Hi! We are the Kilby Family, and we would love to introduce the sweet little monkey we call our daughter, Amelia. Amelia, or Amy for short, is the sweetest four-year-old that we know! She is full of smiles when she’s in the right mood, loves the tickle monster, and adores anything made of yarn. Amy has also been diagnosed with autism, global development delay, pervasive sensory disorder, and speech delay.
For anyone not familiar with what autism, or ASD, is, it is a sensory processing disorder that presents a lot of challenges with social skills, repetitive behavior, speech and non-verbal communication. Autism comes in a wide variety of variations and levels, with 1 being the most “high functioning” and 3 being the most “low functioning”. Amy is considered a level 3 on the autism spectrum. Amelia’s language delay means that she is completely non-verbal; she doesn’t use sign language nor does she grunt or point to get what she wants or needs.
Recently, we submitted an application to 4 Paws For Ability after recommendations from Amelia’s occupational therapist, physical therapist, and her current team of doctors. 4 Paws specializes in training service dogs for children and adults with disabilities, including autism. Each dog is trained specifically to fit the needs of the child that they are matched with! What this means is that Amy’s dog will be trained to tether with her, preventing wandering; tracking just in case she does wander away, balance support, and assist in mood changes.
As you can probably imagine, this kind of dedicated training isn’t cheap. Insurance refuses to cover anything relating to the cost, so we’re collecting donations for this amazing tool to help Amy, and any little bit helps!
PS October 2020 Amelia was diagnosed with epilepsy and seizure alert has been added to the skills that a service dog can assist with.
Thank you and have a wonderful day!
— Sarah J. Kilby