Hi, my name is Aaron. I’m 9 years old. I have a brain-based disability. My anxiety and mental fatigue make it difficult for me to make it through the day. I like to be helpful and love animals. I’m raising funds to get a Service Dog who will be specially trained for me.
Many people do not recognize my “invisible” disability – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). People with a FASD, like me, were exposed to alcohol in the womb before they were even born. This can cause injuries to their brains. For example, I am often forgetful; I take longer to process information; I have difficulty filtering out lights, sounds and smells around me; I act impulsively and without thinking about what happens next; and I have a hard time keeping my body and brain calm.
For me, this means I get tired and overwhelmed quickly, become anxious when I do not understand what will happen next, angry when things change without warning, and I struggle to make and maintain friends. I often experience emotionally hard days where I am unable to participate in classroom or other school activities.
Although I have a disability, I have many strengths. I love animals, especially dogs and horses. My favorite things to do are play video games, build with LEGOs, read comics and graphic novels, draw and skateboard. I love to be a leader and like to be helpful. I also really enjoy community service projects.
A service dog will help me:
- Keep calm by offering me support and comfort and giving me something I can hug,
- Stop picking my skin, pulling my hair, and chewing on things when I am nervous or anxious by licking me or encouraging me to pet their fluffy fur,
- Make friends as a lot of kids love dogs and dogs love me, and
- Feel understood and make me feel like I can do things without having a breakdown.
Having a service dog will also allow me to help people become aware of invisible disabilities. I want other kids to be recognized and not be so sad and upset. I want to raise awareness of FASD and other invisible disabilities. With my service dog by my side, I can do that.
You might ask “Why am I raising money?” Well, it costs a lot of money for a service dog. Way more than my allowance. So, I need your help to raise enough money.
Your donation will help me be happy and feel successful. It will help me raise more money for my service dog. Thank you, it will be a big help!
Now a note from my Mom!
We adopted Aaron in 2015 and, shortly thereafter, his biological sister. Both kids have been diagnosed with FASD. A service dog for Aaron will have such a positive impact to his sensory processing ability, coping and social skills. We strongly believe having a service dog by his side will help him fulfill his potential to be a strong, resourceful, capable, creative and hardworking person.
We have been on a long road of accessing supports for Aaron and his sister that began with early intervention and continued with individual therapy, occupational therapy, academic supports, and assessments for FASD and challenging social-emotional needs. Through his therapeutic horseback riding and interactions with therapy dogs and family pets, we have seen the tremendous benefits connections to animals provides to Aaron. We have found animal-assisted therapies to be one of the most effective ways to provide Aaron with immediate sensory feedback, and an emotional connection he can easily sustain. A service dog for Aaron would provide him the calming influence and support he needs to be successful by boosting his confidence, providing him rewarding opportunities for positive social engagements and helping him pursue his interests and abilities with less anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed by the world around him.
We are grateful for 4 Paws for Ability as they specialize in training Service Dogs for kids with FASD. On average it costs $40,000-$60,000 to raise, train and place a service dog. We have pledged to help raise $20,000 of that amount. We appreciate your support for helping us cover the costs of acquiring this highly skilled and trained service dog for Aaron. Thank you!