Aidan Kakoullis Tyler Bidwell Angel Solis Ella Wynkoop Kai Foutts Korigan Gibbons Nikki Hardin Joshua Caudle Chad Burke Geneva Powell Sara Khan Malachai Hatfield CJ Neuman Carter Tackitt Lilly Oens Corrina Carlos Nicholas Wilder Zala Cooper Gabriel Lacerda Levi Walker Owen Thomas Cayden Whaley Kender Hunt Danyelle Shirlee Wallace Gerren Durante Tyler Kidder Sabrina Medellin Myles Soporito Jamiee Lynn Hein Aarilynne McConnell Grant King Stryder Doescher Marisa Smith Alec Stearns Nicholas Howard Alana Mulvany Ivey Goodwin Connor Hembree Mercedes Ciara-Li Johnston Riley Brown Tae Donovan Wescott Tristen Chambers-Berry Adalynne Gill Mia Perez Ethan Sustala Nathan Scearce Matthew Peleschak Eiji Hoffman Caleb Morgan Hazaiah Fulwood Hank Kovach Jacob R Zachary Fiorillo Joshua Ackison Ethan Drossulis Miakoda Weekley Kaleo Crowley John Williams Aunders Benjamin Silverman
Family hoping to find a supportive service dog for their beloved Benjamin
Benjamin 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!
Sweet Kaleo seeks a multi-purpose assistance dog for safety, independence
Kaleo was born on July 19, 2005. He was a full-term baby, 9 lbs. 4 oz. and 22 inches long, hearty and strong. He did everything that babies were “supposed” to do: cooing, babbling, smiling and laughing with those around him, reaching out to pat the family dog walking by, happily devouring his homemade baby food. When Kaleo was 8 months old, his development slowed drastically. He was unable to sit without falling, had shown no signs of crawling, and was responding less and less to his surroundings. Time went on and he stopped responding to his name, averted his eyes from the gaze of others, and was easily overwhelmed by small crowds and noise. His motor skills lagged far behind those of his peers. At 14 months, Kaleo’s doctors began to accept his differences as significant and there the journey began.
Over the last 7 years, Kaleo has struggled with Autism, Muscular Dystrophy, Epilepsy and severe food allergies. He has been followed by pediatricians, neurologists, geneticists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, state disability agencies, and the school district. He has undergone numerous MRI’s and EEG’s, extensive genetic testing, muscle and nerve testing and biopsies, and ER visits after seizures and falls resulting from his physical instability. He has participated in special needs aquatics, therapeutic horseback riding, challenger divisions in soccer and baseball, adaptive cycling, special needs camps, alternative therapies and medical interventions, and more. He has been fortunate to have a fantastic team of professionals working with him over the years. He has made tremendous progress, but he still has a long way to go.
Kaleo is a complete joy and is loved dearly by his family. He has a 2 ½-year-old sister who adores him and looks up to him. He is sweet and charming and has been described as his “own ambassador,” drawing people to him and hooking them. Kaleo is who people think of when they hear others talking about enjoying the simple things in life. Offering Kaleo a banana, telling him Grandma is going to visit, taking him for a ride in an elevator, sitting him down in the sand on the beach to watch and listen to the waves… these are examples of what makes Kaleo grin, clap his hands, and laugh with excitement. He loves life and doesn’t know that he is any different than anyone else.
Alongside this joy, is a boy who is unstable on his feet, prone to seizures, easily overwhelmed by loud noises or changes in his routine, unable to understand the fundamentals of social communication, and unaware of danger, including running into the street, walking off with strangers, stepping off platforms high above the ground, and touching a hot stove. He needs constant adult monitoring and assistance throughout the day, limiting his independence.
When we learned about 4 Paws for Ability, for the first time ever we were presented with something that could potentially address every single one of Kaleo’s challenges: a service dog. When we envision what our lives will be like with a service dog, we see more time spent in the community, fewer outbursts and meltdowns, reduced fear of Kaleo wandering off and not being found, more mobility for Kaleo, increased opportunities for social interaction, and a greater sense of independence for Kaleo.
His service dog will be trained in behavior disruption, tracking, tethering, and seizure detection. Perhaps most importantly, Kaleo’s dog will be a best friend for him, one who will not judge him for his challenges but who will love him for who he is.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Kaleo. 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 Kaleo’s name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Kaleo Crowley, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
To learn more about Kaleo as well as about fundraising events we have planned, please visit our fundraising website: www.4Paws4Kaleo.com.
Thank you for helping make this dream a reality for Kaleo and for our family!
Lil baseball player hopes for homerun with multi-purpose service dog
Six-year-old John William Saunders was born 10 weeks early weighing only 2.6 lbs. He was in the NICU for 10 weeks. While in the NICU, tests were performed that discovered John has Down Syndrome. John has cognitive delays. His motor skills are not that of typical peers.
John is a loving and trusting soul. His childlike curiosity prompts him to wander. He does not realize when his actions may lead him to dangerous situations. Because of John’s speech delays, it is often hard for him to communicate effectively with his friends and family. He often gets frustrated I can see the anguish in his face.
John is a happy boy. He brings a smile to everyone he meets. When we are out and about he says “hi” to everyone. John loves playing baseball and jumping on the trampoline. John has some sensory issues and he gets really stressed in loud or crowded environments. Its difficult for him to tolerate the volume of noise even in a high school basketball or volleyball game, so when we try to attend his teenage sisters’ games, he cannot handle it. He starts to cry and begs to leave. To cope with stress, he pulls out the hair on his head and chews on his pointer fingers. He has pulled out most of the hair on the top of his head, and his fingers are callused and swollen.
A multi-purpose service dog will give John confidence and comfort him when he is stressed. John does not sleep through the night and a dog may be a comfort to him through the night. While John is energetic and outgoing when he is with his parents – he is shy around his peers. A dog may give him confidence when he interacts with his peers and help him in social situations. A service dog will help John to stay safe since he has a tendency to run off and get himself into dangerous situations.
John wants to be like all the other kids. He sees what other kids his age are doing and he tries very hard to keep up. His intellectual disability will always have us worried about his safety. John loves to be helpful and we are always looking for ways that John can help in meaningful ways. Having a service dog as John’s constant companion would help to ease our worry and would give John a trusted friend to love and care for.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with John. 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 John Saunders, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
The Saunders Family
Family seeks friend, independence for their ‘smiley’ Ethan
Ethan is our 5-year-old son with a smile that will melt your heart and an incredibly infectious laugh. His personality and character would lead you to fall in love with him in an instant. Just by looking at him, you would never know all the hardships he has endured in his short life.
Our lives were blessed with a healthy baby boy on December 20, 2007. Two days after Ethan was born, when he was supposed to be going home, he was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He was having seizures due to a severe low blood sugar level.
On Christmas Eve, Ethan was having periods of apnea (where he would stop breathing for an extended period of time), and he was put on a ventilator to help him breathe. Thankfully, he was taken off the ventilator on Christmas Day and breathing on his own. He spent three long weeks in the NICU having multiple tests and procedures while the doctors tried to determine what happened. He was eventually discharged home on an anti-seizure medication and a MRI report of irreversible brain damage, although the doctors were unable to predict how this would affect his long-term prognosis.
After six months, Ethan was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms, a rare seizure disorder that doesn’t respond to the “normal” anti-seizure medications. With the progression of the seizures, Ethan has severe developmental delays and is non-verbal.
At 13 months, Ethan was diagnosed as legally blind with cortical blindness (his eyes are healthy and the problem is in his brain, making it impossible to correct with glasses). Ethan makes some progresses in his development, just at a very slow rate; he crawled at 15months old, and finally walked at 2 ½ years old.
Ethan continues to have different types of seizures, despite being on anti-seizure medications, getting monthly Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusions, and being on the ketogenic diet. He has to endure multiple testing for monitoring of his diet and the status of his seizure control, through lab work, imaging studies, and occasionally hospital stays.
Receiving a multipurpose assistant dog would give Ethan the ability to do so much, as well as give him extra confidence, love, and independence. 4 Paws for Ability will be training Ethan’s service dog in tethering, tracking, seizure / scent work, mobility and behavior disruption. We are seeking a service dog to increase Ethan’s safety and independence in his daily life. Any parent of a child, and especially a parent of a child with special needs, will agree that it’s easier with extra help.
It will be a blessing for us to have an extra set of eyes, ears and hands (or paws in this case) to help keep Ethan safe in his activities of daily living. Because of his inability to verbalize or indicate his needs/wants, he is 100-percent dependent on us for his care. When Ethan gets frustrated, he often injures himself by biting his hand or hitting his head on the wall. A service dog would be trained to re-direct his negative behavior by nudging him, licking him, or trying to snuggle with him.
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 Ethan. 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 Ethan Drossulis, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
On behalf of our little man, our fighter, our son Ethan, we thank each of you with all of our heart for helping us help him.
-Alex and Amanda Drossulis
Miakoda has had a long 9-year-road, seeks service dog for journey
Miakoda 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.
The Weekley Family
4 Paws for Joshua
To look at Joshua one would never imagine how ill he is. It is his appearance and abilities that have proven to be what keep him from receiving all that he needs most of all understanding. When born, Joshua appeared to be a healthy baby boy. He reached all of his milestones according to plan. He walked at 10 months, learned to ride a bike at 2 ½, and was climbing trees by 4. Sometimes it is what isn’t seen that one would have to understand.
As a baby eating was a struggle for Josh. He was unable to keep anything down. The last thing we would do is toss him into the air or fly him like a plane, because not only Joshua would land in our arms, so would lunch. We were told that he would “outgrow this”, not to worry. As time wore on more issues developed for him. Life continued to get harder, but because he was continuing to grow, no one would listen to what his life was truly like. A simple bath or getting caught in the rain would cause him to scream. Most normal noises would cause screaming. It wasn’t a normal scream—he was in pain. It was almost impossible to hold or console him. He couldn’t take it. I knew he was in pain, but no one would listen. I have seven years of stories like this. He never did “outgrow” the GI issues, and his pain, it is very real.
After seven years of prayer, searching, researching—seven years of testing, surgeries, lab work, OT/PT, we receive a diagnosis. How lucky are we, two diagnoses? Joshua is diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome type III and Congenital Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy. What does this all mean? Joshua’s body has waged war on itself. Every system within his body can fluctuate from hyper overload to complete dysfunction in a matter of seconds. Our Autonomic system controls our organs, hormones, how we think, breath, feel, react… everything our bodies do for us without us being aware. Stress, heat, cold, fatigue, normal daily life can cause problems. When one goes they all go. It is very scary and painful.
These diseases don’t define him though. He is an amazing 9-year-old boy. There is so much more to him, so much that I admire. He is strong, courageous, funny, bright, compassionate, loving, the list can go on and on. He loves life, family, friends, playing, animals, and most importantly God. Each day when he wakes the first person he turns to is God, he asks Him to bless his day and to help him with his pain. Some mornings he has to pray for his sight, or for his hearing, as he may not be able to see, or will see double; or he may not be able to hear, or his hearing is too sensitive. Other days he might awaken and be unable to move his arms and legs. Yet, he patiently lies there praying and waiting for God to rescue him, to restore him, as He has many times before.
What is most amazing about Joshua is that he never complains. When he walks he doesn’t feel his feet, and his body tingles with numbness when the weather changes. We can predict the rain just by how he is feeling. He considers it his gift. He has short-term memory loss; he falls a lot, exhausts easily, is in constant pain, but never complains. Sure, when his body turns against him and muscle spasms are so intense that the pain is unbearable, he cries, he has fear of what will happen next; but he doesn’t complain. He gets lonely, people don’t understand, Doctors don’t understand. No one really knows how to help. There is no cure. Still he pushes on, has faith in God, and trusts that He will make it better.
So how will a Service Dog help him one might ask? It will provide him stability when his legs are weak; it will be trained for seizure alert as he is now experiencing a type of seizure. His dog will also be trained in behavior disruption, as he over stimulates or his anxiety climbs, the dog will have calming techniques to bring Joshua back down to normal. Through the eyes of a boy who dreams of running and playing soccer, it will be his companion, his friend on the sidelines.
Children don’t understand why Joshua has to stop playing in the middle of a kick ball game, so he is called a quitter. He no longer runs and plays especially when it is hot, because his symptoms come on much faster and he ends up bedridden. For children, summertime is the best time of year, but for Joshua, it is lonely. He isn’t able to take the heat so he spends most of his time in the shade or inside while others are playing. His dog will be his unconditional friend and companion; keep him company during his many sleepless nights, and provide him support when he feels lonely.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Joshua Ackison. 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 Joshua Ackison 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 Joshua Ackison, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
Thank you for your support,
The Ackison Family
Zachary seeks autism assistance dog
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.
Hank seeks 4 Paws for seizures, safety
Hank stopped babbling and was not meeting his developmental milestones like other children. He was diagnosed with hypotonia and we were provided Early Intervention Therapies (PT, OT, DT and Speech) weekly.
Later at 2 years old, he was diagnosed with Doose Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy often resistant to medication. Many children with Doose Syndrome can experience hundreds of seizures daily.
Hank currently receives seven therapies weekly. He used to have a few words and now does not. He has a one on one RN while in school to aid in his seizures and medical needs. He is also in the Ketogenic Diet. Due to the toll the seizures have taken, Hank has a very difficult time communicating his basic needs and wants
Hank is usually mild-mannered at times when his seizures are kept under control. During these times, he smiles and laughs a lot, likes to be close to people and cuddle, play with his favorite toys (usually puzzles and things like Mr. Potato Head where he can manipulate pieces, have books read to him, watch his favorite TV programs like Sesame Street, and he loves listening to music. Hank also loves to be outside in the yard, go on walks, and go on drives in the car. At times when Hank’s seizure activity increases, he becomes less social and disengages from his favorite activities. The challenges of Hank’s communication, speech, and physical developmental delays require constant therapies both inside and outside of our home.
We are applying for a multi-purpose service dog to assist with altering of seizures, behaviors, sensory integration and safety.
We are hoping that the service dog will first and foremost provide safety and peace of mind at night so Hank can once again sleep in his own bed. Ever since Hank stopped breathing during a very severe and lengthy grandmal seizure, we have not been secure enough to let him sleep alone at night.
We are also hoping that the service dog will also alert us if Hank is in another room and is having a seizure; with Hank’s history of stopping breathing during his most severe seizures, time is crucial to his recovery without severe brain damage. Hank has numerous hospital stays in which a service dog will provide comfort during these moments. A service dog will provide extra safety measures during outdoor activities and also help control some of Hank’s sensory issues and anxiety.
Hank is still not aware of the dangers of cars moving down the streets. Lastly, one of Hank’s previous favorite activities was helping us take our late dog, Daisy, on walks in the neighborhood. Hank loved holding onto Daisy’s leash. A service dog will also help control some of Hank’s sensory issues and anxiety.
A service dog will assist in relieving stress from our family. The extra piece of mind will help relieve stress not only Hank but on family members. We are looking forward to this life changing opportunity.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Hank Kovach. 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 Hank Kovach, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you
Team Jacobly working hard toward service dog for toddler
Jacob R. was born one week past his due date in June 2010 after his mother firmly believed she was going to be pregnant for at least the rest of her life.
He arrived a mellow, watchful and sweet baby fawned over by family and friends. There were complications in his first months of life that were later determined to be caused by gluten intolerance, an intolerance he appeared to outgrow by 18 months. Just as he was outgrowing some of his digestive issues however, other things began to change.
He has always been the most determined of little boys, even from his first days of awareness of the world around him. His mobility began the day he learned to roll himself over easily as he became the king of the barrel roll. He rolled all around the space he was allowed to do so, discovering his world for months in this manner. When this apparently seemed inefficient to him, he began to crawl. When crawling seemed inefficient, he began to cruise. When cruising finally got old… He finally walked at 15 months. It was around 15 months he began to say a few words, mostly “num” for food and “no”, but by 18 months all of his words vanished and despite his inherent sweetness, it was easy for those who loved him best to see that there was something in play here bigger than a child taking his time meeting various milestones.
The road to diagnosis was not as hard for us as it is for some. When early intervention became involved with Jacob in early 2012, his therapists could easily see that there were hallmarks to his behavior that fit into the descriptors for Autism Spectrum Disorders. He lined up his toys rather than play like other children. He refrained from eye contact more often than he made eye contact. He did not gesture at all and rarely made any attempt at all to communicate anything to the people around him. He engaged in visual tracking behaviors, watching things out of the corners of his eyes to self-stimulate/self-soothe.
He was referred to a pediatric neurologist who gave a preliminary diagnosis of autism in August of 2012, his more complete (as complete as can be for a child so young) diagnoses coming in February of 2013: Autism Spectrum Disorder (classic autism), Sensory Processing Dysfunction and Receptive/Expressive Language Disorder.
It is now almost May of 2013 and as his mother writing this, I cannot imagine my child being any different from the child he currently is. I can certainly see him growing, evolving, thriving… But I see the heart of my sweet boy remaining hopefully the same
Jacob is by nature sweet, gentle, hilarious, physically gregarious and prone to intentional and unintentional comedy. His challenges are both obvious and subtle, the most glaring of which being his difficulty communicating. He is considered non-verbal, struggling frequently to make what he may need to convey known to those around him or just plain not bothering to go through the effort.
His words, which number 15-20 consistent and correctly used words right now, often fade and change. He is learning sign and picture communication to assist his need to communicate with his world. He also has no natural danger sense, which is not entirely unknown in toddlers but is deeper in a child like Jacob. An example of this is that Jacob had to be taught to put his hands out to catch himself when being lowered to the ground upside down because he has no instinct to make this self-preservation type maneuver on his own. He will bolt across parking lots, through crowded areas, towards areas of preference (bodies of water being a favorite yet most dangerous one) or he will engage in self-stimulatory behavior regardless of the danger it places himself in, a bad one since one of his favorite things to do is look at where paint lines cross in parking lots. He does not consistently respond to his name – only does so 25-50 percent of the time, less in public – and thus there is a lot of safety concerns surrounding day-to-day life for us.
We were led to apply for a service dog after incidents of Jacob attempting to get away from his adults began to grow more frequent and, frighteningly, more successful. His self-stimulatory behavior has also grown to a point that he will engage in it to the exclusion of all else, including awareness of what is going on around him. He will walk against the side of carts or walls in busy places, heedless to the fact that people cannot easily see him and will, through no true fault of their own, likely crash into him or worse.
An autism service dog from 4 Paws for Ability will be trained to either offer comfort or distraction to mitigate/break his self-stimulatory behavior as well as to work with Jacob by either being tethered to him while the dog is under a handler’s control to prevent running off and to be able to track Jacob from his last location should Jacob escape while the dog and he are not tethered.
The quality of life factors that a service dog could offer to Jacob are something so powerful that I cannot hope to consider a monetary value on it. It does, however, take $22,000 to raise and train a service dog. We are committed to raising $13,000 towards bringing a dog home for Jacob, money that helps 4 Paws for Ability continue their mission to helping improve the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities.
Nicole and Team Jacobly
Hazaiah faces challenges, seeks service dog
Hazaiah 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
Matthews journey to 4 Paws
April is Autism Awareness Month. Kids struggling with this mental disorder rarely get the recognition they deserve for the small, but meaningful accomplishments they achieve. During this period of time, we highlight the struggles; as well as, the joys and successes of kids and families dealing with autism.
One such family in our area is Matt and Annelle Peleschak of Pottsville. Their son, Matthew, was initially diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) at 18 months old. Commonly referred to as PDD, this disorder is one form of autism. Since doctors did not understand how to treat this disorder, in May, PDD will cease to exist; it will instead fall under the broad umbrella of autism spectrum disorder in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
At age 5, Matthew was re-diagnosed with Autism and ADHD by a developmental pediatric doctor at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Today, he is an energetic 8-year-old who attends 2nd grade in the Autism Support Classroom at John S. Clarke Elementary.
Struggling with Autism-
Like many children with Autism, Matthew showed noticeable delays in development early in life. He was delayed in sitting up, crawling, and talking. It wasn’t until almost 2 years old that he began speaking. At the time, the Peleschak’s were living in Williamsport. They placed Matthew in an early intervention program through the local IU, but he showed limited success. At 4-years old, they placed Matthew in a program at the Children’s Development Center in Williamsport that was specifically geared towards kids with Autism. While he showed significantly better success in this setting, his skill set was that of a 12- to 18-month-old.
While Matthew was physically growing normally, mentally he was far behind his peers. The difference between him and his peers continues to grow wider and wider with each passing day. In 2010, the struggle of meeting Matthew’s daily needs and caring for their other two younger children, Caitlyn and Ronald, required his parents to make the tough decision to relocate back to Schuylkill County to seek help from grandparents Ron and MaryAnn Dunn, Pottsville and Dolores Peleschak, Frackville. Matt and Annelle, as natives of Schuylkill County, have many family and friends throughout the area that have helped in providing a loving, caring environment for Matthew. It definitely takes a group effort to raise a child with autism.
The Joys of Autism-
There are many different degrees and forms of autism. Each child is unique in their own way; however, most children have difficulty with social interactions, difficulty with changes in routine, and repetitive body movements or behavior patterns. Some children do not speak at all, while others have limited speech, and some appear to have normal language development.
Today, Matthew struggles with limited speech, a lack of awareness for safety, difficulty sleeping, and poor developmental skills such as fine-motor skills and focus. When they first moved back to Schuylkill County, the family had to have a fence installed in the back yard and place chain locks on all of their exterior doors to be able to keep Matthew safe at all times.
With the help of Sadie Hart of ABA Beginnings and the wonderful therapeutic support staff of Northwest Human Services, Matthew is starting to show improvements in self-help skills. Due to their hard work, Matthew is starting to feed himself, is capable of assisting with brushing his teeth, and is now capable of putting his pillows on his bed after his mom helps him make it…and he does it with such an infectious smile and giggle that makes the whole family laugh.
While many children with Autism do not show affection, Matthew is uniquely different. Matthew loves to go for walks and will do anything to get to go on one. He is not afraid of strangers, and will go straight up to someone who comes in the house, take their hand, tilt his head, and politely ask over and over again to go for a walk, his big eyes wide open. If you sit down, he will climb on top of you and give a big open-mouth kiss, trying any way he can to get that walk.
Recently, Matthew’s parents became aware of a program through 4 Paws for Ability, which provides service dogs to autistic children. Similar to a service dog for people who are blind, service dogs can also be trained to help cope with the difficulties of people with autism. An application for a service dog through 4 Paws for Ability was completed and accepted for Matthew. Based on the application, the service dog will be trained for behavior disruption (touching, nudging, snuggling, and deep pressure), tethering during walks to prevent Matthew from running off, and tracking in the event Matthew would get lost.
As you can image, the cost associated with training an autistic support dog is staggering. To help defray this cost, Matthew’s parents are committed to raising $13,000 in support of 4 Paws mission, which is only a portion of the $22,000 total cost associated with placement of a service dog. To help raise these funds, family and friends are beginning to organize fundraisers.
If you or your business is interested in donating to 4 Paws for Ability, a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization, in honor of Matthew, you can make a tax-deductible donation by visiting 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now) or mail a personal or business donation to: 4 Paws for Ability, Inc., In Honor of Matthew Peleschak, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385
Donations should be made payable to 4Paws for Ability, Inc. and mailed directly to 4Paws. It is requested that you write “In Honor of Matthew Peleschak” in the memo line to give credit for a donation to Matthew.
Eiji seeks autism service dog
I knew when he was just hours old that there was something wrong, but he wasn’t formally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder until January, about a month before his 3rd birthday.
He faces many challenges:
- Stimming (he picks his nose until it bleeds)
- Hospitalization due to his food aversions. He has gotten so sick twice and we couldn’t get him to eat or drink anything so he ended up staying several days in the hospital hooked up to IVs.
- He doesn’t recognize the sense of hunger, so he’ll go days without eating unless you force him. He hasn’t grown much since he was 1 year old. Our 1-year-old son and he wear the same size clothing and weigh the same.
- No interactions with peers. He’s unable to play with other children, as he never moved past parallel play. The children notice and either run from him or make fun of him.
- He’s non-verbal. He cannot even tell you his name. If he gets lost, he won’t be able to tell anyone who he is or where he came from.
- We can’t really take him anywhere. He either wanders away or melts down. People around us tend to make nasty comments about how we should “beat” him or discipline him better.
-He harms himself when he’s angry. He beats his head into the floor, walls, or with his fists. Sometimes it takes nothing more than a look to set him off.
Eiji loves animals. My boss has two Labrador retrievers and they are the only “people” that he shows human affection towards. He plays with them every day. He asks for them if we’re not there by repeating their names over and over again.
He loves cars, especially finding out how they work. He’s got this drive to find out how everything works. He will make a great engineer some day.
He is highly intelligent. The pediatrician projects that he will be enrolled in college by 15 years old. He was reading at his second birthday without any instruction ever. He also will speak in Japanese, even though we can’t get him to speak in English. He has learned that merely from the anime that we watch.
He only has repetitive language. Meaning he only says things he’s heard that day. When he was getting his IV in February rather than scream “No! Stop! Ouch!” he was screaming “Hexagon! Apple Pie! Door!”
We’re hoping for two major things to happen for Eiji with an autism assistance dog—first to give him more freedom.
He wanders with no sense of danger. Being tethered to the dog will keep him from having to hold our hands (which he hates!) but won’t allow him to get away from us. We live in the D.C. Metro area and it’s a dangerous place for a 3 year old to get lost (traffic, thousands of people rushing about, etc.). The other is to give him a friend. Eiji has no friends. He can’t connect to other children, even though he tries so hard. He gets lonely and feels isolated because no one will interact with him except his siblings.
The other perks for him will be to have a constant familiar presence when transitioning from one activity or place to another. He has a really hard time shifting gears and we’re hopeful that having the dog as a constant he’ll be better able to do it.
We also hope he’ll start sleeping in his own bed with his forever friend. He’s never slept in his own bed. Ever. Even as an infant we couldn’t get him to.
As he gets older, we’re fearful that the wandering will turn into running off. We’re afraid that we’ll wake up one morning and he’ll have gotten out of the house. Having a dog to point us in the right direction could be the difference between life and death for him.
Meltdowns are a daily struggle for us. We’re hopeful that the dog will discourage meltdowns and also be able to pull him out of them by redirecting his attention or lying across his lap.
His stimming (making his nose bleed) would be able to be redirected by the dog as well.
Eiji gets his name from an anime character (my husband is Asian and we wanted our children to have Asian names). Eiji is a character that plays tennis. He’s a happy go lucky guy whose head tends to stay in the clouds. Ironically, that’s exactly how our son is. Eiji is a great tennis player but he plays doubles with his best friend Oishi. Oishi is his best friend and has his feet firmly planted on the ground. He’s a very kind and gentle guy who keeps Eiji out of trouble and helps him with his struggles. They are the perfect yin and yang. They are called the “Golden Pair” because they are so perfect together as friends that they are unstoppable on the tennis court. We are hopeful that we’ll be able to name Eiji’s dog Oishi to honor the bond that they’ll have, just as the Golden Pair did. It sounds cheesy to many, but it means a lot to us.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Eiji. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help. If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now) or mail a check with her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Eiji Hoffman, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Mom seeks seizure-alert dog for young son
Caleb Joseph Morgan will be 8 years old on May 29, 2013. At 35 weeks gestation, I was rushed to the hospital due to reduced fetal movement where the doctor performed an ultra sound. Caleb’s heart rate was barely detectable. We learned that there had been a hemorrhage in the umbilical cord, which has caused medical issues including global brain damage, microcephaly, hydrocephalus, vision impairment and epilepsy. Caleb’s cognitive function is comparable to a 7-month-old and he requires full assistance in all areas of daily living.
Caleb has faced challenges such as blood transfusions, surgery, seizures, and frequent medical exams (MRI, CTs, EEGs, etc). As a parent, my daily challenges include monitoring seizure activity while driving, sleeping, eating, and while performing household duties. Caleb’s seizures range in severity from mild and needing no assistance, all the way to being violent and requiring CPR. At one time, I had to perform CPR in the median of a busy highway because a seizure had caused him to stop breathing. For me, those are the worst ones. When he quietly slips into an absence seizure and stops breathing. No thrashing or convulsing. Just sitting there and quietly drifting away. We had a g-tube (feeding tube) placed in Caleb’s stomach to administer seizure medications more accurately hoping that would keep seizures better controlled. Unfortunately, the uniformed dosages have not prevented the seizure activity even though he is currently on four daily medications.
Although Caleb faces many medical issues, he is a very happy boy. He cannot communicate with us in a way a typical 8-year-old would, but he can say a few words and let us know when he wants to eat or drink by making specific sounds. He loves being outside riding the four-wheeler, taking walks, and playing with the family dog. He is also a baseball player on the Greenwood Miracle League.
A seizure-alert service dog would be beneficial to us because it will give us more peace of mind while traveling, sleeping or doing any other daily activity that is simple for families who do not face our challenges. We also believe that having the dog would help Caleb in social situations that typically make him uneasy such as large crowds, loud noises, and new places by giving him something to focus on.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Caleb. 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 Caleb Morgan, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Active Addie seeks autism assistance dog
Addie had issues feeding, latching on and had problems with her GI tract. She cried a lot and started bleeding rectally, and we realized rather quickly that she had severe allergies to food, so much so that she had to go on a very expensive prescription formula (Neocate).
She then began having problems breathing and was chronically sick. As she got a little older, I noticed that Addie was not meeting milestones and still having problems swallowing, feeding, concentrating, sleeping, etc. She started seeing many specialists: ENT for chronic ear and lung/sinus infections, pulmonary for chronic lung infections and problems with desaturating while sleeping, neurology for global developmental delays and behaviors, GI for feeding, swallowing, weight and GI issues, rehab and orthopedics for toe walking and gait disturbance, and allergy and immunology for her allergies and chronic illness.
She then started receiving Early Intervention for her delays, which includes occupational, speech and developmental therapies. I soon found out, through a brain MRI, that she has unilateral Polymicrogyria (PMG). Which is a rare brain malformation, specifically affecting her frontal lobe. It is static in that the damage that is done and doesn’t specifically worsen; however, it is not fixable. Because her malformation is in the frontal lobe this inhibits Addie’s ability to control impulses and behavior.
She has no safety awareness or understanding of cause and effect. Even if she does something that may hurt her, she will do it again repeatedly. She is also at a high risk of seizures because of the PMG. I have to be vigilant for any seizures, and have a video monitor to watch her sleep. Then after a lung biopsy, we found out that she also has a rare lung disease that affects the cilia in Addie’s body. Cilia are the tiny hairs in our bodies that rid of us infection, dirt, etc. Addie doesn’t have completely intact Cilia, most/some are eroded which causes her to have chronic ear and lung infections.
The long-term affects, as far as her doctors can tell, is possible hearing loss or lung damage requiring a lung transplant. Addie has as needed oxygen at home and requires pulse ox monitoring throughout the day. She is also on antibiotics and will have ear tubes to help prevent infection. She had nine hospitalizations in her short 2-year-old life.
Addie is a very persistent, but loving child. She has behaviors such as elopement and running away. Repeating behavior that may be harmful to her, such as repeatedly climbing out her crib, so much so, a special crib had to be made for her safety. Doors must have special top latches to prevent her running away as she can unlock the doors. She is very hyperactive and requires one on one in order to protect her and allow her to be safe. When frustrated and unable to communicate her needs she can bite, hit or pull hair, however, when she does this she is never doing it meanly, she genuinely doesn’t understand it is wrong.
Addie is a happy and very loving child. She doesn’t know that there is anything wrong with her. She wakes up as happy as could be and usually singing. She loves music and loves to sing. She also loves her 4-year-old sister, Audrey, more than anything. She will ask for Audrey when she wakes up and when she gets off the medical daycare bus every single day. Addie loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and loves to touch, push and pull things/toys. Tactile activity is important to her and works well with Addie. She is non-stop from the moment she wakes up until she goes to sleep; literally. She is in constant movement. She also loves her blanket she calls Jo-Jo.
My hope is that this wonderful pooch will be able to help calm, redirect and prevent Addie from hurtful behavior. Moreover, if God forbid, she does run away the dog will be able to track her if not prevent her from running away. My father has a very tiny dog “Cooper”. I noticed that whenever we visit my Dad or vice versa and he has Cooper, Addie does not perseverate on things. She will not attempt to go up and down my Dad’s steps over and over or at all. She will not go into the trash over and over, open and close drawers, etc. She is more controlled. It is/was almost as if the dog knows Addie needs his help and he ‘herds’ her! I found it amazing… I then Googled services dogs and found 4 Paws 4 Ability.
I would love for Addie to have a quality of life and comfort. There are times she is so wound up she is practically vibrating. It is painful to watch and I feel like she is crawling out of her skin. I think having a service dog will not only enable her to enjoy life at home, but enable me as a Mom to feel a sense of comfort that she is safe.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Adalynne Gill “Addie”. 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 Adalynne Gill “Addie”, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
Mia Isabella Perez is looking for partner in independence
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.
Miriam & Edward
Autism service dog for Texas child
Over the last 4 years, Ethan has made progress with the help of speech therapy, occupational therapy and the wonderful educators that have touched his life. However, autism never goes away, the behaviors are constant and ever changing.
Autism is a disease that affects 1 in 50 children and there is no cure, no medication that will forever take it away. Every aspect of an autistic child and their family’s life is affected. There is never a spontaneous activity or trip due to the routine nature that has to remain in place. Even a trip to the grocery store with Ethan has to be planned well in advance.
4 Paws For Ability is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) agency and was the first in the United States to begin placing autism service dogs. The mission of the agency is to place quality service dogs with children with disabilities and veterans who have lost limbs or hearing. These dogs are trained in behavior disruption, tethering and tracking. The dogs will help the autistic child in providing comfort, security, increased social skills and independence. It is our hope that the assistance dog will help Ethan in these ways.
Each dog is trained specifically for the specific behaviors/needs of the child. Ethan’s dog will be trained for behavior disruption, tethering and tracking.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Ethan. 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 Ethan Sustala, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
Fundraising efforts have begun – $13,000 is the goal for the Sustala family. We are asking all Southeast Texas residents and businesses to consider assisting us in reaching our goal.
Nathan Scearce is 12 years old. We were looking for autism from the time he was born, since his brother was diagnosed three weeks before he was born. Nathan was diagnosed at 2 years old.
Nathan was extremely hyperactive and constantly on the move… eloping, breaking things, climbing on the mantle, throwing clothes and sheets out the windows, sitting on the windowsills of our two-story home. He just could never settle down to learn.
Last year, we decided to homeschool him. After about three months, he descended into a morass of depression, aggression and self-abuse. He was awake 17-19 hours a day, crying, screaming, and hurting himself and sometimes others. And that’s when he was also diagnosed with bipolar phenotype. Meds helped, but it lasted about nine months.
We were very happy he was homeschooled; because we could see exactly what was happening and that it had no external triggers. He has done very well with homeschool and has progressed about 3-4 years of school in 18 months.
A service dog would help in several ways:
-Allow him to not be constantly touched when walking in town and in stores
-Help with sensory issues
-Hopefully help with sleep
-Attract people to him because he is so smart and funny but because of behaviors people just view his autism.
All three of our sons are on autism spectrum. Under the new DSM, we will have one of each level, thus completing the spectrum!
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Nathan. 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 Nathan Scearce, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Loving big brother seeks service dog
Somewhere between 15-18 months our primary physician rocked our world when out of the blue she told us that our son, Tristen Chambers-Berry, showed red flags for autism and gave us a referral to investigate. Only then did I begin to notice the delays that were evident, milestones missed and any regression that occurred in regards to social interaction and speech.
At 22 months Tristen was diagnosed as fitting the criteria for autism and placed in an Early Intervention Program.
Every day, I thank God for this referral as without it and all the great therapists involved we would not be where we are here five years later. Tristen is a rambunctious, sensitive, curious, loving 7 ½-year-old who is amazing with any electronic device that he can get his hands on, and has a great sense of humor. He is the most amazing big brother to his 1 ½-year-old sister, Isabella, and is constantly surprising us by the love he has for her and the safety/security he makes sure to give her.
Tristen is significantly delayed in speech and language development and has echolalia, which makes it extremely difficult for him to convey his wants and needs to individuals. As the caregivers for our child we are able to at some point figure out what Tristen’s wants and needs are because we have been here doing this for 7.5 years but it can still be very difficult. For others his wants and needs get totally lost in translation if we are not there to interpret. It’s like a very long game of charades we’ve become accustomed to however with his speech app Proloquo2Go we are making some gains in this area we weren’t seeing much progress with before. We are able to teach Tristen new phrases and vocabulary words on a device he loves. All this being said it is still difficult for him to maintain friendships with and identify with his age like peers or participate in sports (which he loves).
Tristen is very social but the speech and language delay has a barrier up that’s often to complicated to get around in a timely manner with his peers and is very frustrating and at times embarrassing for him. As a whole he uses sentences and words taken from his world of video gaming, TV shows and music, which he then generalizes in parallel to his own life. Yo Gabba Gabba, Kirby, Chuggington, and Pixar rule our home.
Tristen has no safety skills, meaning he does not understand danger in the way a neuro-typical person does. He knows danger exists but his behavior is largely impulsive and based upon immediate short-term gains and sensory seeking. He is a flight risk, in a millisecond he may bolt out with absolutely no regard for his own safety or wander away.
Everyday real-life experiences are overwhelming and extremely difficult due to constantly worrying about Tristen’s safety and potential for sensory overload. Going to the grocery store, running an errand, shopping, playing at the playground, anything that involves leaving the house is a painstaking task where we must worry about Tristen bolting and wandering away despite our best efforts. At home is better but it can be equally difficult as he can open the doors and locks and proceed forward on his own agenda whatever it may be. He also opens the door to strangers and has no regard that this opens himself and his family to danger. In our previous home he would disappear and we’d find him in the backyard having opened and closed the back door. There have been times he’s utilized the front door and gone off down the road, or started our journey to the car or on an errand on his own. Now that we live in an apartment, he has easier access to opening the doors and locks to leave, as we are unable to safe guard our apartment in the same manner we were able to in our relatives’ homes. There is more immediate traffic/strangers living in an apartment complex and because of his ability to open the door and leave, sleep is difficult for us, as we’re always worried we will wake up and he is gone.
Tristen has a hard time self regulating and identifying the needs his body is constantly seeking. Tristen is unable to fully enjoy and benefit from certain learning experiences at the same capacity as his typically developing peers often because he is over stimulated and over whelmed by his surroundings. It may be that the lights are to bright, background noise to busy, sounds may be to loud or at the wrong pitch/key (he covers his ears or wears ear muffs). Windy days are almost always visually over stimulating to all his senses. Certain textures and appearances make eating difficult. In addition items must also be a certain brand and come in their respective easily identifiable packaging cooked the same way every time. Tristen’s body often times needs deep pressure input. He often times stems, fixates on any round ball, flaps his hands when excited and makes what others may call odd noises. Tristen also has a tick disorder that is verbal and physical and most apparent when he is experiencing high anxiety. Routine is essential any deviation causes set backs and emotional distress. Meltdowns are the ultimate experience for any autistic individual.
For Tristen a meltdown consists of losing complete control screaming at the top of his longs sobbing. He hits himself, thrown items at himself, bangs his head, hurls himself in the wall or ground determined to cause himself physical pain. On occasion he may seek out another peer as well to bring to tears.
Tristen himself has difficulty with the required control needed to develop regular routine sleeping habits and patterns. At night he has a hard time getting himself to internally and physically calm down enough to fall asleep at a normal time of night and stay asleep. When Tristen is experiencing high anxiety, obsessing about something or feeling insecure he wakes up every few hours throughout the night upset and making various noises. Despite numerous attempts at getting Tristen to sleep on his own and adjust his internal clock he does not go to bed anywhere before midnight and does not sleep in his own room in his own bed. At one point we were able to have him sleep on a twin mattress in the same room at the foot of the bed but due to our recent move it does not provide him with the sense of security he needs in order to stay asleep throughout the night.
Tristen’s wish is to own his very own “white dog”, he tells us repeatedly daily “to go buy it, Tristen’s white dog.” In speech therapy he read Harry The Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and took to the idea of a white dog. We are currently working on this with him, as we don’t know the color of his dog, only that he will indeed get one. His love of dogs runs deep and Tristen’s Nana has a dog named, King that holds his heart. King is a mastiff pit bull mix and every time they are together we see nothing but positive Tristen. He allows King to be close, gives him commands, feeds him, plays with him, loves being chased by King and genuinely cares about his well-being. An autism service dog will fulfill Tristen’s wish as well as provide him with a companion that will give him unconditional love and keep him safe.
An autism service dog from 4 Paws for Ability will be trained to help Tristen cope with the flip side of autism. This amazing dog will be trained to track Tristen in the event that he wanders away. Tethering with the dog will also prevent Tristen from bolting when in public. The service dog will also be trained in behavior disruption to help Tristen with the sensory/self regulation he needs and meltdowns as they occur. Another great benefit of Tristen’s service dog is the social component, we’ll be able to go into the community more often (be safe) and build relationships with peers and help with communication skills.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Tristen. 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 name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Tristen Chambers-Berry, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Tae needs furry BFF for long road ahead
Tae Donovan Wescott was born Nov. 7, 2006 and was diagnosed two weeks later with Downs Syndrome. Tae has made slow progress, but continues to make progress everyday in his own ways, whether big or small. Tae began walking at the age of 4, and I have never seen someone so proud of their accomplishment. Tae has taught me not to take things for granted.
When Tae turned 5, his behavior became extremely difficult to deal with, as he seemed to become frustrated over every little thing. After extensive research, I contacted numerous doctors and the school district and after eight long months he was finally diagnosed with autism. Now that we have recognized his sensory issues, his behavior has become much better, but is a work in progress.
Tae is now 6, and he still does not talk, but I hear him babble to himself daily trying to figure out how we make all these sounds. I also hear him yell and scream in frustration because he wants to communicate so bad and doesn’t know how. There is a long road ahead, but I am proud of my son for trying every single day. In fact, this morning he spent 15 minutes and several tantrums trying to get his leg in his pants on his own, it is hard to watch until you see the joy and sense of accomplishment on his face when he finally does it. Faced with a situation like this it has made me step back from life and take the time to appreciate the very little things that were never important to me before so that I can ensure that I remain a good and positive person not only for myself, but to show Tae and his sister that you can make the choice to be happy every day regardless of your challenges.
As Tae gets older he seems to be having an increase of anxiety especially with any changes life may bring (new school, teachers, places, kids) …Almost every night, Tae gets up and finds his way into my room and in my bed. I am happy that he takes comfort in me and we have that bond, but he needs to learn that he can venture out into the world, without me, and that he doesn’t have to be afraid all the time.
He gets up in the morning, and I hear him trying to get out the front door (scary, I know, he can’t reach the top lock yet, but it will become an issue at some point).
When we go in public, if I don’t hold Tae’s hand he will lay down on the floor or take off. He loves his sister, but also loves to pull her hair, and it’s hard for me to monitor him at all times.
There are numerous issues that are arising, that I am doing my best to manage. But deep down, I am somewhat fearful that I will not always be able to manage the challenges Tae throws my way. I know that I need to do whatever it takes now, to set Tae up to have the most productive, manageable future he can have.
The one thing I do know is that any time Tae has ever been around dogs they have brought such a calming effect to him.
Dogs also seem to take a protective “motherly” role towards him. A service dog will be life changing for our family. The dog would be a constant companion for Tae, going everywhere with him. It may provide him the stability that he needs to feel secure enough to venture out into the world without me. The dog will be imperative for safety reasons as Tae gets older, so that he doesn’t try to go out the front door in the middle of the night, or take off in public. The dog will help Tae cope with his anxiety and difficult behaviors. The dog will help to promote social integration. And most importantly, Tae will have the ability to build a bond with someone other than me. As much as I appreciate our bond, I also need some help and relief, and I want Tae to spread his wings in this world, he has as much to give as everybody else.
In order to receive this dog I have agreed to raise $13,000 in support of 4 Paws’ mission. Definetely a challenge, but well worth it. All donations will go to 4 Paws for Ability in honor of Tae, and words cannot express what any and all donations mean to Tae and myself.
Tae loves basketball and music, so let’s help this little boy feel secure enough in the world to do what he loves and reach his full potential!
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 name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Tae Donovan Wescott, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Riley knows, ‘no battle is won without leaving scars’
Riley 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 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.
-Robert and Season Johnston
Teen seeks service dog
Our 17-year-old son Connor Hembree is in need of a service dog and we are reaching out to our community and others to ask for help. Here is a little bit of his story. Connor had an AVM rupture in his brain when he was 14 years old. An AVM is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins, which can cause intense pain or bleeding and lead to serious medical problems.
He was a typical teenager, smart, and active in sports, loved to socialize with his peers and got into the occasional trouble. We had no signs or symptoms that anything was wrong until that day he collapsed at school. He was transported to Dayton Children’s Hospital and immediately taken into brain surgery. We were told he had a 5-percent chance of survival due to the severity of the bleed in his brain. Well, he made it and is a miracle to say the least. The doctors would never tell us the quality of life he would have. After almost 4 months in the hospital, we got to come home. Our lives changed forever.
He has had brain surgery, cerebral angiograms, bronchoscopes, tracheotomy, and gastrostomy, just to name a few and has had dozens of medical tests and sees numerous specialists. We’ve been in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices since he suffered the rupture in his brain three years ago. He also has some delays and receives speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
Caring for and raising a loved one with any disorder, condition or special need, is both a blessing and a challenge. A challenge for the obvious reasons, and a blessing because you don’t know the depths of love and/or joy until you see your child or loved one overcoming some of those challenges. In Connor’s case, we would love to give him the opportunity to become more independent, and with a service dog we believe it can happen.
Connor has applied and been accepted at 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia, Ohio, for a Mobility Assistance Service Dog. This type of dog will help Connor in every aspect of his life. The dog will be specifically trained based on his needs. The type of training his dog will receive will be to retrieve items, tug for clothing removal, turn lights on/off, push buttons to open doors and elevators, stand and brace, and carry back pack for medications or light items. Not only will his dog help him in these areas, but also we believe the emotional and spiritual connection they could have will be tremendous.
Parenting is already exhausting. But parenting a special needs child takes things to another level. Even if we’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, or have had some time off, there is a level of emotional and physical fatigue that is always there. Hospital and doctors’ visits are not just a few times a year; they may be a few times a month or a lot of the time a few times a week. Spare time is spent looking for new treatments, positioning him to sit a certain way, helping with every aspect of his daily living, and advocating for him in the medical and educational system. We are always grateful for of any amount of help from friends and family to make our life easier, no matter how small, from arranging plans around our schedule and location, to watching our son while we are eating or going out for a few. I know that a service dog could help relieve some of these daily living tasks that he relies on us for.
When Connor’s injury occurred, I remember a conversation with my youngest sister about how I could never care for a disabled child and what were we going to do. I have grown tremendously as a person, and developed a soft heart and empathy for others in a way I never would have without him. But I’m just like any mom in some ways. Sometimes I get cranky, sometimes my son irritates me, sometimes I want get up and walk away but I just have to take a look at him and his smile makes it all good again.
It has helped us understand that true love is meeting someone (child or adult, special needs or not) and putting some things above everything else: love and understanding. We may have it tough, but in many ways we feel really blessed to have been taught so much about love and life and what really is important by our son.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Connor. 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 Connor Hembree, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Ron and Peggy Hembree
Wanted: Service dog for Ivey
Ivey is a 7-year-old girl who has gone through a lot in her short life. She was born with myelomeningocele spina bifida. She is energetic and wants to feel included and enjoy every moment of her childhood. She goes to school, attends physical and occupational therapy, enjoys piano, violin and takes modified dance lessons.
Balance and core strength are major issues for her and she is frequently at risk for falling down. She wears orthopedic shoes and AFOs (braces) in order to walk but for longer distances she uses her wheelchair since she fatigues easily and suffers from joint pain.
A mobility service dog will assist Ivey with mobility support and will help to increase her independence. The dog can assist with such tasks as pulling the wheelchair uphill-such as a ramp, pushing elevator buttons and handicap-accessible doors, carry items, pick up dropped items, steady her when she walks, help prevent falls, assist with getting her to her feet if she falls and be available for emotional support (especially since she has so many medical appointments, procedures and life challenges that increase her anxiety).
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Ivey. 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 Ivey Goodwin 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 Ivey Goodwin, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
Family seeks autism assistance dog for son Alec
By Bill and Christina Stearns
Alec is a runner and does not fear danger or injury. Often, the family cannot go out together in public and participate in activities that other families may take for granted. Alec also experiences: lack of focus, hyperactivity, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, anxiety, strong need for routine, and sleep disturbances.
We have committed to raising $13,000 in support of 4 Paws for Ability, a service dog non-profit organization that has the most experience training service dogs for children on the autism spectrum.
Once the fundraising goal is reached, 4 Paws for Ability, will begin to train a dog especially for Alec. It costs the 4 Paws $22,000 to train each dog. At this time, the Stearns family has raised donations close to $8,000 and has a little over $5,000 to go! Please help Alec secure his dog.
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 name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Alec Stearns, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Visit the official fundraising web site at: https://sites.google.com/site/alec4paws/ to learn more. Please share this information far and wide! Our goal is to have all funds raised by April 30, 2013.
Bill and Christina Stearns
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.
Sweet, loving teenage girl seeking seizure-alert dog
By Paige Murakami
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
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.
John & Laurie Smith
Grant King seeks autism assistance dog
By Patricia King
When Grant King was about 2, he didn’t have many words. We thought he was just “a late later” and put him into speech therapy twice a week. Speech therapy was
difficult with Grant rarely paying attention, thus there wasn’t much progress. Another therapy once a week was added to try to help Grant with his focus and
We noticed more things here and there… Grant had developed a tick, wasn’t playing with the other kids at school, and had become fixated with wheels. He became so mesmerized with golf he didn’t want to do anything else. He also didn’t seem to show an understanding of fear. He would try to swim across an open pool during lessons even though he can’t swim yet. He would try to leave with any of the other parents at the day care even though he didn’t know them. He also seemed to become a bit of a Houdini and could find ways to undo locks or chains on doors. He would run off into a crowd or try to leave with random strangers.
When we took Grant to a neurologist we learned the speech delay wasn’t a speech delay. He was diagnosed with Language Development Disorder, as his brain was not able to process language the way it should. His passion for golf wasn’t just a passion… his repetitive behavior was showing he had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His social development, tick, and lack of fear were more signs of Autism. He was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD).
Like most parents, especially those of children with autism, we try to give Grant every opportunity to maximize his potential. We moved him to a new school with a class for children with autism, he continues speech therapy, and we maintain regular visits to his neurologist. Our next step is to provide Grant with an autism assistance dog. A dog would be able to calm and comfort Grant during a meltdown and will also help him learn to develop social bonds.
A dog would also be able to distract him when his “tick” is acting up in stressful situations. The most important thing an autism assistance dog could provide for
Grant is safety; which has always been our biggest concern. Grant could be tethered to the dog to keep his from “taking off” into a crowd and getting lost.
These are just a few of the worries that parents of an autism child live with every day. Another great benefit is the social skills that I believe the service dog will help create. Having people wanting to talk to Grant about his dog, forcing him to interact and introduce off his buddy. Grant is a bit of a ham and should work out nicely.
Grant faces some “challenges ”. He is also stubborn, hard headed, feisty, sneaky, and a daredevil. With that, he is also tough, smart, talented, loving, funny, silly, and a flirt. New parents always imagine what their baby will be like when they grow up. Sometimes all you dream for doesn’t work out exactly how you had hoped. Sometimes things turn out even better. Grant has mesmerized Daddy, cast a spell on Mommy and wrapped his brother around his finger. Though we know we are spoiled to have gotten all we prayed for with our two awesome sons, we also dream of having this dog for Grant to help keep him safe and grow and we hope that you can help make this a reality.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Grant King 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 Grant King 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
The King Family
Mom hopes service dog will help Stryder battle seizures
By Angela Doescher
Stryder Doescher is an adorable 5-year-old boy. He has an outstanding resilience and amazing attitude that has pulled him through his heroic battle with epilepsy and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (a connective tissue disorder).
In his first years of life Stryder had many seizures, several hospitalizations, upwards of a dozen EEG’s, MRI’s, countless other invasive medical procedures, and many, many more challenges- you can read his story from day one here.
Now as always, we are trying to do everything within our power to help Stryder reach his full potential. Stryder is developing and doing amazing things that we didn’t know it would be possible for him to do. One of the many ways we would like to help Stryder is by employing a service dog.
This dog would help him with mobility, redirect him from negative repetitive behavior or dangerous situations, help calm him for medical procedures, be an asset during therapy and most importantly, alert us during a seizure.
We have just recently learned he has silent seizures while he sleeps, 1-2 spikes every single second and we had no idea! He was just recently diagnosed with a rare disorder called Landau-Kleffner Syndrome.
LKS is a type of epilepsy where prognosis is not good. When a child with LKS is on the right medication, they are seizure free, at least with the spikes that occur during sleep.
The continuous spikes happen silently, we cannot see them and yet they happen 1-2 per second and cause damage to his brain. The medications do not last for long periods of time so we will have to do overnight EEGs every 3-6 months and watch for epileptic activity and language problems. Stryder is on the maximum dosage right now and once this stops working (and it will, it’s just a matter of time) we will have to try Valium and then steroids and neither may work. If we catch the silent seizures soon, we will prevent some brain damage. In Stryder’s case he also has other types of seizures and they have yet to be controlled with meds. The breakthrough seizures, such as grand mals, do not happen every day, they can, however, occur once or twice a month.
A service dog will help to let us know when he starts having the silent seizures and also let us know when he has breakthroughs so that we can make sure he is safe. Look at the pictures of the bumps and bruises on his site atwww.strydersstory.com, they show what was probably a seizure that occurred while he was on the sidewalk (and that has happened a few times). Some children with LKS do not have “regular” seizures; Stryder does so there are those dangers as well. As it stands, Stryder does not sleep alone for fear of having seizures of any kind. A SD will give him the freedom to do that and other things little boys should be able to do.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Stryder. 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 Stryder Doescher, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
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.
Family ‘excited’ for future furry addition to family to help son
By Nancye Soporito
Let me start by telling you about my amazing son. My son, Myles, is 6 years old, is epileptic and had factor V (which is a blood clotting disorder). He is current in Kindergarten at Burcham Elementary in Weatherford, Ok. He loves to participate in any sport possible for flag football to wrestling to soccer. His heart is bigger than he is. He loves animals and has an amazing ability to comfort them. He talks about one day become a racecar driver.
I am writing to you in hopes of getting some help. He has had seizures for some time now. He had his first Grand Mal seizure when he was 8 months old. Unfortunately, this was nothing new to us because my daughter also had seizures from 6 weeks old to about 2 years old when she out grew them. The doctors told us this would probably be the same for our son. After 2 years of hospitalizations and doctors’ visits, they slowly weaned him off his medication and we thought he was seizure-free. We were all so excited.
About 6-8 months later I notice Myles was having speech issues. We took him back to the neurologist and they ran a bunch of tests. You can’t even begin to imagine the disappointment when we got the results. It turns out that he was still having seizures, roughly 20 per hour. So we went back to more hospitalizations, surgeries, doctors’ visits, blood drawing and medication. During this time period we also found out our daughter also had medical conditions herself that made it so we were living in the hospital. On top of all that I, myself, had been fighting cancer. You can imagine the amount of time my husband and I spent running from doctor to hospital to doctor, not to mention the amount of money we spend annually to keep up with our doctors’ bills.
Recently, our doctor recommended that we get our son a service dog to help him. The dog is called a seizure-assistance dog. He is supposed to help Myles become independent and interact with other people, helping him be less isolated with his disability. The dog will also be able to provide emotional support to my son in medical environments. Seizure medications often cause behavioral issues too, and the seizure assistance dog is trained in behavior intervention where the parents have commands to send the dog in to interact with the child. And just as important, he will be safe from prolonged seizures in his sleep—a risk that keeps us as parents awake through many nights. Also, and this is a HUGE also, the dog is supposed to alert Myles or myself of a seizure. There is a chemical change that happens in the body that some dogs can smell or sense and give the person an alert to warn that a seizure is about to happen. So, needless to say, we are excited about this new option for Myles.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Myles. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help. We are hoping that maybe your family can help our family in this process. There are many ways you can help from a tax-deductible donation, helping fundraise, or just helping getting our story out there. If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include the Myles Soporito’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 Myles Soporito, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
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.
Sabrina, the ‘social butterfly,’ needs behavior disruption, sensory therapy service dog
By: Esther Medellin
And while she doesn’t understand the rules that apply to the game, she does know what she has to do when she’s got the ball. But life has always been about more than laughter and playing ball for Sabrina.
We discovered prior to age 2, when Sabrina was not crawling, turning over/walking, etc., that she had hypotonia, which she then had throughout her toddler years. She underwent physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Currently, she still has very limited speech and currently knows approximately 30-35 words, however, she cannot put words together to make sentences. She has a rare unbalanced chromosome deletion. She has a partial deletion of her #22 and a duplication of her #2 chromosomes.
Sabrina walks with an unusual gait, and is currently wearing DAFOs (Dynamic Foot Ankle Orthosis) for corrective support for both feet.
The challenges my husband and I have faced are primarily sadness and frustration, simply because there is basically no cure for her condition, and not many cases with her condition that we can relate to or compare.
Sabrina has always been a happy, but the older she has gotten, the more challenges arise. Her inability to express herself has caused her more frustration. We have had a difficult time going to stores/restaurants without some sort of episode or meltdown.
She is unaware of potentially dangerous situations, i.e. crossing the street, going with a stranger, etc.
She’s got a great personality. She has always been a happy child and is still happy, but more frustrated at times. For having such limited speech, Sabrina is what I like to call a social butterfly! She is very interactive and will initiate conversation (i.e. saying, “Hi!”) with anyone.
Sabrina is in a self-contained classroom, but her class is mainstreamed throughout the day. Her favorite class is gym and she just loves to stay active! She absolutely loves school and is very popular with her peers. A lot of the kids, both in mainstream and special education just love her and will protect her while she’s at school.
While I am aware that she is the one that is facing such great challenges, it is not only hard for us parents to boost her spirits, but physically draining.
I know that Sabrina can feel alone at times, but I am certain that a behavior disruption and sensory therapy service dog would provide her with not only physical, but also emotional support. I am hoping this dog will also help to ease her daily frustrations and provide comfort to minimize with her emotional meltdowns.
My husband and I feel truly blessed to have Sabrina in our lives, and have always wanted to give her something that will make a difference in her life. She doesn’t seem to be phased by material things, nor has she ever. I believe that this dog will make a huge impact and difference in her little world and we cannot wait for the opportunity! So far, we have raised close to $200, but we have just started our fundraising. We are certain we will accomplish this for Sabrina!
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Sabrina, and her family is 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 Sabrina Medellin, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
Tyler Kidder needs FASD service dog
By Kendra Kidder
We are Tannen and Kendra Kidder of Goshen, Ind. We adopted two boys in 2007. Tyler James was 3½ at the time and his brother Jeremiah was 18 months. Tyler is now 9 years old.
Tyler started Kindergarten in 2008. He struggled in school and we just figured he was a ‘young’ 5-year-old. We repeated Kindergarten and he did better, but still struggled. After lots of conversations with the teacher, we had Tyler genetically tested to see if anything was wrong. Tyler was diagnosed with Xq28 duplications, and Organic encephalopathy secondary to prenatal teratogen exposure—FASD– Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder.
This all led to us as parents to do lots of research on FASD and to reach out to other parents who have children diagnosed with FASD as well. Through this research we have found where a service dog may be of help for Tyler with his meltdowns and with behavior intervention. In researching what these dogs are trained to do, we are amazed at the results.
Many children with FASDs have sensory issues causing involuntary repetitive movements or behaviors that seem out of place in a social context. These movements thus become the signal or “command taught to the dog. The dog is then trained to disrupt the behavior by nuzzling the child or putting a paw on the child.
The biggest challenges we faced so far are acting out and disruptive behavior, name calling, difficulty controlling anger outburst. Tyler has a hard time concentrating, and is very impulsive. He has a hard time learning from consequences, we have found that repetitiveness is a must and sometimes takes forever for Tyler to catch on.
We believe a specially trained service dog will be a calming effect for Tyler in public situations where he is over-stimulated and also at home for behavioral intervention. It will 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. This wonderful dog will be trained to disrupt behaviors and hopefully lessen or prevent meltdowns
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong birth defect that occurs when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol. This “hidden disability” leaves an individual with neurological, behavioral, and emotional impairments. Up to 94% of children prenatally exposed to alcohol will also fight mental illness.
An FASD Service Dog’s presence offers a calming influence. Like children who are affected by ADHD, many children suffering from fetal alcohol exposure have difficulty sitting and staying at the table or being able to focus. Due to an over-aroused nervous system, children with FASD have trouble settling down and not becoming agitated.
Some of the significant benefits that an FASD Service Dog can bring to children are:
-An advancement in abstract and concrete thinking
-Improvement in focus
-An increase in the length of attention span
An important role of the service dog is giving the individual more self-confidence, which promotes independence.
We heard about 4 Paws for Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their FASD Service Dogs. We think obtaining a dog, in this instance an FASD/multipurpose dog, for Tyler 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 Tyler. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help.
How can you help? You can help us by donating money to 4 Paws. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Please be sure to list Tyler’s name on your donation so 4 Paws knows which dog you are helping a child receive.
Thank you for your consideration in helping Tyler receive his Service Dog.
Donating to 4 Paws is tax deductible. Donations may be made online by going to, First Giving, or by mailing a check to: 4 Paws For Ability, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Again, please be sure to put Tyler’s name in the memo or include the enclosed paper with Tyler’s name on it with your donations.
Thank you so much for your consideration to donate.
Gerren seeks ‘calm-down’ dog
By L’Tanya Durante
“A dog is the only thing that can mend a crack in your broken heart.” -Judy Desmond
And there are times when our heart breaks for our 8-year-old son, Gerren. On the outside, he is compliant, helpful, funny and playful. At home, he is often defiant and belligerent. Any number of triggers can send him into a tailspin of spitting, throwing, hitting and screaming. Forget about mama—when my son ‘ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’
You can read the entire column here: http://www.chapelhillnews.com/2011/02/06/62287/holding-on-tight.html
Gerren was diagnosed with a mood disorder at the age of 4. Even though we continue to see therapists and rotate medications, the truth is that the minute-to-minute ups and downs are hard to manage. They have taken a toll on his older brother, on our marriage, on his grandmother’s health, and especially on Gerren.
At one of our crossroads, his brother simply said, “Gerren needs a dog.”
That divine intervention led to research on psychiatric service dogs, which led to discovering 4 Paws For Ability.
4 Paws For Ability is a non-profit agency that places service dogs with children who need them, even if as in our case, their disability isn’t always visible. 4 Paws For Ability specifically trains dogs to meet the needs of each child. So when Gerren is triggered, we’ll signal Pickles to interrupt him – go over and nudge, play and distract. That little loving nudge may be just the thing to prevent what could be a two-hour meltdown. That nudge could ultimately help Gerren start to recognize his own triggers and re-direct behavior.
Who’s Pickles? Well, Pickles is the name Gerren has already given his “calm-down” dog. When we’re weary and wondering what our next step will be, thinking about how excited Gerren is about caring for a dog – his dog – gets us excited.
Gerren is such a cool little guy. He has so personality and gifts to offer this world. We want to make sure he has every tool to help him succeed.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Gerren. 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 her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, ‘In Honor of Gerren,’ 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Seeking 4 Paws 4 Danyelle
By Deanna Douglas
My daughter’s name is Danyelle Shirlee Wallace and she is 11 years old.
As she turned 2, I noticed that she would go into rages when she couldn’t do or get something that she wanted and I just thought that this was part of the ‘terrible 2s’. I could not leave her with anyone except my sister, as she had severe separation anxiety whenever I was not around. She would not make eye contact with anyone and would not talk with anyone except family until she was much older. She was diagnosed at 3 years old with fetal alcohol effects.
At the age of 4, we started counseling in order to try and deal with her severe separation anxiety as well as with her meltdowns that would last for hours if she could not get or have that one thing that she had in her mind at that time. She was unable to move on to something else and gets mentally stuck, which turns into temper tantrums and at times will go on until she is exhausted and falls asleep.
Danyelle has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Effects, ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, and Provisional Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She has a very small bladder and has bed-wetting issues due to the fetal alcohol. She also has very little enamel on her teeth, which her dentist told me is due to the fetal alcohol.
Danyelle struggles to get through a somewhat-normal day. She has a hard time getting along with other kids and cannot accept responsibility when she does something wrong and will always say, ‘Well, they hit me first,’ or ‘They were going to do this’. Danyelle’s perception of what is going on around her is sometimes very different than what is actually going on. She has very few friends and rarely gets invited to other kids’ houses to play. She struggles to accomplish the most basic things that have to be done on a daily basis without constant reminders. Everything that is asked of her seems to be a battle in order to get her to comply.
She has struggled in the past with her academics until this year when she was placed in a room with an Ed Tech. Her grades are very good at the moment, but without the one-on-one attention, it is agreed that she would not be able to keep up.
I know that FASD is irreversible, so I just want to do everything I can to provide her a way to best deal with the hand that she has been dealt. A lot of people just don’t understand what it is like to live with kids affected by FASD. To the outside world it looks like they are just your everyday kids until you really spend some time with them. I have received many comments about her behaviors and ‘why can’t I make my kid behave?’ If they only lived in my shoes for one day the comments may not be so easily said.
Danyelle wanders off kind of in her own little world and has done this several times at school. When we are out in public, she will slip away from me the second I turn my back. If we are at the grocery store, she will ask to go look at something, and I will tell her to let me get whatever it is that we came in for, and then we will look at what she wants, she sometimes takes off. I then go into panic mode looking for her and when I find her, she will say, ‘But I knew where you were’. She can’t seem to understand that I am not there where she left me because I am in a panic looking for her all over the store. As she gets older I worry more about her wandering off. She will talk with anyone and could very well become a victim of others because she is so unaware of dangers around her.
Danyelle enjoys swimming and more recently, Taekwondo. It took some convincing for her to try it, but one of the instructors works with kids with disabilities, and is very good with her and convinced her to at least try and she did and loved it. She has just moved up to her Orange Belt.
She is an animal lover. She wants a horse and has always wanted another dog, since our two Golden Retrievers have passed away over the years. There are times that I have thought about getting another dog, but with the behavior issues she has, it is not something we’ve done yet. My stepmother came across an article about a 10-year-old boy who had FASD, who received a 4 Paws for Ability service dog. Almost everything in that article was like reading about Danyelle. This got me thinking that maybe this could be the answer that we have been looking for. Until reading the article about the 10-year-old with FASD, I had no idea that service dogs were available to help them overcome some of their disabilities.
We have been approved for an FASD dog. If I could have the piece of mind that the dog would allow her and myself the freedom to go into a public place without the fear that she would wander off it would be an answer to a prayer. Also the dog being able to take her mind off the rage that is about to happen and last for hours would be huge in our life. If the dog were able to get her from the point of almost going into a meltdown to a point where she could move on without hours of upset, would be remarkable. Also to know that the dog could track her should she wander away would be just another relief to our family.
I so badly want this dog to be the answer that allows Danyelle to live up to her potential and to be able to keep her safe from the outside world. Danyelle is a very loving girl and sometimes feels bad when she says and does the things she does. I can only hope that this dog will help her to cope with her frustrations in a more appropriate way.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Danyelle. 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 her name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Danyelle, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Kender Hunt needs autism service dog for mobility, confidence
By Elayne Hunt
Kender Hunt is 4 years old, but is currently developmentally only about 2. We first found out he had medical issues when he was 2 months old. We noticed he didn’t seem to be tracking, and he smiled in response to sound or touch rather than sight. We also saw white reflections in his eyes. Because those reflections can be a sign of cancer, we were able to get seen very quickly by a specialist in Ann Arbor, Mich., who referred us to Dr. Michael Trese in Royal Oak—possibly the world’s best expert on pediatric retinal diseases.
Dr. Trese diagnosed Kender with Familial Exudative Vitreo-Retinopathy (FEVR), stage IV in both eyes, and immediately performed surgery to peel a retinal fold and remove the vitreous fluid in Kender’s worse eye.
We found out that FEVR is a genetic disease, that my husband Brian, also blind, had been misdiagnosed all his life and actually has this disease, that three others of our six children had this disease and were losing vision, and that one other of our children was also blind. Since then, Kender has had multiple eye surgeries, undergoing anesthesia every 2-6 months and having multiple invasive procedures. He developed glaucoma and a blown pupil in one eye at 18 months, and his development seemed to freeze at that point. We didn’t find out until this year that those issues were causing him ongoing pain, which is likely why he stopped developing. Once we got him medication to treat that pain, he began to progress again.
As he progressed, it became more obvious that our suspicions of autism were correct, and we were able to make that diagnosis formal this summer. One of Kender’s sisters has a formal autism spectrum diagnosis, and we are pretty sure that I, and a couple more of our children are also on the spectrum, but haven’t needed the diagnosis. This makes us more familiar with the signs and helped us distinguish his autistic traits from his blind traits.
We have a lot of challenges with Kender, obviously, but the biggest ones right now are related to his autism. He doesn’t respond to his name, he doesn’t respond if you call him, he doesn’t follow commands, and he doesn’t understand boundaries and limits. We have had to place extra locks on our doors at home so that he can’t go outside, and we have to watch him constantly when we are away from home to make sure he doesn’t get away. He can disappear in the blink of an eye! It has been hard for us to go on vacation because our timeshare does not have doors that can be locked to keep someone inside, for fire hazard reasons, and Kender actually got away from us once there for over 15 minutes before we found him!
Kender also has a lot of difficulty in noisy, crowded environments, and he tends to either huddle with me or try to escape when faced with situations like playgrounds, our homeschool group activities, etc.
We have applied for an autism service dog for Kender. With him, the biggest helps for us will be with mobility. We’ll be able to tether Kender to the dog when we are out, and the dog will be trained to find Kender if he gets away.
As a bonus, the dog does not need to be trained as a guide dog to help with Kender’s mobility in that way; we know from experience with my husband, that just walking with an untrained dog can provide helpful information about the ground and surroundings, and we hope that this will improve Kender’s confidence in walking on unfamiliar terrain. We expect the dog will be helpful in disrupting some of Kender’s self-injurious behaviors, like head banging and eye poking.
We look forward also to having a physical and emotional anchor for Kender during religious ceremonies, where I have been concerned about his unusual, and sometimes disruptive behavior driving away other members of the congregation.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Kender. 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 Kender Hunt,’ 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385. Thank you.
Sweet Owen needs an autism assistance dog
By Kim Thomas
Owen was born weighing 2 lbs., 3 oz. at 26 weeks gestation with a twin brother, Keegan, who passed away shortly after birth. Owen was in the NICU for 9 weeks, during his stay he was on a ventilator, oxygen, a feeding tube and a heart monitor. At 9 weeks old, weighing 5 ½ lbs., Owen came home with a heart monitor until he was 6 months old. Owen needed physical therapy due to low muscle tone. Holding his head up, sitting, standing, crawling and walking were very hard for Owen to learn to do.
When Owen was 1 year old, I noticed some things. His speech was delayed and he couldn’t handle certain noises and situations involving crowds or too many things on his plate at once. At 2 years old Owen began to spell… yes spell, not with his voice, but with foam letters on the floor.
Owen was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 3 years old, which meant he was on the autism spectrum but the doctors didn’t know where exactly. I wanted a better answer so I did my own research; our son is incredibly smart but not very social or verbal. At 4 years old he was also diagnosed with hyperlexia. Children with hyperlexia can read and spell at a very early age but are not able to communicate.
Owen is now 9 years old, and the bigger he gets, the harder it is for us to keep him from running off and to keep him from pulling my hair when he gets upset and can’t tell us what is wrong. Also, since Owen is unable to understand danger and does not respond to his name we constantly worry, if he does run off and we can’t find him… what will happen to him? Owen has managed to sneak away twice, any parent can imagine how scary that is, but since Owen can’t take care of, or protect himself, it is even scarier!
A service dog would keep Owen from running off in busy places while giving him some independence. If he did happen to successfully sneak out of our house the dog could track him quickly, just the thought of a dog being there for that is comforting to us. A service dog would also distract Owen from his repetitive self-stimming such as grinding his teeth and licking objects, it could also calm him when he gets frustrated. Autism assistance dogs have been known to help children become more social and verbal. Having a service dog would allow me to take our children places such as the park without having to make plans for another adult to come along. We believe that Owen and our family would benefit, in many ways, from him receiving a service dog.
We found an organization called 4 Paws For Ability that raises and trains all different kinds of service dogs! It costs them $22,000 to place a service dog. We have volunteered to raise at least $13,000 in support of 4 Paws’ mission.
If you would like to help us, you can send your tax-deductible donation to:
4 Paws For Ability
In honor of: Owen Thomas
235 Dayton Ave
Xenia OH 45385
Help Cayden get service dog
By Deloris Whaley
Cayden Whaley, 6, was fussy as a toddler, but still he was a joy. He went to pre-school for about four months when he was 3, then attended Head Start when he was 4 years old.
As a preschooler, Cayden became very hyperactive. As he started getting a little older, he became hyperactive. It was and still is very hard for him to switch from one activity to another. He has a hard time in school because its hard for him to sit and focus on anything for very long time and if doesn’t finish something he has a meltdown.
He doesn’t seem to hear me when I tell him something and he doesn’t seem to process it. For example, he will ask for something to drink I get it and put it on the table and tell him it’s there he will go on about his business for quite a while and then say “You forgot to get me something to drink.”
Cayden is high-needs. I have a daycare and it’s very hard to get anything done because he gets bored very easily. He has separation anxiety to the point where he has a hard time going to school. I have to drag him to the bus every day. Cayden won’t go to the bathroom unless I’m close by. He won’t go in his room by himself and doesn’t like to go anywhere or do anything. I made him go to swimming lessons, and now he likes to swim.
I also took him to play hockey, and while he didn’t like it the first year, the second year he did much better.
Cayden loves Thomas the Train, loves Chuck E. Cheeses and Hot Wheels. For this summer he wants to go see Mount Rushmore.
A service dog could help him with his meltdowns and help him to be more independent. I’m hoping that the dog will be able to go to school with him and he will have an easier time leaving me.
We heard about 4 Paws for Ability and their FASD Service Dogs. We think obtaining a dog for Cayden would be beneficial to 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 Cayden. 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.html) or mail a check with Cayden’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Cayden
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385
Help Levi get service dog: A ‘difference between life and death’
Levi Walker is 7 years old. He was born following a scheduled C-Section that was needed due to an ultrasound showing us that Levi had a big head. In deed he did! His head size has been off the charts since he was 6 months old. The pregnancy and delivery were uneventful. Levi had Apgar scores of 8 and 9. I was so excited to hold my first-born and was so thankful he was healthy. By the time we were released from the hospital, Levi had choked twice on his saliva. It was almost like he was forgetting to swallow. No one seemed concerned so we weren’t either.
After we got home, I continued to try to nurse him. He was having a hard time latching on. We tried for almost four weeks, but when it was noticeable he was losing weight from not getting enough milk, we switched to formula. As Levi grew, we noticed we had to support his neck longer than typical when holding him. But, again, he seemed to be doing well otherwise. Levi had said three words by 12 months, was smiling and cooing and was eating everything we ate. He was slightly delayed in fine and gross motor skills and started Early Intervention at about 13 months old. At the time we thought he only qualified because he wasn’t trying to walk. However, after he was evaluated, it was decided he had global delays.
We got started with physical therapy and Levi took his first steps at 17 months old. During the time that he was working on walking, I noticed Levi was no longer saying “Mama”, “Dada” or “No-No.” I mentioned this to his therapists and all there said that some children get so focused on learning a skill, especially a gross motor skill such as walking, that they suppress another skill until they master the new one. I was told not to worry; Levi would start talking again once he started walking. But he didn’t. A few months later, he regressed in his social communication skills. There would be no more words, he became aversive to most foods and seemed to not notice other people including his parents
Around 15 months old, a developmental pediatrician sent him for a sedated MRI, which showed thinning white matter on his brain, and he was diagnosed as having Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL). PVL typically is found in premature babies. Levi was full-term. A few months later, Levi started hand flapping and tiptoe walking. He had an appointment with his developmental pediatrician and I asked for a referral to have him evaluated. The doctor wanted to wait. We went back almost four months later and I told anyone and everyone when we got there that I wanted that evaluation. The doctor walked into the examination room, put sanitizer on his hands and rubbed them together. Levi immediately started tiptoeing and flapping his hands. The doctor looked at me and said he was referring him for an autism evaluation. Finally!
We had his evaluation a few months later. I was answering the psychologist’s questions before she even asked them. We walked out with the diagnosis. Levi was diagnosed with autism on July 9, 2007, at 25 months old. Even though I knew he would be diagnosed, hearing the official medical diagnosis felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. While autism explained some of Levi’s challenges, he also had some characteristics that didn’t quite fit under the PVL or autism diagnoses. So a Microarray test was ordered and came back showing that Levi also has a deletion on chromosome 15. From what we have found about this deletion, it causes attention issues, impulsiveness, expressive language delays, low muscle tone and a higher chance of seizures.
Where we are with Levi now: Levi is being homeschool with a full-time ABA program. He was not able to make progress in a school setting and has been making progress in the four months he has been doing ABA. Levi loves to swim, run, watch Bear in the Big Blue House and jump on his trampoline. He enjoys flipping the pages of books (his favorite is a phonebook). Levi has no communication right now other than pulling us to what he wants. He is beginning to show interest in the Proloquo2go app on the iPad, pictures and signing.
Levi has a history of running off. We had to fence in our house and put combination locks on the gate doors in an attempt to keep Levi safe. He has mastered all the locks we have put on the doors of the house. He is getting older and does not want me to hold onto his hand, but in public, I have no choice unless he is in his special needs stroller, because he will bolt and has no sense of danger.
Levi also loves water but can’t swim. We live near multiple lakes and ponds so there is constant worry that someone might accidently leave the gate door unlocked or he will find a way to get out of the fence. Levi bites his hand when he is over stimulated, excited, upset, etc. He also does a lot of tapping and banging on items. Levi is almost as tall as I am and weighs near 85 pounds. There are times when he struggles to self-calm and all I can do is wait because he won’t let me near him.
These concerns are what led me to research service dogs. I found multiple agencies but only 4 Paws for Ability would train a dog to be more than a companion for Levi. Levi needs a dog that has the potential to track so that we could find him quickly which could mean the difference between life and death for Levi.
An autism service dog trained to be tethered to Levi would allow Levi to walk independently out in public without me having to be constantly on high alert wondering when he will run. A service dog will be able to help calm Levi and interrupt his self-injury behaviors, which include biting his hand when he is over stimulated or upset.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Levi. 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, our page at, http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/awalker1979/4pawsforlevi or mail a check with Levi Walker’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Levi Walker
253 Dayton Ave
Xenia, OH 45385
4 Paws 4 Gabriel
Gabriel Lacerda is a 3-year-old on the autism spectrum currently diagnosed with PDD-NOS. He has just started to speak in the last seven months due to extensive therapy that took 26+ hours a week. However, on his third birthday, he aged out of extensive therapy services and into ABA integrated classroom with peer partners as well as additional speech and OT.
Gabriel is very active and needs to move all the time; he can’t slow himself down and is always running around. This excessive amount of energy exhausts him but his need to move overrides the need to rest and he keeps moving wearing his body out. He has GI issues starting with lactose intolerance, and the textures of most food put him off, making his selection of foods he can enjoy very minimal. He has started using full sentences recently and interacting and play outdoors. He has no fear. He leaps from high furniture and tries to leave the house to explore, even without an adult… and scariest of all, he has a dangerous attraction to water like many autistic children.
Crowds overwhelm him and he does not like to be carried for too long and is very independent. This dog will allow him to walk safely with us with out wandering off but with independence. He loves to Smile and Laugh, and could really use the communities help to donate whatever amount they can to help him get closer to his goal of staying safe.
We are dedicated to helping raise money for service dogs, and in the process, receive an autism service dog ourselves. Our goal is to raise $13,000 for the charity 4 Paws for Ability, A.S.A.P.
These service dogs are trained to comfort during meltdowns, interrupt inappropriate repetitive or self-injurious behaviors, and provide comfort and companionship as well as tracking a child if they become lost. 4 Paws for Ability eliminates a long waiting list by allowing their clients’ family, friends, and community to raise $13,000 to in support of their mission.
You can Help by Clicking on the link “How YOU can help” and making a donation to 4 Paws for Ability in Gabriel’s Honor. Please remember any amount helps and no amount is too small. By donating you will bring him closer to having his own service dog that can make his fight against autism a little simpler.
Zala needs service dog trained in distraction/disruption
By Rachellyn Burek
I learned that my daughter, Zala Marie Cooper, had medical issues at around the age of three. She has unusual difficulty dealing with change, and gets extremely upset. Her meltdowns can last from minutes to hours.
Zala is an animal lover. She would, and has tried to, take strays in off the street. She loves to draw. But because of her meltdowns, she has very few friends. Little things set her off. It could be a simple thing like a dinner change and she has a meltdown.
We heard about 4 Paws for Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their Service Dogs. We think obtaining a dog for Zala would be beneficial to her and us. It would be trained to distract and calm her when she has her meltdowns.
4 Paws has a unique approach to placement. They partner with their clients and by doing can place dogs without a long waiting list. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Zala. 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 Zala’s name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability In Honor of Zala Cooper 253 Dayton Ave. Xenia, Ohio 45385
Let’s give Corrina a seizure service dog!
By Corrina’s mother
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
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!
Non-verbal,fearless Nicholas needs service dog
By Tina Wilder
While he is able to walk and loves to climb, he is not able to talk. He cannot yet do many things a typical 5-year-old can. He does not run, jump, and cannot ride a tricycle.
Sometimes he tries to get out of the house, and he is able to open doors by himself. Once he wandered over to a neighbor’s house. Taking him places is challenging. He “drops” and won’t get up. He knocks things over. He swipes food and dishes onto the floor. He’s good at getting out of hotel rooms, too.
Nicholas has serious behavioral problems,and also has sensory issues. But even with all the frustration in his young life, he is a very happy, loving little boy who enjoys giving hugs and cuddling. He loves to be in his spinning chair. He enjoys interacting with others with Patty Cake and Row Your Boat. He loves any toy with a button, especially if it plays music. He loves being tickled. He also loves music, Elmo, Ernie, swinging, and wagon rides.
Nicholas’ challenges include not being able to talk; he has started to use the PECS system to help him communicate. Right now he uses the pictures to request food.
Because he lacks coordination and has low muscle tone, he is not able to put on his own clothes, requires moderate assist with meals, and is not potty trained. He does not play with other children. He has difficulty sleeping at night, and wakes up frequently. Nicholas is in a stroller when out in the community due to his “dropping” and safety issues. He does not understand his limits or danger.
He will attempt to walk into the street or wander off in public, and has no fear of strangers. He enjoys getting into any water: he’ll walk off the dock into the lake, fall into the waterfall at the mall, and plop into his grandpa’s pond.
We are applying for a multipurpose service dog so Nicholas will be able to go more places and be more independent. If tethered to the dog we can walk through the zoo, mall, etc. He will not have to be in a stroller all the time.
We hope the dog will help Nicholas stop some of his behavior such as hitting himself in the head and throwing things. The dog will also be trained for searching and finding him, and can also let someone know if he is getting into danger. Nicholas’ school has occasional visits from a therapy dog. Nicholas does well with the dog, and loves to walk with the dog around the school.
We heard about4 Paws for Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their multipurpose service dogs. We think obtaining a dog for Nicholas would be beneficial to him and to us. 4 Paws partners with its 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 Nicholas, and we are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission. We need your help.
If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page or mail a check with Nicholas’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Nicholas Wilder
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385
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
Carter needs autism service dog to track, stabilize, and love.
By Lisette Tackitt
Carter’s Autism has been very isolating. He has no sense of danger: escaping/wandering off, restless sleep, breaks household and personal family items, destroys contents in cabinets, floods bathrooms, very difficult eater; difficulty dealing with certain textures, temper tantrums, very low communication capability, extreme single-mindedness, extreme stubbornness, extreme difficulty in focusing on anything that should be relevant/important.
He is the youngest of five boys. His older brothers are Cooper 13, Ethan 11, Owen 10, and Brady 7. They love him so much but get frustrated when he goes into their rooms, and destroys their rooms by emptying drawers, dumping out toy tubs, writing on their walls, throwing their game devices over the second-floor ledge onto the entryway floor.
Carter is extremely loving and gives hugs and kisses. He is a happy child. He is not aggressive or confrontational to others. He loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Dora the Explorer, NickJr., but Blues Clues is his very favorite so we’d love to call his dog BLUE!
He will often randomly recite dialogue from his favorite episodes for no apparent reason. He loves to play outside and swing. He has difficulty dealing with changes in routine and transition. It’s routine for him to have public meltdowns while screaming and throwing himself on the floor. He’s getting bigger and harder for Mom to handle.
Safety is our biggest issue. Second is independence. He needs more independence, for example, when we go to the grocery store. So that he won’t take off running down the aisles, we must place him in the shopping cart with the seat belt fastened. He’s growing tall, so that won’t work for much longer.
The dog would be his companion. I am hoping that this will also help him sleep better in his own bed. Right now he sleeps in Mom and Dad’s bed because I always think, what if, in the night, he walks out of the house.
Another major concern is the fact that we are moving from Texas to Ohio this summer and that it will be such a drastic change for him going to a location with no family or familiar people. He’ll have new teachers, new surroundings, which is terrifying, so he’ll also have new areas to explore.
We want to be able to raise these funds as soon as we can so Carter can have his dog and bring us relief.
We heard about 4 Paws For Ability (a nonprofit agency), located in Ohio, and made an application. We were accepted. Our family is partnering with 4 Paws for Ability to raise the $13,000 to raise and train Carter’s dog to meet his needs.
You can find out more about autism services dogs and help by making a tax deductible donation to 4 Paws for Ability in honor of Carter Tackitt at 4 Paws for Ability’s donation page, 4 Paws for Ability – Donation Page, or by mailing a check to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Carter Tackitt
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385
Thank you from the Tackitt 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
We discovered that because of nicotine, alcohol, and cocaine exposure in utero, he has the following diagnosis:
- ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder)
- ODD (oppositional defiant)
- SPD (Sensory processing disorder)
- DBD (disruptive behavior disorder)
- Unspecified learning disorder
- 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.
Down Syndrome & Autism keep Ella on the run!
In addition, Ella has classic non-verbal AUTISM and Joel is also on the spectrum. It’s become hard for the family to go out because they never know how long Ella will hold a hand before she will drop, twist and run, sometimes into traffic. She has many meltdowns in new situations.
A Service Dog for Ella will be a LIFE SAVER! Ella could be tethered at the waist to the dog’s harness, giving her a little more independence without being able to run away. The dog would be trained to give comfort when the kids are stressed at doctor appointments, disrupt meltdowns and to track the children if they get lost.
The dog would go everywhere with Ella and they’d become best friends. Other children might befriend her because of their interest in the dog. Please make checks out to “4 Paws for Ability,” memo “in honor of Ella Wynkoop” and mail to:
4 Paws for Ability, Inc.
253 Dayton Ave
Xenia, Ohio 45385
Little locksmith needs search & rescue autism service dog
By Karen Bidwell
Hi, my name is Karen Bidwell and my wonderful husband is named Josh. We have two beautiful children, Tyler – five, and Micah – three. Josh and I have been married 15 years and cherish every moment we have with our son and daughter! Just a little less than six years ago, we believed we would never be able to have children. However, God had other and bigger plans, TIMES TWO!
I have a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome ( PCOS), which was the doctor’s reason for us not being able to have children. Josh and I were devastated but that didn’t keep us from trying. I took all the necessary medication and even added one of my own called “Ovulex.” Within a month’s time, our sweet Tyler was on his way to being our little buddy. And 18 months after he was born, his beautiful sister, Micah was born. Isn’t God great!
Tyler was due to be born on Mother’s Day of 2006. However, because I came down with severe preeclampsia, he was born 12 weeks early. His first two months of life was spent hooked up to wires and tubes in the NICU at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, Texas. He learned to eat and to breathe during those two months and we learned to help him as best we could. There were ups and downs, but we never gave up hope of him being able to come home and live a normal life with us.
At the age of two, we took Tyler to his two-year checkup. The nurse did the usual questionnaire regarding his physical and mental development. A red flag went up when they were unable to get his attention and he was not speaking in small sentences as communication. We didn’t think much of it because we expected delays due to his prematurity. So, the doctor referred us to Himmel Home Health for physical, speech, and occupational therapy.
We went ahead and enrolled him into the Head Start Program here in New Braunfels, TX. They were wonderful and it helped him get used to being around other children and get used to a school-like structure. When he neared the preschool age, our local school district did some testing of their own and gave us a probable diagnosis of Tyler being on the spectrum of Autism along with the speech delay. So, we took him to a clinical psychologist and sure enough, she officially diagnosed the Autism.
So, now, here we are, trying to find all possible ways to help our little buddy. He is a very loving and sweet boy. He loves animals and has a wonderful belly laugh. There are many frustration tantrums, but not near as bad as some I’ve seen. Poor baby just can’t seem to tell us what it is he wants, but he’s working on it.
Tyler has run off a number of times without us knowing it and it involved crossing the street to his grandparents’ home. The first time this happened, I nearly had a heart attack. I cried and was so scared! We have an alarm on the door, but we don’t always remember to turn it on. He knows how to undo barrel locks, dead bolts, and chain locks, so there’s really nothing else we can do to keep him in except watch him closely all day. It makes getting housework done and having naptimes nearly impossible.
We saw a story on our local news about how dogs were being trained to aid people on the spectrum and we jumped right in and applied after searching many different organizations. 4 Paws for Ability has the only tracking plus Autism service trained dogs we could find. So, we are now in the process of fundraising for them in order to qualify for a service pal for our Tyler.
One thing about Tyler and our relationship, it all seems and feels normal to us. He was our first child and everything he has gone through has been what we would have figured was ordinary life. When we had Micah, his sister (the drama queen), she seemed to be the “different” one. So when people ask us if we are okay or were we devastated by the news of Tyler’s diagnosis, we have to be honest and explain to them, “No,” ‘cuz it’s all just normal everyday life to us. Even if it were hard for us, we wouldn’t love our little bud any less!
God has a very special plan for Tyler and we see some of it each and every day.
Josh and I are volunteering to help raise $13,000 for training a dog for Tyler from 4 Paws. 4 Paws has a wonderful 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 Tyler. And we can reach our $13,000 goal with your help. (They pay for the rest of the costs.)
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 Tyler’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Tyler Bidwell
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385
We need a helping paw for CJ
Charles J Neuman, known as CJ, turns eight in August 2011. He and his family live in Junction City, Kansas. CJ is a very outgoing child and loves to play sports. He has, however, been diagnosed with the following:
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS/FASD)
- Unspecified cerebral palsy
- Some developmental delays
We believe a FASD service dog would be a tremendous help to CJ and the entire family. In addition to providing companionship, they are also trained in Search and Rescue, help soothe the child’s tantrums and anxiety, and give some independence to the child.
4 Paws for Ability is a nonprofit organization based in Ohio. They specialize in placements with people who are turned away by many other agencies.
Many children with FASDs have sensory issues causing involuntary repetitive movements or behaviors that seem out of place in a social context. These movements thus become the “signal” or “command” taught to the dog. The dog is then trained to disrupt the behavior by nuzzling the child or putting a paw on the child.
FASD Service Dogs provide support in a variety of environments, which result in improved communication and social skills. The training for a service dog usually is around $22,000. But with this organization the family volunteers to raise $13,000.
You can help CJ get his FASD service dog by making a tax-deductable donation to 4 Paws for Ability in honor of CJ Neuman. This can be done by check, through mail, or through the 4 Paws for Ability websitehttp://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donation.
4 Paws For Ability, Inc.
In honor of CJ Neuman
253 Dayton Avenue
Xenia, OH 45385
Hearing Service Dog Will Help Keep Nikki Hardin Safe
By Nikki’s father, Dallas Hardin
Nikki also loves animals of all kinds, and has an older brother Tyler, age 11. She has also been attending public school from the age of 3. One of the biggest challenges we face is in the area of education, and safety is also high on our list.
To understand why a Hearing Service Dog would be so valuable, you need to understand that I’m legally blind and suffered a stroke about a year ago. As a dad, I am her protector, and it’s a challenge to keep her safe.
We heard about 4 Paws For Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their Hearing Service Dogs. Dottie and I are volunteering to help raise $13,000 for training a dog for Nikki from 4 Paws.
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 Nikki. We can reach our $13,000 goal with your help. They pay for the rest of the costs.
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 Nikki’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Nikki Hardin
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385
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
Malachai needs calming, loving Search/Rescue service dog
By Leanna Hatfield, Malachai’s Mother
Malachai was born June 15th, 2001. He was always a very joyful, happy and easy-going baby. He hardly cried. He was my perfect little shopping buddy. Malachai, before age one, met only a few of his milestones. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at age one. Later, at age two-and-a-half, he was diagnosed with Autism and seizure disorder.
Malachai is significantly delayed in all areas to include communication (non-verbal), adaptive behaviors, cognitive skills, social relationships, and self management skills. Malachai also has sensory issues. He is very oral and likes to chew (preferably his shirts). He is always trying to rip his shirts, pants, and socks, but mostly his shirts. He also likes to pull hair and grab at others, not realizing he is hurting someone.
Malachai can have extreme meltdowns when he’s upset. He is not able to calm himself. I feel that when Malachai becomes agitated, a service dog could help Malachai through these difficult and challenging events he experiences through his everyday living.
He attends school every day. He is in a self-contained severe Autism classroom. He loves going out into the community on their weekly outings, mainly because he enjoys riding the bus so much.
He also enjoy going to adaptive P.E. and music during his school day. He receives Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy while at school. He also receives Occupational Therapy from a private therapist. Malachai’s most liked activity would be the touch screen computer. He gets very upset when it is time to step away from the computer. Malachai is so loved at school by his teachers and peers. He has such an unforgettable personality.
Malachai enjoys playing outside, swimming, and swinging. He also plays on a special needs baseball team. He expresses enthusiasm when he gets out on the field with the other players, running around the bases and chasing the ball. I assist Malachai when it is his turn to bat and run the bases. He laughs when he hits the ball and runs around to home plate. It is very heart wrenching seeing him and his peers enjoying the game.
Malachai is a very happy boy, but he requires total assist and one-on-one supervision throughout his daily activities. He requires total assist for feeding, bathing, and toileting. While in public he requires complete one-on-one assist because he has no fear of his environment. If you let his hand go, he would just keep going, not understanding any dangers that may be in his path.
Malachai is non-verbal and uses some picture symbols and voice output systems to communicate, but requires hand-over-hand assist. He cannot be left unsupervised for any reason. Malachai is not able to engage himself in any play activities on his own. He does not understand how to manipulate toys on his own, nor does he understand how to join in activities with his peers. Any activity he participates in is done with hand-over-hand assist.
Having an Autism Service Dog would be such a blessing for Malachai and our family. I feel that this would be such a great opportunity for him. I think a service dog would help Malachai reduce negative behaviors and tantrum outbursts, decrease sensory issues, promote safety and calm him throughout his day. I know it won’t magically make him better, but I feel that giving Malachai this chance will help him cope with his environment.
It would be a great calming mechanism for Malachai. While taking Malachai in public places, a dog could help keep Malachai safe. A service dog would be Malachai’s playmate. I really feel that Malachai is in great need of a service dog and he really deserves this service dog to be part of his puzzled life.
A nonprofit agency, 4 Paws for Ability partners 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 Malachai. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help.
We would appreciate your making a tax-deductible donation to:
4 Paws for Ability
253 Dayton Ave
Xenia, Ohio 45385
Checks should be made out to 4 Paws for Ability with Malachai Hatfield written on the memo line. You may also make an online donation at http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donation.
Nine-year-old with Asperger’s & social anxiety needs service dog
By Melinda Khan
We discovered things were different with our daughter, Sarah extremely early. As an infant her motor skills were behind, and yet at six months of age she started to talk. Her first words were “I’m cold,” and I couldn’t find where the sound was coming from. Sarah said it again, “I’m cold,” and I looked into her stroller in disbelief. I took her upstairs where I immediately called my mother and told her that Sarah was talking. When I took her to the pediatrician, Sarah identified different pictures of things and the doctor was shocked at what she was able to do at that age.
When Sarah Ellen Khan was about three, I noticed she had an attachment to maps and jumping up and down and bouncing and sitting up. My older sister had Asperger’s syndrome, and I started to see some similar behaviors and yet some were uniquely Sarah. The lack of eye contact was familiar as was the repeating of sentences and the interest in singular subjects to the exclusion of others. I finally put aside my fear and took her to a psychologist and a neurologist.
The journey began on a small scale, and then I discovered a foundation that guided me in the direction of more detailed, specific treatment. And more specialists. Finally specialists were in agreement of her diagnosis and treatment. Sarah has Asperger’s and social anxiety. Yet unlike some people with the same diagnosis, Sarah does have empathy.
She likes Science, Spelling and Math. Ballet is her favorite active thing to do and she performs in public well. But the difficulty comes when she is asked to speak. She tends to look down and avoids eye contact with much of the public. Sarah goes to a social skill group to learn how to interact, make friends: all the things that come natural to most people but not to Sarah.
Sarah can be selectively mute in terms regarding who she will talk with and who she won’t. Also she cannot answer questions right away unless she is positive about the answer. Open ended questions are extremely difficult for Sarah to answer. Sometimes there is not a logic to the way she answers. Sometimes she will answer the harder questions and the easy ones she will not answer at all.
While Sarah is great in Spelling and Science, we don’t know for sure about the others, because she is not a fully expressed individual. Sarah gets bored easily and always wants to do something different after a short while. One subject she doesn’t get bored with is dogs. She has a book of many of the breeds and she has it pretty much memorized the book. You could fall asleep before she has finished talking about dogs and puppies. Her goal now is to become a Veterinarian.
One of her many challenges is lack of organization. Things get messy quickly because she turns to other things before she finishes what she’s doing. Social anxiety is an extreme fear of other people.She sometimes has a physical response where she freezes completely. She has two main friends in school and rarely has play dates.
Sarah sometimes has difficulty playing with children she is unfamiliar with and sometimes the parents do discriminate because of her extreme shyness. They start noticing that she is different. The two best friends in school remain school buddies but don’t have play dates. In the long run, she does get discouraged and sad. Yet Sarah is a happy girl for the most part and very affectionate with her collection of furry dog dolls.
Her elementary school gives her OT and PT. Sarah get speech therapy to open her up more. And she has private counseling in school when needed. I have been told she does cry in class and she says it is because she misses her mom, which may be true. But it is also so hard for Sarah to express herself that she may not be getting what she needs emotionally at school from the kids because she cannot communicate well.
In general, Sarah is a happy child when she is comfortable. She likes structure and rules, and boundaries. She also enjoys a system of reward for doing things well and she needs praise consistently. Which is not hard to do because she tries so hard. If she doesn’t get something right, she keeps on working. I am enormously proud of her courage, her sensitivity, and her insight will knock you off your feet at times.
Because Sarah has little eye contact, she cannot recognize many human emotions on people’s faces. She just knows happy and sad. She tends also to be naive and innocent and will not recognize if someone is making fun of her right away.
This is the time to mention the problems with bully behavior from Sarah’s peers. She also has been pushed to the ground. She’s about 49 inches tall and weighs 50 lbs. Her weight has always been on the low end, in part because she gets bored with food and yet is very particular. Lately she has shown more interest but still is a little underweight.
Sarah has difficulty speaking. She cannot say hello, goodbye or thank you with any regularity. Sometimes in transition, she can get active with a child after about 10 minutes or so when she gets used to the situation. Hopefully, she’ll connect with the person or she will parallel play and not really be involved with a particular peer.
Sarah loves dogs. She also loves dresses and girly things like nail polish and makeup. Barbie dolls and dress up. Sarah can spell much higher than her grade level and recognizes that is something she is good at and likes this. Her personality is bubbly, cheerful, always positive and she never really dwells on what is going wrong.
She cannot clean her room but she can clean the family room in a quick amount of time. Folding clothes is a challenge, and organization in general. Like putting clothes away. Sometimes she has a hard time going to sleep on her own. She loves my stories that I make up on the spot and this works very well.
Sometimes it is hard for me to recognize all her challenges because I am so close to her and she is so lovable to me. A doctor and a nurse recently described Sarah as “delicious.” She has so much charisma. Sarah had a sense of humor even as a three-month-oldâ€¦how she wiggled so I could get her diapers on while constantly laughing with her gums showing. Sarah said to me some months ago, “Mom you are so creative and you do so much for me. I don’t see you do these things for yourself. What about your writing, Mom?”
We heard about 4 Paws For Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their Service Dogs. We think obtaining a dog for Sarah would be beneficial to Sarah and to us. 4 Paws partners 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 Sarah. 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 Sarah’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Sarah Kahn
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385
High-risk Chad needs a calming autism service dog
By Chad Burke’s grandmother, Evelyn
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.
Let’s help Geneva get a multi-purpose service dog
She was diagnosed at age four with ADHD and mood disorder. More recently, she was diagnosed with anxiety and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). She also has sensory issues. And meltdowns interfere with daily life.
She is a very friendly and active girl. Loves the outdoors, camping, riding her bike, and swimming. But socially she is behind her peers. Sometimes daily life is a struggle for her. Meltdowns interfere with daily activities.
We will be receiving a multipurpose service dog for Geneva to help redirect her and help with the meltdowns. We hope that this will also help her socially.
I am volunteering my efforts for 4 Paws for Ability to raise money, so other disabled children can benefit from 4 Paws. Donations are to be made directly to4 Paws for Ability, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385 in honor of Geneva Powell.
Laurina Short (Powell) Mother of Geneva
Help Angel Solis cope
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
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:
- A carnitine deficiency (a neuro-muscular disorder)
- Failure to thrive
- 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