Adriana's Dream was to have a dog that will help her "be normal". As a high functioning child on the Autism Spectrum she knows that "something" is wrong. She often says that her brain is "scrambled". This is her way of letting us know that it is going to be a day full of challenges...for ALL of us!
Our dream was to keep Adriana safe. Adriana has very little sense of danger. She is what they call a runner or eloper-- but not in the traditional escape & hide sense that is typical with Spectrum kids. Adriana had no sense of danger and would run out into the middle of the street or a busy parking lot to save a roly-poly or worm from getting run over by a car. She would wander off through a store because a fly is buzzing her and is going to "GET HER".
Our dream continues to be to help her learn how to relate to others and have better relations with her peers. Like Adriana, many children with Autism simply do not have the ability to understand social clues or how to relate with other people. She has no friends. She has never been invited to a birthday party for anyone other than family.
Our dream was to blow the top off of our fund raising goals for Adriana so that we can help others. WE SUCCEEDED!!!
That's right. We started the Paws For Autism Charity to help other families who have children with Autism benefit from having a service dog. We have a special place in our hearts for adopted children with autism. Families who have adopted are usually still recovering from the expenses related with the adoption when they get hit with the diagnosis of Autism. Our dream is to be a resource for those families as well.
Adriana has now had an autism service dog for almost a year, and the improvements we have see are AMAZING!!! She has decreased her meltdowns from 3-4 a day to 3-4 a MONTH. Adriana has had only ONE very minor meltdown at school during the first two months of the 2012-2013 school year. She knows when she gets anxious or overwhelmed that Franklyn is there to help. Franklyn now recognizes when she is getting overstimulated and he focuses in on her and disrupts the meltdown before it ever really starts. Our family has begun to truly enjoy public outings. Adriana has become a rockstar trainer and many times will now talk to people when they ask her about her working dog.
As the charity grows, so do our dreams. As of the Fall of 2012, we are still focusing most of our efforts on Community Education and Outreach. Adi has the first autism service dog we are aware of in the Kansas City region. Most in the area are unaware that service dogs can even help autism until the meet Adi & Franklyn! We are gearing up to expand our social skills program (CASSIE - Canine Assisted Social Skills In Education) beyond it's test group.
Paws For Autism will hold its First Annual PAWS ON TRACK FOR AUTISM walk event on April 27, 2013. We are still smoothing out the kinks, so details and sponsor/vendor opportunities will be posted soon. If you are interested in participating, please e-mail Charlie. He is our Event Chair and Director of Development.
Be sure to like us on Facebook to keep up to date on happenings in the autism service dog world!