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September 3, 2011
Photo by: Paws 4 Autism
Franklyn, a Labradoodle, will help educate community members about the positive impact an autism service dog can have on a child's life.
By Mary Pechar
Last year we introduced you to Adriana Wible, a little girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder. After extensive study, her parents Terri and Ken decided that the best support they could obtain for Adiís particular issues would be an autism service dog.
In June, we asked for your help to close the gap in the $16,000 needed to obtain and train the service dog with Adiís mom as the primary handler. They are almost there: only $1,000 more is needed to secure and bring Adiís dog home to her.
While Adi is very close to having her dog, she did miss the fall class of service dog placements. Adiís specific dog has been narrowed down to one of two who are currently completing their training. While the timing has not been confirmed, the expectation is for Adiís service dog to arrive near the beginning of the second semester. All dogs are placed during the school year to facilitate on site training, which includes teachers and necessary school personnel.
In the mean time, Paws 4 Autism has received an incredible offer. Franklyn, a Labradoodle, who had completed his autism service dog training, is prepared to be a wonderful service dog in every aspect but one. Once he takes his service vest off, he forgets he is still a service dog and reverts to his puppy nature, making him unsuitable for placement with an autistic child.
But because he is fully trained and ďon the jobĒ while in his vest, Franklyn is the perfect candidate to perform community outreach, educating the area regarding the benefits of an autism service dog, which most people in this area havenít seen before.
Franklyn isnít free Ė after all, heís gone through extensive training Ė but he comes with a significant discount, and the handler training costs will only need to be paid once.
As we told you last year, children with autism respond strongly to service dogs. Service dogs provide a physical and emotional anchor for children with autism. With their child tethered to a service dog, families feel they are newly freed to engage in activities as simple as shopping at the mall. On the streets, parents are relieved of the worry their child might run away. In many cases, the service dog accompanies the child to school, where its calming presence can minimize and often eliminate emotional outbursts, enabling the child to more fully participate. Transitioning among school day activities is eased and the service dog provides a focus through which the child can interact with other children. This helps increase the opportunity for the child to develop social and language skills. Not every child with autism will benefit from a service dog. Agencies screen and evaluate each situation carefully.
With the community outreach Terri Wible and Franklyn will be providing, families and educators will have the opportunity to decide if a Service Dog is the right support for their child.
Franklynís cost will be around $8,000 Ė approximately half the cost of Adiís dog. So please keep the donations coming, for this beneficial cause.
For more information on Adriana, autism service dogs and how you can add your support, visit the website at www.paws4adriana.org. Donations to Paws 4 Adriana, a 501c3 nonprofit, are tax deductable and can be made online.
The Tribune will be continuing Adiís story for you as we introduce her Service Dog once it arrives and highlight the training making a difference in the Wibleís lives.
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