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This fundraiser ended on 07/10/11

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Help Mikey a imperfectly perfect 5 year old boy get an autism dog that will change his life with Autism.

Hello Everyone!
Welcome to Mikey’s give forward page. As many of you know Mikey is a 5 year old boy with autism who is imperfectly perfect! As his mother, I believe it is my responsibility is to find a way out of no way and provide my child every benefit and opportunity possible. An autism service dog has the potential to make an immeasurable difference in not only Mikey’s life but in his quality of life, his independence, his ability to make social relationship and his safety but also dramatically affect our family unit as a whole and our community’s perception and awareness of autism. To see specific benefits of an autism service dog for Mikey please see below
Unfortunately, it can take up to $22,000 to raise and train an autism service dog that possesses the skill and the temperament required for a successful match between dog and child. The parent contribution is what seems to be an overwhelming sum of $15,000, but I am determined to raise every penny to make this opportunity happen for Mikey prior to him beginning kindergarten, one donation at a time. I understand that times are hard and money is tight but anything you can donate will help and will be appreciated.
Already some people have asked “why not get a free dog?” or “aren’t free programs available?” My response is yes free programs are available, however the waiting list is years long, and we have been on some over those lists for years. I am determined to stop waiting and start doing. This will change Mikey’s life!!! If you have any further questions about autism dogs, autism in general, or Mikey’s specific case please feel free to contact me.
Thanks –
Cherina
For Mikey an Autism Service Dog Will:
• Search and Rescue/Tracking: Mikey, like almost all children with autism, has a strong tendency to wander away and use evasive escaping behavior. Despite safety measures of a security system and locks on the doors and windows of our home, Mikey has snuck out of our house. We’ve been fortunate to have always found him before he got far away. We need to keep a vigil eye on him at home. And, the risk of him getting lost when we are away from home (in a crowded shopping mall, at the park on a family vacation) is much greater, and seems inevitable without help. In the event that Mikey ever wanders away, a service dog with tracking skills will find Mikey within precious minutes and seconds when simply given the command to find his boy.
• Behavior disruption: Autistic children commonly engage in repetitive behavior, Mikey is no exception. Some of his tendencies include hand flapping, snapping, jumping, head rolling and spinning in circles. A service dog trained in behavior disruption will be trained to recognize Mikey’s particular behaviors as a signal to place his or her paw or nose on Mikey to stop the behavior. To the dog, when given an occasional treat, this is a game. It encourages Mikey to cease his repetitive behavior, and may even help him engage with the dog and more socially appropriate behavior. Additionally, this helps the parent/teacher to be more hands off with Mikey and use verbal commands more sparingly.
• Tethering: This skill will provide one of the greatest benefits for Mikey and us. Here, the service dog wears a special tethering leash. Mikey will be connected to the dog with one portion of the leash. We, the handlers, will control the dog with a second leash. With tethering we will find a new freedom out in the community. Currently, shopping, trips to amusement parks, public gatherings and other outings are things we try to avoid with Mikey as we constantly have to have our hand on him or be close enough to run after him when (not if) he tries to run away. Tethering will help us and offer Mikey more independence as our hands are off him. In the event Mikey impulsively runs towards a dangerous situation (like an oncoming car) or disobediently bolts, we as handlers command the dog to go into a down onto the ground which will hold Mikey from running adding multiple layers of protection. With time many children get so accustomed to tethering that they actually find it calming when out in public.
• Sensory interventions: Mikey’s autism makes him crave heavy sensory input this is a key factor in much of his maladaptive and self-injurious behavior. A service dog will help provide the deep pressure Mikey needs to calm him. The dog will be trained to sit on Mikey’s lap and to allow Mikey to lie against him. A potential outcome is that Mikey will decrease his less socially acceptable ways of seeking sensory input, such as stemming, jumping or running in public places.

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