We reopened our waiting list for Assistance Dogs in 2021 and allocated the 30 available places in under TWO MINUTES. Unfortunately, for every family who were successful there were six families who were not so lucky. That's nearly 200 families waiting for an opportunity to have the life-changing experience that Dorota and her son Joseph have had since Autumn entered their world.
Meet Autumn & Joseph Ryan (9)
Joseph lives with Autumn, his AADI Autism Assistance Dog and his family in Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Autumn is to Joseph so much more than an assistance dog. She is his best friend and companion in good and bad times. She brings a smile to his face. Autumn has transformed Joseph’s life by keeping him safe when they are out and about. Autumn wears a jacket, and is attached to Joseph using a short lead and belt. Once Autumn has her jacket on she knows her job is to keep Joseph safe.
Dorota, Joseph’s Mom, says “We were on the waiting list for six years and life before Autumn joined our family was hard. Going for walks close to roads or main streets was pretty much close to impossible. Joseph is a flight risk, he has no awareness of danger. If he saw something that got his attention he would cover his ears and run away without looking around. Going shopping was very stressful for all of us. Joseph would have anxiety attacks if we changed the route around the supermarket. We always had to stick to the same aisles or else Joseph would get very upset, screaming and crying.”
Fast forward six months and Autumn has transformed the family’s life. Joseph is safe walking with Autumn. He doesn't even think of running away. He is relaxed and calm, enjoying strolls with his best friend. Joseph is proud of Autumn, his dog, his friend.
According to Dorota, “Going shopping is so much easier with Autumn, even waiting in the queue is not a problem for Joseph anymore. I think it's safe to say that we as a family have become more relaxed and calm since Autumn joined us. When we are in the shopping centre or supermarket children look at Joseph, but not because he is behaving differently or having a meltdown. No, they look at him because he is the lucky boy who can bring his dog shopping with him. That gives our little man a massive amount of confidence and boosts his self esteem. Being a mom to a little boy with autism, I cannot stress enough how important autism assistance dogs are to those little people. They are life changers. ”.
With your support AADI can help more families like Joseph and Autumn. Please donate and help train more SuPAWheros for 2022 and end the wait for more families.
SuPAWhero campaign home page https://www.autismassistancedogsireland.ie/event/be-a-su-paw-hero/home
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