Hello! We would like to introduce you to our amazing 12-year-old son Elijah and share his story. Elijah was diagnosed with Autism. It has been a long, difficult journey reaching this final diagnosis, but we are now on an equally long journey assisting him to manage. We struggle battling the previous labels; “difficult.” “undisciplined” or just “a problem child.”
Elijah is an extremely bright child. He enjoys theater and music. These activities allow him to escape his reality and be something else. Elijah struggles with relating to others, especially in a competitive environment. He has problems expressing his emotions appropriately and understanding the emotions of others. He becomes extremely overwhelmed with loud noises, crowds and even small changes in routine. He often comprehends things differently and if this conflicts with directions he receives he becomes increasingly frustrated. In these situations, his anxiety levels will skyrocket. He tends to respond to these situations with extreme rocking and disruptive behavior. We call these his “melt downs.” When he reaches this point, Elijah has difficulty calming himself.
One of our greatest “ah ha” moments came from his school. They were fortunate enough to have a therapy dog (who unfortunately is now retired). Ella was brought in several times to Elijah during one of his moments. With deep pressure, laying her head in his lap and being a calming distraction, she was able to bring Elijah “out of his distress.” This was our realization that Elijah could greatly benefit from a service dog. After extensive research, we discovered 4 Paws for Ability. This is a very caring and full-service organization. They take full account of the individual’s special needs and fit the service dog’s training to meet these identified tasks.
We are so pleased that Elijah has been approved to receive a service dog, but this is just the first step. We have been asked and agreed to raise $20,000 to help cover some of the expense of raising and training the service dog. Training a service dog is expensive with the total cost can range from $40,000 -$60,000. We hope to achieve this goal through fund raising efforts. We would like to thank everyone in advance for any donation as any amount helps us reach our goal.
How can YOU help Elijah?
Donations in support of Elijah can be made online below or via check sent directly to 4 Paws for Ability. Please be sure to write Elijah’s (Kaufmann) name on the memo line. Mail checks to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Elijah Kaufmann
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.
Megan and Nic Kaufmann (Elijah’s Parents)