November 17, 2014, Ryece Johnson Barnett arrived as our families final and perfect puzzle piece. He is a 3-year-old little boy who thrives on adrenaline, milk, and nonstop action. He loves being outside, going fast, and doing anything water! Outside he seems flawless. Inside he deals with much more than most. Ryece is autistic. At 2 years old, we noticed he was having challenges and started the journey to find help for our boy. He carries daily a diagnosis of Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Global Developmental delay, and being nonverbal. Noises, smells, sleep, daily routines, social encounters, food, textures, and new routines or situations are challenging for our little man. So many things that we take for granted can be overwhelming, cause anxiety, and lead to total meltdowns for Ryece Johnson. Life routines such as going to church, school, the grocery store, a restaurant with the family, attending a soccer game or horse competition of his sisters are a great challenge and most of the time impossible.
Recently Ryece has been approved for an Autism Service Dog through 4 Paws for Ability. An Autism Service Dog will open new doors and life experiences for Ryece. Ryece’s dog will be specifically matched and trained to Ryece’s special needs. The dog will know how to help Ryece deal with sensory needs (redirect self-harm and stemming), behavioral disruptions, tethering, and tracking (elopement). It is very common for autistic children to run off (elope). Ryece has almost caused us to have a heart attack several times. Once, Ryece eloped at his sister’s soccer game. With being nonverbal, it was very scary for us as many searched for him, he was unable to answer to his name being called and not able to confirm who he was when found. He has no awareness of safety, nor can he tell someone who he is or who his parents are. Most of all, he has no clue he is lost. Ryece is super smart and constantly outsmarts the safety measures we put in place. We are in a constant state of alert for his protection.
Our family believes that each person God creates is special, has worth, and talent. We know our little dude is a gift who will do great things in life. His service animal will play a major part in his life. If you feel led, please help us on our road of financial fundraising. We are so thankful for this opportunity that will be a game changer for our boy.
4 Paws is a non-profit organization (501 3c). 4 Paws for Ability service dogs are trained from birth for a specific person. The cost to train and place these dogs with a disabled child is at least $40,000. Families approved for matching must raise their portion. Our required portion of Ryece’s life companion is $17,000. They say, “dogs are a man’s best friend”, and we believe that Ryece will not only have a best friend, but a partner to help him fit and take on everyday life challenges, all while giving him the independence he desires and deserves as he grows.
We are planning fundraisers with hopes of raising our $17,000 soon. The wait time is 2 to 2.5 years due to the nature of the extensive training and the number of kids who need these service dogs. The 2-year wait starts counting down once we have made payment. Our prayer is that Ryece will have his new friend by age 5, if not sooner. So, the faster we meet our goal, the sooner Ryece meets his partner in crime!
If you would like to come beside us in our efforts to raise the money needed, you can donate 3 different ways.
By mail – checks made out to 4 Paws for Ability with Ryece Barnett on the memo line
4 Paws for Ability
207 Dayton Ave.
Xenia OH 45385
include Ryece Barnett in the: “instructions to merchant” through PayPal.
credit card donations can be made at (937) 374-0385 Mon-Fri 9am-4pm EST
Your donations are appreciated and needed. Believing this is the path God is showing us to follow, we covet your prayers. Thank you for coming along our journey.
Jonathan, Jennifer, and Ryece Barnett