Oliver Connelly will celebrate his 5th birthday on October 27. At the age of 2 he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a Sensory Processing Disorder, and Hyperlexia.
Oliver has spent the last 3 years of his life in therapy and in and out of doctor offices because of his GI issues.
Oliver's autism and GI issues affect him in multiple ways such as his speech, diet, schedule, learning ability, sleep, and just everyday life. As we face all these new challenges with Oliver, we started looking into programs that could help him along his journey, and were led to 4 Paws For Ability.
We believe a service dog would be very beneficial in helping Oliver in many aspects of his life. Oliver has a tendency to wander away, a behavior common with Autism. These dogs are trained in tracking and tethering, keeping Oliver safe. Another benefit of a service dog, specifically for Oliver, would be their help in calming and preventing meltdowns as well as assisting in ceasing repetitive behaviors. Oliver is known to self-harm when he is having a meltdown, and these dogs learn how to redirect these behaviors.
There are many other possible benefits that can be derived from having an Autism Assistance Dog including friendship, improving Oliver's sleep, and becoming a social bridge leading to an incentive to communicate, therefore improving his delay in speech and communication. A service dog can also teach responsibility as well as assisting with transitions.
We have reached the 3rd stage along our journey: Fundraising for the service fee. It cost 4 Paws for Ability around $40,000-$60,000 to raise and properly train a service dog for each person. Their funding model is partial payment for services, meaning we are responsible for a service fee of $17,000.
We feel that an autism assistance dog would help Oliver tremendously in navigating his day to day life and are asking for your partnership in effort to raise the money needed for our son to become one of the many children benefiting from a service animal.
To donate directly visit https://www.facebook.com/donate/302583711181393/?fundraiser_source=external_url