At seven years old, Alex has only known what it is to fight. Nothing has ever come easy for him, including his first breath. In the first years of his life, he was hospitalized numerous times at University Hospitals' Rainbows Babies and Children’s Hospital due to complications from prematurity and aspiration syndrome, which caused additional pulmonary issues. His lungs were unable to handle even a simple cold. It was not long before evaluations determined Alex was not meeting his developmental milestones, and he began to receive intervention. Since he was just shy of two years old, he has worked with numerous professionals who strive to give him his best chance.
To date, Alex has worked with multiple practitioners of occupational therapy and speech therapy, as well as Intervention Specialists. He has also worked with a physical, aquatic, and music therapist, in addition to an in-home ABA team, and physicians from multiple disciplines of medicine. He works so hard every day to overcome obstacles that prevent him from accessing what many of us take for granted. Despite being told by more than one G.I. doctor that he would likely require a feeding tube, Alex has recently graduated from the Cleveland Clinic Feeding Disorders Program. Through this program, he was undergoing treatment for A.R.F.I.D, an eating disorder that was putting his health at risk. He is also currently celebrating mastering the TV remote and is quite savvy with technology.
Alex loves to learn and is incredible with figuring out how things work. He especially loves logic puzzles that require a significant understanding of spatial concepts, and creative outlets like music. He does have some verbal language, but often struggles to communicate and so he has an iPad with a special program to assist him. He is currently in first grade, learning to read, and really enjoys art class.
Because of his difficulties with communication, he struggles to socialize with peers. Interacting with others can be quite upsetting, as the other children don’t understand why he may tug or pull on them. Alex also processes sensory information differently than other children; hearing everything all at once can leave him quite overwhelmed in public places. Sometimes being overwhelmed like this can cause him to randomly bolt away from his family –completely unaware of danger. He also struggles with sleeping at night and has occasional night terrors that can leave him distraught, so he rarely sleeps alone.
After interacting with a service dog in training, as well as emotional support animals at our local library, it has become obvious how much a service dog could benefit Alex. In public it would allow him to access the community in a much more appropriate fashion, instead of having to be carried or holding Mom’s hand constantly. At home, a service dog would provide the companionship that Alex is so deserving of, beyond his parents and sister. We also hope that having a service dog will provide him with a sense of security at night, to help lessen his anxiety and fear of sleeping alone. Most of all, we hope for him to have a friend who accepts him exactly for who he is.
You can also mail a check or money order to:
W.A.G.S. 4 Kids
112 East Center Street
Berea, OH 44017
Please make a memo that your donation is for Alex