This person wants to share their story. This item was emailed to this blog.--AR
I am writing regarding the article that you are doing on Autism.
We live in north cenral Kansas and are raising our 5 year old granddaughter, but we are Mommy and Daddy.
Destiny was diagnosed offically in April 2006 with severe autism. We have had her in the public school system even before the diagnonis. After we went to Childrens Mercy they said that the more school she had the more she would learn, so she went to both the morning and the afternoon classes at the at risk school program.
In June of this year we got Destiny a service dog. He has been totally amazing. We have been able to do some search and rescue work with him on finding Destiny when she wonders off and he has shown us that when it gets right down to it, he found her.
She takes him almost everywhere with her and he is a comfort to her. She hugs on him and is getting 100 percent better about taking her melt downs out on something besides her dog.
There are so many people out there who have no idea that a service dog can be such a blessing for these children. I would really think it would be great if you could mention that these animals are available. We got our dog, who is a big beautiful golden retreiver in June of 2007. He goes to school with Destiny and he is picking up on her melt downs sometimes even before the teacher and he gets up and goes to her.
We acquired him from Cares, Inc in Concordia, Kansas. They are a non-profit organization and the fee for the dogs is $525. Of course you have to come to Concordia to school for 1 to 2 weeks, depending on your diagnosis.
Prior to finding Cares, Inc. in our own backyard, I had been researching dogs on the internet and they were asking for thousands and thousands of dollars for them and then there was the trips to Ohio, California or other far away places.
Destiny is doing very well, we are getting by and we will do our best to make her world all it can be, but it is a joint venture. It takes more than us, it takes our family members, the teachers, the paras, the bus driver, the principal, the other children at school, and so many more people.
I have been known to chase people down at the store and give them a business type card that states something about Autism on it. I don't do this to embarrass them, but to educate them.
Good luck on your article !!
My best advice to you is to have a big box of kleenex handy. The stories that you will hear will break your heart. It seems so unfair for these children to be locked in a world that seems to have no real key.
Thank you for your time,