Please help this winter
In 2012 Support Dogs appeared on Children in Need with a film about nine year old Adam and his new autism assistance dog Grant. It highlighted the huge difference that a support dog can make to a child with autism.
Four years on we have caught up with Adam’s mum, Diane to find out if these changes have been maintained and what has the longer term impact meant for the whole family:
When Adam was first diagnosed, the difficulties he faced included finding speech very difficult, he had very low self-esteem and unable to sleep in his own bed at night. He was unable to cope with going to the shops and also had no sense of danger so crossing the road for instance was very difficult.
Adam is now 13. He is so much happier now than he has ever been. His self-esteem is better than that of your average teenager I’m sure, his communication skills are much better than we ever could have dreamt they would be.
Our other two children are now registered as young carers and have both accessed support from Northamptonshire Young Carers. To us, these fantastic young people are caring and making sacrifices well beyond their year’s . They are children who grow up never saying “that’s not fair!” and the silence from that as a parent is deafening. Their lives aren’t fair, it’s not a level playing field, they have a loved one who has not been afforded the same flexibility of thought or communication skills as them, so they have to be incredibly selfless.
Before we had Grant they were not able to attend clubs, swimming lessons etc. because getting there and waiting with them was too stressful for Adam. Now they can do so, so much more. Adam is far more flexible and patient and we can access many more places. When we go out as a family everyone is less stressed and anxious and meltdowns are few and far between. When they do happen, people can see that Adam needs support, so we all feel calmer and can focus on helping Adam and getting back on track.
This year in particular, Grant’s role has really changed. After the 2012 Children In Need Film, Adam watched it over and it actually helped him to take on board why he had Grant. These past couple of years he has looked to Grant more and more as an emotional support at home as well as a physical support out and about.
He talks and reads to Grant all the time. They spend time relaxing and playing together and he asks for Grant all the time. At night the share a tent together and Adam now sleeps in his own room, in his own tent every night. He is very frightened of what he calls “the loud dark” but having Grant there is a huge comfort to him.
There is no doubt that having Grant has enabled Adam to move towards a brighter future. He is becoming more independent and can access many more places and activities. Grant is helping our whole family to live more happily and more independently, we owe him so much there are no words.
We face an overwhelming demand
Support Dogs receives a plea for help every 4 hours from families and individuals struggling to live with the affects of epilepsy, physical disability or, like Adam’s family, autism. We rely entirely 100% on voluntary donations. We need your support.
This winter please donate so we can transform the lives of more families
affected by epilepsy, autism and disability.
Please click here to donate by credit, debit card or via paypal and for details about donating by cheque.
You can also donate by text. Just text SDOG15 £10 to 70070
You can also click here to sponsor support dogs like Grant from just £4 a month