Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read our story.
Aiden is a fun-loving, funny, and energetic 6-year-old boy. Aiden began showing signs of sensory processing disorder when he was around 2-3 years old, his dad and I noticed that Aiden would become extremely distressed during bath time, trips to the park or aquarium, the museum, the beach and even going to the grocery store. Bath time is literally painful for Aiden because of the way his body interprets the feel of water and soap on his skin. Social interactions have also been a challenge for Aiden, from the time he was 2 years old, playdates with other children at our home were nearly impossible. As Aiden got a little older, we noticed that the tantrums and melt downs were getting more severe, he was not potty training, and his speech was not progressing
Fast forward to the summer of 2020, I enrolled Aiden into kindergarten, knowing that he would not be on the same level as his peers but still not knowing why. At home Aiden’s main sensory concerns were tactile (grooming, tolerating touch); auditory filtering and poor endurance. After I enrolled Aiden into school, his evaluations began. Aiden’s sensory challenges at school include, seeking movement (fidgety in seat and during carpet time) making noises to himself which can be distracting to others and himself. Additionally in the school setting and at home, Aiden has difficulty understanding directions, initiating work, and sustaining his attention to complete tasks independently. Aiden’s social emotional delays have impacted his ability to demonstrate independence, communicate clearly, express his thoughts and ideas, and prevents him from engaging in age-appropriate social interactions with his peers. After Aiden’s school evaluations we were sent to a child psychologist where he was diagnosed with Autism, which has opened the door for him to be eligible for services that help him. During the school day Aiden has an aid in the classroom to help him get through the day and complete tasks, there are some days he must be removed from the classroom to complete assignments. He also requires breaks throughout the day so he does not get overwhelmed.
At school, Aiden receives speech therapy, occupational therapy and academic support as well as one on one support for his social emotional delays. Aiden gets pulled out of class from support as well. At home, we are striving to get Aiden started with ABA based therapy, he has been on a waitlist, and we are still waiting on insurance to come through.
Aiden’s life with autism will always present challenges in every aspect. A service dog from 4 Paws for Ability would help bridge the gap that growing up and being a person with autism creates between him and the rest of society. Aiden’s dog will be trained to assist with whatever Aiden needs including aiding in meltdowns by serving as a calming and grounding point of contact, like an anchor. His dog will provide deep tactile pressure to calm his nervous system and sensory input from (gentle) fiddling with ears, fur and paws. Aiden’s dog will also help with night time anxiety that he experiences by laying on his bed at night and providing calming support. The dog will aid in redirecting Aiden’s attention and helping Aiden during transitions throughout the day. His service dog will also help with non- preferred activities such as using the bathroom, sitting for dinner, getting dressed, brushing teeth, going to bed and going to school. Normal everyday activities that are easy for us, are difficult for Aiden and the service dog would be trained to help at home and at school.
Being accepted for a Service Dog is just the first step. A portion of the cost for the dog is the responsibility of the family. Before we can be assigned a class, and ultimately matched up with Aiden’s new best friend, we must raise $17,000. This fee charged by 4 Paws for Ability covers a small portion of the actual cost, estimated between $40,000 – $60,000, to purchase, raise and train the Service Dog for Aiden.
Please consider donating to help make Aiden’s dream come true, he deserves this so much. All funds go directly to 4 Paws for Ability and donations can be made directly on their website. We would be grateful if you would share this request with friends and family.
Aiden has so much to offer the world. Please help us get the resources he needs and deserves.
All the love, Aiden’s family