would be her best friend. Alana right now doesn’t feel confident enough to get more than an eyes view from anyone because of her seizures. I know that if she had a dog that would change.

A service dog would provide so much love, and joy, and a confidence she hasn’t had in a really long time. She struggles daily with understanding of the littlest tasks sometimes. Alana struggles academically, and doing the smallest of tasks sometimes not because she can’t do it. It is because she doesn’t remember what certain things are or the meanings of words. For example, she was asked to go get a broom out of the garage, and after several minutes had passed. I went out to find her, and she was standing in the middle of the garage crying, because she couldn’t remember what a broom was. She is aware of her struggles, and that is part of reason she struggles so bad.

We just want for her to feel accepted and loved. I know that dog will help get her through her darkest days when talking to mom isn’t good enough. 

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Alana. 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). Include the child’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Alana Christine Mulvany, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.

Teen with autism seeks service dog

By John & Laurie Smith

Marisa Smith is a 14-year-old autistic child with a wonderful, imaginative personality and once you get to know her, she makes a lasting impression.  

She is very artistic and you will find her often drawing in her sketchbook, turning that wonderful imagination into pictures on a page. She especially loves drawing pictures of wolves. This talent is an icebreaker for the few social relationships that she has.  She is very passionate and knowledgeable about animals. She mimics their sounds and they respond immediately, you would almost think they were talking to each other. 

During a trip to one of the area wildlife centers, she became interested in Lemurs. She has helped raise money for the Duke Lemur Center. She is quite a remarkable young lady. Marisa has endured 3 brain surgeries to correct a congenital brain deformity and has been diagnosed with autism and has extreme sensory issues. She does not function independently.  

Every day is a struggle for her. She has many challenges in school and other social settings. Everyday changes and transitions tend to be very traumatic experiences that greatly increase her already inflated anxiety levels. She cannot interpret body language and facial expression as well as the rest of us and often misunderstands people’s intentions. In overwhelming situations she feels like she has to get away (she has wandered off of school grounds unexpectedly and gone missing on more than one occasion) so she must be monitored constantly. She experiences night terrors that leave her screaming and thrashing in her bed. 

An autism service dog would help calm her during the anxious, stressful and overwhelming times. They would be there to wake her and take her out of those traumatic dreams that leave her fearful. It would be a companion to a child with very few people she can call friends and maybe help open up the doorway to new relationships with her peers. 

A service dog would be there to calm, distract and redirect Marisa when she feels like she needs to get away from those overwhelmingly stressful situations. Marisa receiving a service dog will be a true blessing to our family! It will allow her to gain more independence and provide a safety net for her, as well as peace of mind for us, her parents.  

We have agreed to become volunteers for 4 Paws for Ability, to help raise $13,000 to support their mission of being able to place service dogs to families who need them. 

4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit organization that places service dogs with children who have disabilities. They believe that 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. 

With your help, we can reach our goal, and 4 Paws can begin the 11-month process of training a dog for Marisa. Thank you so much! 

If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include the child’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Marisa Smith, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you,

John & Laurie Smith

Aarilynne in need of seizure-alert service dog

By Holly McConnell

Aarilynne McConnell is a bright, sweet, and very beautiful 4-year-old little girl who lives with her parents, an older sister, and a younger sister in Summerville, S.C. However, Aarilynne suffers from several debilitating medical complications as well as global developmental delays (GDD).

Aarilynne was born 6 weeks prematurely after a complicated pregnancy. We knew Aarilynne was a very special child the moment we laid eyes on her. She was not breathing at birth and had to be intubated for several hours, then she was placed on a nasal C-pap for several days while she was in NICU.

While she was still in the hospital we noticed her whole body would tremble and vibrate spontaneously. The doctors said that the tremors were due to her having an underdeveloped nervous system from her prematurity. We accepted this response for the time being.

When Aarilynne was 2 months old the tremors were still present, so her pediatrician referred her to a neurologist who diagnosed her with Clonus.

Aarilynne began physical therapy at 4 months old to help with her gross motor development, which was already showing delays. Her physical therapist noticed that Aarilynne was having staring spells. Her neurologist said they were absent seizures.

Then at 5½ months old Aarilynne had her first Grand Mal seizure. This seizure was accompanied by a high fever and lasted 55 minutes nonstop. Once the doctors were able to get the initial seizure to stop Aarilynne continued to have seizures every 5-10 minutes lasting 10-15 minutes each for the next 4 hours.

That was the longest night of our lives! We were so afraid we were going to lose our precious angel. After a week in the hospital following several MRI’s, CT Scans, and EEG’s, Aarilynne was released. As time went on, Aarilynne continued to suffer from numerous Grand Mal seizures monthly averaging 40 minutes per seizure.

She has had multiple inpatient and outpatient EEG’s, MRI’s, and CT Scans performed as well as several hospital stays and ER visits due to her seizures. Her neurologists felt Aarilynne needed to be seen by a specialist.

At the age of 2, Aarilynne was referred to a neurogenetisist in Atlanta, GA. During our stay in Atlanta, Aarilynne had a mitochondrial test performed as well as a muscle biopsy of her left thigh, and a lower lumbar puncture. The results of these tests were devastating to our family. It was found that Aarilynne has a gene mutation called SCN1A. With this finding, Aarilynne was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome.

She was also diagnosed with Mitochondrial Dysfunction. Dravet Syndrome is a very rare neurological disorder that has global effects on the nervous system, mostly presenting in various forms of seizures. There are several triggers to Aarilynne’s seizures. Being too hot, too cold, over exerted or too sleepy are just some of the triggers that puts Aarilynne into seizures.

Everything has to be carefully monitored for her, including bath water temperature. There is currently no cure for Dravet Syndrome. To date Aarilynne has suffered from over 2,000 seizures of various types. She averages 6 to 8 Grand Mal seizures a month. She has multiple absent seizures and seizure clusters daily.

Aarilynne has been on 11 different medications in a variety of combinations to help control her seizures. Unfortunately we haven’t had much success. We have been lucky enough to be able to help bring some of her seizure lengths down to 5 to 10 minutes with some medications. This is something Aarilynne will always have to live with and this is a challenge we will face as a family!

She will always have constant visits to doctors, therapists, and hospitals. But Aarilynne is proving she is a fighter and she is determined to overcome this disability. Aarilynne has fortunately been approved to receive a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability located in Xenia, Ohio. 4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit organization that trains service dogs for children and adults with special needs.

Aarilynne will receive a service dog who will be trained to alert us if she is in a seizure, perform search and rescue should she get lost, tethering (where both Aarilynne and the service dog will wear special harnesses to prevent Aarilynne from running off into parking lots and in public places), as well as assist with behavior control.

Aarilynne receiving this service dog will be a true blessing to our family! It will allow Aarilynne to gain more independence and provide a safety net for her, as well as peace of mind for us, her parents. In accepting this service dog, we have agreed to become volunteers for 4 Paws to help raise $13,000 to support their mission of being able to place service dogs to families who need them.

We are asking that donations of any amount be sent to 4 Paws For Ability, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385, in honor of Aarilynne McConnell. Donations are tax deductible and can be made in the form of check, money order, or online at www.4pawsforability.org/donations.html. Please be sure to put “In Honor of Aarilynne McConnell” in the memo section of checks and money orders or in the special instructions section online.

Please help us reach our goal of $13,000 so Aarilynne can receive her service dog and move forward to a more independent and safe life. For a further look into what life is like for Aarilynne, please view a video made by her family – Life with Epilepsy and Dravet Syndrome.

Jamiee Lynn’s heart needs furry BFF

By Star Hein 

My name is Star Hein, I am the proud mom to Jamiee Lynn.

My daughter was born ready for a long hard fight. She was born with a severe heart condition called Shone’s Complex. Which basically means there are multiple problems with the left side of the heart. She was also born with a chromosome defect called 22q11.2 Duplication. There are only about 30 reported cases in the world. Due to complication associated with her heart she had a stroke at 2 years old. The stroke has caused her to have balance and strength issues. Around the same time we were told that Jamiee had ADHD.

Jamiee is now 5 years old and we have been told that not only does she have ADHD, but she also shows signs of autistic behaviors along with social and sensory disorders. Jamiee is extremely sweet and loving, but going out into large crowds can cause major melt downs and Jamiee basically breaks down. We have had to leave a lot of places due to it. Going to the store can be very trying at times too. My daughter has a lot of behavioral issues due to medical history and not understanding how to process situations. And when she does talk, she doesn’t understand social cues.

I feel with the help of 4 Paws for Ability Jamiee can be partnered with a service dog to better help her. The dog would help with her balance issues, and also help with her social and autistic issues too. Jamiee loves dogs so very much and we are praying this is the answer to help our princess.

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Jamiee. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission. And with your help, I think we can do that. If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws donation page (www.4pawsforability.org) or mail a check with Jamiee’s name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability,  In honor of Jamiee Lynn Hein, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

 

Let’s give Corrina a seizure service dog!

By Corrina’s mother

Our 15-year-old daughter is named Jahayra Corrina Carlos, but she goes by her middle name, Corrina.

Corrina was a fine and healthy young girl, got good grades in school, and her teachers enjoyed having her around. I did notice when she was a toddler that she walked late. She also didn’t speak, so when she started preschool she wasn’t able to do much in terms of following directions and communicating, so she attended speech and language therapy for three or four years.

Her seizures started when she was in the sixth grade. She had just had lunch when she fell to the floor. Some teachers were nearby and saw students trying to help her, and ran over to them. Her eyes were rolled back, her face was purple, and she was not breathing. Corrina’s coach did CPR on her until she started breathing again. 

When the news media found out what had happened, they did a story on her. We also got hold of the news station to see if we could nominate her coach for teacher of the week and they agreed, so Corrina was on the news once more.

Things began getting worse: low grades in subject after subject. The teachers called my attention to the fact that she daydreamed a lot in school and that she seemed to stare at them like she was paying attention, but they when they’d call her name she had no idea what was going on. That’s when we found out she also has staring seizures.

Now she’s in 9th grade Special Ed and all the teachers know and understand the problem, so when she’s having a staring seizure they ask if she’s okay and what was the last thing she heard them saying, etc. Although they care and help, and although she’s trying so hard, she’s barely getting passing grades.

Although she’s 15, it’s like she’s 11 or 12. This is sad, but I try not to show it around her. I’m not able to give her much privacy or freedom, like being left alone for sleepovers or letting her go to her friends’ houses. Or not being able to be outside without someone being with her.

Corrina loves to play with games, likes dogs and cats, kittens and puppies, and taking care of animals on the Nintendo 3ds. She wanted to be a veterinarian when she grows up but after I explained a little about it, she changed her mind. She’s very tender-hearted.

Corrina also loves to read books and draw and color, and play with her dolls in her room. She’s very sweet and kind and always wants to help but of course sometimes she gets frustrated because of her limitations.

We heard about 4 Paws for Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their specially trained Service Dogs. We are applying for a seizure dog because she has epileptic seizures and staring seizures. The dog would make such a big difference to Corrina because she will be able to do more things that a teenager does.

Right now she is so limited. For example we don’t let her ride her bike unless she wears her helmet and an adult is watching. That’s because a seizure could come at any moment and she could fall off the bike. The same goes for other activities like swinging, playing, roller skating, or going outside with her friends.

Her sister and her brothers always have to be with her. Corrina does have a difficult time understanding why things are the way they are, and she wishes she could be able to think and act and be like all the regular girls her age.

Our family is volunteering to help raise $13,000 for training a service dog, and we would appreciate your help by donating, tax free, to 4 Paws for Ability in Corrina’s name. You can donate online at http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now/ or send a check to:

4 Paws for Ability, Inc.
253 Dayton Avenue
Xenia, Ohio 45385

Seizure alert dog will help detect Lilly’s seizures

By Christina Bavinck

Lilly Apryl Oens

When my daughter Lilly Apryl Oens was about six months old, I noticed she was weak in her legs.  I also noticed Lilly wasn’t developing like she should. Instead of playing she just wanted to be held and lay around.  As time went on and she started to crawl and pull herself up to stand, her legs would give out on her.  Her legs giving out would cause her to fall. Still, as more time went on  Lilly was always tired, and seemed not to want to play much. 

About the same time, she had a Grand Mal Febrile Seizure.  About a week later, Lilly had an 11-minute seizure that resembled a stroke. After these seizures and having to call 911. I consulted with pediatricians, neurologists, and genetics doctors. It was determined Lilly was having atypical and complex seizures. 

Lilly’s seizures vary from different types of seizures and the length of seizures. After Lilly has a seizure she becomes tired, cranky, and sometimes throws up. After her last big seizure, it was hard to get her to come out of it and stay alert. This became very frightening.  Lilly has up to four seizures a week. Lilly has been prescribed two medications for her seizures. They help control Lilly’s small seizures, but do not completely keep her from having them. 

Her medications also make her a little irritable after she take them for a couple hours. She also suffers from leg spasms, which happen two to three times a week.  When Lilly has leg spasms she cries and says “ouchie”  and is up all night because she can’t sleep. These make her a miserable, sad little girl.  It’s heartbreaking to watch her go through everything she has at such a young age.  

My biggest challenge and concern for Lilly is the daily concern that she is going to have a bad seizure in her sleep and I won’t be there to help her. Obtaining a seizure alert dog from 4 Paws would be of help to Lilly. The dog would alert our family if Lilly was going to have a seizure day or night.  Then Lilly would get medical help faster.  

She comes to work with me (I work at our family owned group home), and I rarely leave her to be watched by anyone.  I walk on “pins and needles” worrying if she is going to have a seizure. If Lilly gets a fever or gets sick (something as small as a cold) she has a seizure.   

Lilly has been through so much and is still a happy, extremely loving little girl. She is definitely her Momma’s hero!!!   Lilly likes to be read to, play with animals (her favorite are monkeys, birds and dogs), get her fingernails and toenails painted, and likes to go for walks.  Lilly likes to look at the moon at night with her step-daddy, sing songs and say her prayers before bedtime with her Mommy, and play outside in the dirt with her brothers and sisters. 

We think obtaining a dog for Lilly would be good for her and us. 4 Paws approach to placement is to partner with their clients. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Lilly. 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/donation) or mail a check with Lilly’s name on the memo line to:

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Lilly Oens
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385

Thank you from the Oens family!

Little Kai needs Autism Service Dog for calming and tracking

By Kai’s Parents

Even during pregnancy, we were constantly reminded that Kai was extremely active and strong. We can easily look back now and say that he was adamantly telling us that he, even then, had tremendous sensory needs. As an infant, Kai needed to be cuddled, tightly swaddled, swung, and bounced at all times. However, He often seemed unaware that he was being spoken to. He did not seem to pay much attention to the conversations around him either.

It took some time for us to convince a physician that we needed additional help for Kai. At Kai’s two year old check-up, we finally convinced his fifth physician that our concerns warranted a referral.

Thanks to Early Intervention therapeutic efforts after the age of two, Kai is now amidst the long process of learning to cope with and compensate for the many issues that impact his daily functioning. However, Kai still continues to demonstrate an inability to self-regulate, and is highly dependent upon us to assist him in coping, calming, and comforting processes.

Kai even experiences difficulty with the required self-regulation needed to develop regular routine sleeping habits and patterns. He falls asleep with us out on the couch, before he can then be carefully transferred to his own bed. He also typically wakes up two-to-three times a week during the middle of the night. Usually around three or four o’clock in the morning, we can count on him to call out to us to rejoin at the couch for the remainder of his sleeping hours.

Predominantly Kai’s personal difficulties can be mainly attributed to Sensory Processing Disorder, which has also been known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction. SPD is a neurological disorder which affects the way Kai receives, interprets, stores, and recalls information. This greatly impacts Kai’s ability to understand and appropriately participate in the world which surrounds him.

Stemming from these core issues, Kai was additionally diagnosed with dyspraxia and apraxia. These terms describe difficulty in the motor planning involved in gross and fine motor movements as well as those correlated to speech, respectively.

This collective grouping of learning disabilities often makes everyday life experiences for Kai extremely challenging and often times overwhelming. Kai is unable to fully enjoy and benefit from learning experiences at the same capacity as his typically developing peers because he is often over-stimulated and overwhelmed by his surroundings.

Subsequently, Kai is significantly delayed in speech and language development. His poor command of language makes it extremely difficult for him to convey his wants and needs to other individuals, especially his peers. Additionally, Kai does not have a well-developed understanding of environmental dangers. His behavior is still largely impulsive, and based upon immediate, short term gains and sensory seeking.

It would be an understatement to state that Kai is a flight risk. At any given moment he may dart out with absolutely no regard for his own safety. We lovingly describe him as an opportunistic runner. Kai must be watched like a hawk at all times to ensure his safety.

Our constant worries regarding his safety and potential for sensory overload impede our ability to provide Kai with adequate, real-life learning experiences. We avoid any errands with Kai that cannot be quickly accomplished from the car. Currently, we are limited to taking him to playgrounds, and the Children’s Museum. These are the places in which society’s standards for child behavior are a bit more realistic for Kai’s abilities and needs.

We would love to get out into the community, as a family, more often. Kai loves interacting with others and exploring nature, but he needs further assistance to make these sustaining, beneficial, and enjoyable learning experiences. There are so many things and experiences that we want to share with Kai, and we deeply believe that a service dog will significantly enhance Kai’s continued progress.

With the assistance of a service dog, the following activities would be more beneficial and enjoyable for Kai: errand-running; attending therapeutic sessions; large family gatherings; trips to zoos; trips to various museums; hiking; camping; car trips lasting longer than twenty minutes; engaging in verbal exchange with peers; learning social etiquette; an ability to attend school in a large setting, and eventually blending into a mainstream classroom; and we cross our fingers for any additional sleeping aid that may come from the unique bond between a boy and his dog.

There is a long road of growth and discovery in his future, and we truly think that a service dog is the calming, comforting, and protective companion Kai needs to increase his independence, functionality, social skills, and learning opportunities. Kai is extremely intelligent, friendly, happy, curious and excitable. He has an infectious smile, laugh, and energy. A specially-trained companion is just what he needs to facilitate his capacity for individual growth.

We would like to thank you for supporting 4 Paws For Ability, and would appreciate that you do so in honor of our son Kai. Thank You so Much – The Foutts Family 

Joshua needs service dog to track and help with social issues

By Patty Caudle

Joshua has social issues. His life is set around cars, trains, and animals. He doesn’t make friends. The previously mentioned items are life and friends. He becomes violent towards other people without cause and he is also a child who frequently runs away. He has run away in the middle of the night and has been returned home by the sheriff as well as other neighbors. On one occasion he was two feet away from a rattlesnake.

I have applied to 4 Paws for Ability for a service dog that works specifically with Autistic children to assist Joshua when he gets worked up, because the dogs have ways to bring an autistic child down from a frustrated level to having fun just by as simple nudge of a lick or dropping a ball in front of them. 

We heard about 4 Paws For Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their Autism Service Dogs. We think obtaining a dog for Joshua would be beneficial to Joshua, and us. 4 Paws has a unique approach to placement. They partner with their clients and by doing so are able to place dogs without a long waiting list. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Joshua. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help.

The dog will scent the child and help me to seek out the direction in which he went so that I can find him.

Another good thing that a service dog will do is while in public while I am shopping, the dog is attached to Joshua and so Joshua cannot make mad dashes away from me.

The dog will be an extreme asset to me. I am not in the best of health. I can run and chase my son, however, the time that the dog spends with Joshua gives me time to take breathers . . . because Josh has a friend.

I have been writing to various organizations to obtain donations to help obtain the dog because my husband and I cannot afford it: we already care for a 34-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy and a nine-year-old granddaughter who had a traumatic incident happen in her life that will take many years to get over.

If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page or mail a check with Joshua Caudle’s name on the memo line to:

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Joshua Caudle
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385

Thank You From Joshua and myself Patty Caudle, Joshua’s mother and our family.

Kennan Brower needs FASD/multi-purpose service dog

By Delmer and Ann Michelle Brower

Our son, Kennan James Brower, is seven-and-a-half years old. At age three, we noticed some things weren’t quite right, but did not know how serious it was until a little over a year ago.

We discovered that because of nicotine, alcohol, and cocaine exposure in utero, he has the following diagnosis:

  1. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder)
  2. ODD (oppositional defiant)
  3. SPD (Sensory processing disorder)
  4. DBD (disruptive behavior disorder)
  5. Unspecified learning disorder
  6. Probable FASD/ARND (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder/alcohol related neurodevelopment disorder)

The biggest challenges we’ve faced so far are acting out and disruptive behavior, name calling, difficulty controlling anger outbursts. Kennan has a hard time concentrating, and is very impulsive. He has a hard time learning from consequences, and had a hard time learning to read.

Certain types of textures, noises, and touches send him into meltdown. Writing and homework is difficult for him. He has problems sleeping through the night. It’s tough making good friends and keeping them. He misses social cues, and has a hard time sitting still. Doesn’t like school. Any change is difficult for him.

This sweet child struggles with frustration, sensory misinterpretations (kind of like crossed wires). He likes to be read to especially Box Car Children and A to Z mysteries. He likes to be outside. He likes art: PLAY DOUGH, chalk, paint. He likes music. He likes Legos and Star Wars, Phineas and Ferb show. He likes going to the zoo.

He is good with tools and baking. He’s also good at memorizing and recalling them for skits. He is a happy child and has a contagious grin and can be very funny. He can be a good helper at times.

We believe a specially trained service dog will be a calming effect for Kennan in public situations where he is over-stimulated. It can help him calm down at night so he can go and stay to sleep, improve his attention span, improve social interactions with age matched peers, decreased aggression toward others and himself when he is over stimulated, and improve self-confidence and performance in school. He will be trained to be tethered, and can track Kennan if he wanders. This wonderful dog will also be trained to disrupt behaviors and hopefully lessen or prevent meltdowns.

We heard about 4 Paws for Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their FASD Service Dogs. We think obtaining a dog, in this instance anFASD/multipurpose dog, for Kennan would be beneficial to him, and us. 4 Paws has a unique approach to placement. They partner with their clients and by doing so are able to place dogs without a long waiting list. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Kennan. 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/donation) or mail a check with Kennan’s name on the memo line to:

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Kennan
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385

P.S. Kennan was so excited about the service dog that he wanted to fund raise before we were approved. He talks more about the dog more than any other thing he has wanted, and this includes a Wii.

Autism service dog will help Aidan and his family                

There are many ways an autism service dog could help make Aidan’s life better. The dog could keep an eye on Aidan to make sure he doesn’t run out into the streets or run off. It would keep him safe from danger. It would also alert us if there is something wrong. The dog could also help Aidan keep calm by putting his head (or a paw) on Aidan’s lap. Whenever we are out in public the dog would help Aidan behave with the behavior disruption touch.

The dog would benefit us by giving us a break from the meltdowns that Aidan has on a day to day basis. It would also give us a peace of mind that the dog could find Aidan if he should ever run and hide from us which he likes to do sometimes.

One other thing we are hoping the dog would be able to help with is his ADHD and sleeping meds. If the dog would allow him to calm himself down and sleep by himself without taking meds that would be a huge step in the right direction. Aidan also has a lot of blood work because of his chronic illness. We are hoping that the dog will help make this easier by keeping him distracted and calm.

We heard about the nonprofit agency 4 Paws For Ability and their Autism Service Dogs. We think obtaining a dog for Aidan would be beneficial for everyone concerned. 4 Paws has a unique approach to placement. They partner with their clients and by doing so are able to place dogs without a long waiting list. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Aidan. 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/donation) or mail a check with Aidan’s name on the memo line to:

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Aidan Agront
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385

 

 

Update:High-risk Chad needs a calming autism service dog

By Chad Burke’s grandmother, Evelyn

Update from the family: Chad is now six years old.  We have made very slow progress towards obtaining funds for Chad’s dream of a Service Dog.  We are pleased to say that Chad is doing well.  He starts Kindergarten this year.  He has since been diagnosed as ID (Intellectual Disabilities) along with his Autism.  He is still the happy adorable child. People instantly fall in love with him.  He is approximately on the 3 1/2 year old level.  We just had a yearly checkup with his Neurological Pediatrician.  She is quite pleased with his progress.  She had a service dog present during the checkup and Chad responded really well to him.  She expressed to us that we should continue to try to get the service dog for Chad.  

 
We have since moved to the country. Chad is becoming more independent.  Along with this independence, we have come to fear the possibility of Chad wandering off on his own.  Also, we have a growing concern of the fact that Chad feels everyone is his friend.  He does not fear strangers. When we are shopping he tends to wander off if we are distracted.  These are areas that we feel a service dog would be beneficial. 
 
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Chad. 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 his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Chad Burke, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
 
Chad does not have any other children around him.  He yearns for a dog’s companionship.  Please help us make his dream come true.
Thank you,
Evelyn Kay Burke
ekb.2@aol.com
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Chad cannot deal with too much confusion or change (such as the excitement of going on a trip, Christmas excitement, etc.). He can be very rigid in routines, and when his routine is disrupted he tends to have a major meltdown. (Meltdowns: He slaps himself, bangs his head on any surface, throws himself around while crying uncontrollably, and is not aware of his surroundings and what he is doing.)

Chad started showing lots of obsessive behavior this past year. For example, he was extremely obsessive over finding the right shirt to wear. He would totally melt down and cry for an hour at a time because he could not figure out what shirt he would wear. He just started talking to where we could understand some words this past August when he started Pre K. Now we can understand some of his words. Of course, this causes a lot of frustration for him when he cannot communicate his needs to us.

He has a number of challenges which we believe will be less difficult by having a trained autism service dog:

  • He is rigid about change.
  • He does not sense or understand danger.
  • His speech is very delayed.
  • He is apt to place his hand on a hot stove burner.
  • He will eat or drink anything. He will drink anything in a container.
  • He is very active and into everything.
  • He puts everything in his mouth.
  • He is not able to sleep by himself.
  • He wanders when he’s outside
  • His grandfather and I are in our late 50′s and it is hard to watch and keep up with him all the time. He cannot be unattended for any length of time.

Chad is very affectionate and loving. Most of the time (when he is not having his challenges), he is very happy and active. He loves cars and trucks, fishing, and tools. He likes to follow his grandfather around with tools and fix things. He loves to go outdoors, and he loves and relates well with animals (he has dogs and a cat).

We learned about 4 Paws for Ability, and after studying everything they offered, we are convinced that Chad’s life would be different if he had an autism service dog. It would be nice if it was a larger dog like a retriever or lab. A dog to grow up with him. He responds well to animals. A service dog would be a companion and a helpmate to Chad. The dog could help calm him down when he is having a melt down.

We worry about Chad getting out of the yard. A dog could help us track him and find him if he disappears. Chad is so active and fast. When we are out and about we could tether Chad to the dog to help us keep track of him. And we would like to get Chad to learn how to sleep in his own room. A dog could sleep with him and let us know when he gets up in the night.

Right now we are committed to volunteering for 4 Paws for Ability in an effort to raise $13,000 for his trained autism service dog. This agency is a nonprofit, and all donations are tax deductible. You can either donate online, mentioning Chad Burke’s name, or by sending a check to 4 Paws.

4 Paws for Ability
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385

Thank you for helping make this little boy’s life better.

Help Angel Solis cope

 I’m 6 years old. I love playing soccer and gymnastics, and I enjoy drawing and doing puzzles.

I have two sisters but we are very different. It’s very hard for me to deal with places where there are a lot of people. Even going out to a restaurant or any public place is a challenge for me. It’s hard for me to understand danger, in fact, once I managed to open a window in my house that had access to the roof, and I stayed there for a little bit of time until my neighbor told my parents I was there.

I have hard time at school because I been diagnosed with Hyperactivity Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Learning Disorder, Sensory Hypersensitivity, ADHD and Aspergers, and it’s hard for me to communicate and express my feelings. When I can’t do this I get very frustrated, and I cry and scream a lot.

It’s very hard for me to go to sleep at night. I just have lots of energy even if it’s after midnight. When I am anxious I bite my clothes and even my house furniture. 

My family and I feel very lucky that we found 4 Paws for Ability and they approved our application for a Autism Service Dog but we must meet our fundraising goal of $13,000. My family has signed on as volunteers for 4 Paws for Ability, (a 501 (c)(3) to raise money and have a Autism Service Dog to help me to cope with the daily activities that I can’t cope with now.

You can help me and my family make this dream come true by making a tax-deductible donation (by mail or the website) in the name of Angel Solis to: 4 Paws for Ability 
253 Dayton Avenue 
Xenia, Ohio 45385

Tiny angel needs service dog for seizure support and balance

By Stacy Gibbons

Korigan will be 4 in June 2010. She was born three weeks late and was only 4 lbs 15.5 oz. I knew from the begining that she had some problems but no one else seemed to see it. 

Every time I said she had something they would say she didn’t and they would do a test to prove that I was wrong.. Only the tests all came back positive and I was right on all of it.. Sometimes you DON’T want to be right.

Korigan has a lot of medical problems, including:

  • Seizures
  • A carnitine deficiency (a neuro-muscular disorder)
  • Failure to thrive
  • Microcephaly
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Amylase deficiency (can’t process sugar)
  • Some kidney issues (just passed several small stones)
  • Minor hearing loss
  • Low oral muscle tone
  • Short stature

She is a tiny sweet little angel with the biggest heart. She is always thinking of others. When a new magazine comes to the house she will open it up and start telling me what all she wants to buy for her friends.

The service dog we are seeking from 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit agency located in Xenia, Ohio, is to help with balance and seizures. She is so excited about getting a “helper doggy.” She wants so badly to be more independent and I think a service dog will be just the thing!

I am acting as a volunteer for 4 Paws in an effort to raise funds for her. All donations are tax deductible and go to 4 Paws for Ability in Korigan’s name. If you can help, please either go to the 4 Paws for Ability website and click on “donate,” or mail a check to:

4 Paws for Ability
The Korigan Gibbons Fund
253 Dayton Ave. 
Xenia, Ohio 45385 
Thanks so much … Stacy and Korigan