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May 2017 Entry

Autism Service Dog for kiddo from Foster Care

Paige Roberts
Chandler · Az
What is your cause and how will it make the world kinder?

Devin is adopted from the Foster Care system. He had a very rough start to life because he was born addicted to crack cocaine and fetal alcohol syndrome, he went through horrible withdrawls and was hospitalized for almost 6 months. He had a very challenging, but loving childhood. At age 10, Devin was diagnosed with Autism, in addition to his early diagnoses of ADHD, FAS, RAD, and mood disorder (biologically inherited). The last few years have been extremely difficult for Devin to maintain self control and regulate his emotions. Unfortunatley his behaviors need 24/7 supervision. We hope this specially trained service dog can show how animals can provide love and support to humans with medical and psychiatric needs. The power to heal!!!

How will you use the $10k?

1. Scent Tracking Devin’s dog will be taught to track him and locate him via scent. This is a similar task to “Search and Rescue”, only his dog will be taught to just locate him.2. Deep Pressure TherapyDevin’s dog will be taught to use their body weight, providing a similar benefit to a weighted vest or blanket, when Devin is overstimulated, uncomfortable, stressed, etc. The dog will be taught to perform deep pressure therapy whether Devin is laying down, standing, or sitting. 3. CuddlingDevin’s dog will be taught specifically to cuddle in bed to keep him relaxed through the night for better sleep. 4. Behavior InterruptionDevin’s dog will be taught to bump him with his nose when he starts to escalate, before he reaches a "10".

What impact do you hope to make?

Devin will benefit tremendously from a service dog. The dog will be matched for him and specially trained to help him cope. The dog will be able to perform Deep Pressure techniques, by using paws and their body much like an Occupational therapist would do. Devin is also a runner and bolts away when upset, which is very dangerous. His dog will be trained for scent tracking when he runs and hides and the dog will also wear a collar with a GPS tracker on it. It is proven these Autism service dogs are extremely effective for sensory kiddos. They help provide sense of belonging and pride, and decrease episodes tremendously. Having a service dog would be life changing for Devin! Devin can reach others by sharing his dog with the community

Other Details

The journey has kicked off already. We have started to try to raise funds with friends and family. Devin started meeting potential dogs that could meet his needs 2 weeks ago. We have found a match based on temperament and initial bond and connection. Devin will also be attending dog training sessions so he can learn commands, body position, gestures, and much more. In January the dog will be ready for more specialized training and tasks that are tapered to meet Devins needs. He is also beginning community access training that submerges the dog in real life settings and environments, such as school, stores, the car, recreation centers, and much more. The goal is to have Teddy completely ready for Devin in 4-6 months.

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