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Bennett DeLeo

    “Hi, this is Bennett! He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder one month before his 4th birthday.  His older sister, Evelyn, is also on the Autism spectrum. Given our family’s experience with ASD, we had started therapies early before Bennett’s first birthday when he wasn’t meeting his speech milestones and wasn’t crawling or walking “on time”.  After years of speech therapy, OT and PT, Bennett is minimally verbal, and has many sensory challenges. Despite these obstacles, Benny is a happy, fun-loving boy. He is very affectionate and communicative (though mostly without words). He loves to be independent and sometimes tries to go on new adventures alone without an adult. 

    With the urging of some ASD specialists we work with, we are pursuing a service dog for Bennett to help increase his independence, provide him some unconditional friendship, and relieve some stress from the constant state of high alert related to his potential elopement his family and caregivers are under. A service dog from 4 Paws for Ability costs between $40,000 and $60,000 to raise, train, and place with a family. We’re responsible for $23,000. After we raise funds, finding the perfect dog for Bennett will take 2 to 2.5 years.

    We were very reluctant to ask for help, but the financial strain of having a neurodiverse family can be taxing. We are so grateful for your support in raising money toward the fee for service required to secure a spot in the next placement class. 

    Thank you for your consideration and support. 

    In the spirit of acceptance and inclusion,

    Justin, Lindsay, Tommy, Evelyn and Bennett”

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