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Evan and Leo's Story

Posted on: in [ Placed Dogs ]

Evan's Story

Evan's service dog, Leo, was officially placed with him in February 2019. Leo helps Evan on a daily basis. The two are truly best friends. Leave a comment congratulating them and check out their original story below!

 

Evan is 7 years old. We could tell something was not right with Evan from birth. We questioned a lot of his symptoms until he was almost 3 and finally someone was able to give us an idea of what was wrong with Evan. Evan was diagnosed with ASD when he was 3 years old. At that time, Evan was nonverbal. Evan spent years in therapy starting with 4 days a week at 3 different places. Evan is now in first grade, he is verbal and a very happy, fun-loving kid. He loves action heroes like Superman and Batman, and he loves his tablet, and he relies on it to help with some of his issues by keeping him calm and out of trouble. He loves to watch videos over and over again of playing with toys. With 3 older children, we are a very active family.

Evan has come a long way with lots of treatments from ABA therapy to play therapy, Speech therapy and occupational therapy. Evan currently is only in speech and OT. Evan loves kids but since he is not fully up to his peers in areas like speech and maturity, Evan struggles with kids. In times where he may think he is playing with them, they usually are scared of his behaviors and are trying to run away. We have encountered many situations this past year of Evan having trouble on the playground with other children. Both children and adults seem to misunderstand Evan. He gets overstimulated often while playing with peers and will do things like throw rocks, spit, hit or kick other children. Evan loves his peers, but we all have to be on high alert to watch for the signs that the play is getting too overstimulating for him to try and stop the negative behaviors before they begin.

Evan, like most children with autism, will try to elude when faced with something he does not understand or want to do. He does not have a sense of safety, nor does he care to listen to prompts on safety when he is in a state of being over stimulated.

Evan is sensory-driven and his sensory triggers often change. He likes deep pressure the most to calm him. Evan spends lots of time during the day in his ball pit at home, the boost up room at school, or getting squeezes from whomever will squeeze him. He likes his legs and feet squeezed the most. Evan has weighted blankets to also help with this need. Evan also has lots of oral stimming due to his sensory issues. As Evan gets more over stimulated, the oral stimming increases. We call him our human beat box. He also puts things in his mouth that he should not in order to help with his need to chew. Evan will sometimes lose his ability to communicate and starts pointing or using one-word sentences. Evan will also stop processing what is being said to him. He likes things a certain way and if that changes, sometimes it is okay and other times it is not. Evan has different anxieties which can shut down his processing and cause meltdowns.

Evan has come so far in his journey from being nonverbal and numerous meltdowns per day, to who he is today as a first grader who talks and reads. We feel Evan's next step in his journey would be a service dog. We are hoping the dog would be another tool for us to help guide Evan to make better choices and help others understand him more. We hope Evan will learn to use the dog to help with his many sensory issues and anxieties, that if left long enough would normally cause a meltdown. There are many more benefits to a service dog we have yet to discover.

As a family, we see the benefits a service dog will have for Evan and our entire family. We hope you see that too and choose to donate. Thank you for your support!

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