Whether you know a lot about Ryland or are being introduced to him for the first time, we appreciate you taking time out of your busy lives to learn about him. So, a big THANK YOU from our family!
Let me introduce you to Ryland. He loves owls, minecraft and “playing” the electric guitar. Ryland looks very much like every other kid and people expect him to behave like one too but he is different.
Ryland was born premature, a twin, at 32 weeks weighing a whopping 2.7 lbs and spent 6 weeks in the NICU. As Ryland has grown we started to notice subtle differences between him and “typical” kids his age. He had difficulty carrying on age appropriate conversations, isolates himself and he fixated on owls and facts surrounding them. Ryland has super sensitive hearing, and doesn’t maintain eye contact.
Through out his life, Ryland has received multiple diagnosis. ADHD, anxiety, speech delay, fine and gross motor delay, low muscle tone and sensory processing disorder. Then in the fall of 2017, Ryland received the diagnosis of Autism.
Ryland has to deal daily with issues that cause him stress. Whether it’s the noise in a restroom, fire drills, fireworks, thunderstorms or the constant distractions that occur around him. Ryland desires to have friends, but he has difficulty understanding the social norms. Simple changes to his routine can cause him to become upset. When he is upset he will pull his hair, kick, hit and bite himself.
Our family and Ryland’s doctors believe that an autism service dog would greatly benefit Ryland. The service dog would offer him friendship, independence and security.
A service dog would provide a constant “friend” to Ryland. It would be trained to cope with his behaviors, offer him affection and touch stimulus to help calm him. The service dog would also help Ryland in establishing relationships with friends his own age.
A service dog would provide some independence and security for our son, it will be trained to have a tether between it and Ryland. This allows for our son to walk by himself outside, yet provides us with the ability to issue a stop command, should the need arise. The service dog would also be trained to track Ryland, should we become separated for any reason.
We have decided to partner up with 4 Paws for Ability.
4 Paws was the first agency in the United States to begin placing highly skilled Autism Assistance Dogs and the first agency known to place these assistance dogs with tracking skills.
You can learn about this wonderful group of people at: https://www.4pawsforability.org
It costs over $40,000 to specialty train a service dog for Ryland’s exact needs, and so our family is reaching out to ask our wonderful friends, families, and community to help us reach our goal of bringing his service dog home. Our family will cover a portion of this cost, $17,000, to secure a service dog for Ryland. We are excited for Ryland to be healthier, happier, more productive and independent with his Autism service dog.
You can make a donation in one of the following ways:
Checks by mail:
Please make checks out to 4 Paws for Ability and PLEASE MAKE SURE to put Ryland’s name on your check memo line – “In honor of Ryland Houk.”
If you wish to make a donation on-line the website, is www.4pawsforability.org/
You may also call to make a credit card donation over the phone at (937) 374-0385 – Monday thru Friday 9AM to 4PM EST.