Kristi Palermo wrote -
Our family has teamed up with ASA Service Dogs, a nonprofit organization (501c3) located in Mooresville, NC to assist our son, JP. Our son has been diagnosed with being on the autism spectrum. Our family has committed to raising $12,200 to cover the cost of Toby (Autism Service Dog), training, vet bills, food and shelter.
ASA Service Dogs is an amazing organization. Amanda, Founder and Trainer has been working with canines going on ten years. Her love for giving back to the community, put her in the direction of taking her skills and love for animals to train dogs to help others others with Autism. "Dogs are amazing at what they can do to help individuals with Autism" - Amanda.
Autism Service Dogs have been extremely helpful in regulating a child’s sensory system, decreasing anxiety, keeping a child from running out into the street, building a child’s self-confidence, increasing his/her social skills, improving expressive and receptive language, increasing positive behaviors, decreasing meltdowns, track a child that has wandered off, remind a child to stop stimming and increase a child’s independence. These are just a few of the tasks that an Autism Service Dog can do to help improve the life of a child as well as the rest of the family.
Our son, JP was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was approximately four years old. There is still much work to be done, in order for JP to have the chance to reach his full potential and be a productive member of society.
JP's world can be filled with anxiety. The sights and sounds of things that are unknown put his body in a high state of alert, which can put him in a state of flight or shut down mode. It is difficult for our family to go to unfamiliar places and see unfamiliar faces. He will just sit in the car while the rest of the family (one person stays with him in the car) goes into the store or hangs outside of familiar place. He may also, just hang on our arm with his head down, so he doesn't have to see anything. JP tells me "It is scary" when he does this. If he hangs outside of a place, it is due to the sights and sounds of the building inside or he will refuse to participate and stand ready (instead of sit down) to go into flight mode if it neccessary for him to cope. An Autism Service Dog can help JP with his anxiety and keep him safe. Having Toby by our son’s side will increase his quality of life, not to mention our whole family.
It can also be difficult for him to deal with change in routine and with the people leading those activities, especially if he has to work with lots of different peolple. Think about it...everyone has their own style of teaching and tolerence levels. This can make learning outside the home very difficult for a child with autism to constantly have to adjust. It can increase the anxiety level.
Recently, we made the decision to homeschool because his anxiety had gotten the better of him, due to his frequent meltdowns. A dog like Toby, an Autism Service Dog, can help JP to regulate his sensory system, improve his social skills, build his self confidence and increase his independence. JP will be able to focus on his service friend in situations and less about the unknows of the environment.
Our son, JP is simply looking forward to having a friend, a friend that will be by his side, no matter what kind of day he is having- calm or in a flight of panic.
We are grateful for whatever contribution you can make. Believe us when we say, that no donation is too small and of course, too big. We truly appreciate your thoughtfulness. If you are not in a position to help financially, we would appreciate your time in passing this information along to friends and co-workers. Please spread the word!
Donations can be made through this website Crowdrise, as well as the ASA Service Dogs website. www.asaservicedogs.org.
ASA Service Dogs is a nonprofit organization, which means your donation is tax deductible. We ask that you make a note on your donation, The JP Fund if you donate through the ASA website. You can even contact Amanda, ASA Trainer and Founder, if you have any questions. She can be reached at email@example.com. Please donate today!! Your donation can make a difference in a child's life. Any money that is raised over our goal amount will be put into a general fund to help make a difference in another person's life by having an ASA Service Dog.