Greetings, from the Wilch family! We are a military family stationed in San Antonio, Texas. Our 5 year old son, Vincent, has special needs and our infant daughter is medically fragile.
Vincent has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS, an uncommon speech motor disorder), and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE, an chronic autoimmune esophageal disorder). He also suffers from muscle deficits from his ankles to his hips, caused by toe-walking, and requires Ankle-Foot Orthotics (AFOs), which are plastic leg braces that help him develop his leg muscles.
Despite being 5 years old, Vincent has severe delays estimating him around 2-2.5 years old in physical, occupational, and speech abilities, according to his most recent evaluations. Our average week includes 32 hours of ABA therapy (Applied Behavioral Analysis), 1 hour of Speech Therapy (ST), 1 hour of Physical Therapy (PT), 1 hour of Occupational Therapy (OT), as well as 3 days a week in a special education classroom where he also receives speech services. During ABA and general home time we also work on dedicated OT, PT, and Speech home exercises prescribed by his therapists. Due to his Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and general health condition, we have frequent doctor appointments and several sedated procedures each year.
Vincent is a very energetic child and a caring big brother to his baby sister. He’s constantly moving and engaging in physical activity, but also loves to sit down and read books or solve puzzles. The military family life is very difficult for Vincent, constantly interrupting his routine and bringing about big changes. In the past 4 years, we have lived in three states and six houses, and you can imagine that the frequent changes in environment and constantly switching schools is difficult for any child, let alone one with sensory disorders or Autism. When these situations occur they escalate existing behaviors, such as aggression, self-injury, and elopement (escaping a safe environment). Despite excessive locks and supervision he has still managed to escape and wander away from home, school, and therapy.
Vincent’s Autism Service Dog will be trained in the following:
-Behavior Disruption: When Vincent is engaged in repetitive or self-injurious behavior his service dog will be trained to disrupt the behaviors by laying across his lap, nuzzling him, pawing or touching him, and by using deep pressure therapy to calm and redirect him.
-Tethering: Vincent will be tethered to his service dog, allowing him the ability to move with freedom without the risk of eloping, or running away.
-Tracking: Should Vincent elope from a safe environment his service dog will be trained to track him, saving precious time during a critical situation.
-Balance: The service dog will be trained in the use of a balance harness, a device on their back for Vincent to hold on to when he is unstable.
A service dog would open a world of possibilities and freedoms for Vincent, such as being able to walk on his own for the first time. We are truly excited for this new chapter in his life, but we can’t do it without your help. It costs a minimum of $40,000 dollars for 4 Paws for Ability to train a service dog, and we are committed to raise $17,000 towards Vincent’s new companion. Please consider donating or sharing our cause. We are thankful for the support and eagerly look forward to meeting our new furry friend!
Donations can be given online at Razoo (https://www.razoo.com/story/4
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Vincent Wilch
253 Dayton Ave
Xenia, OH 45385