Anna is one of the sweetest and kindest little girls you’ll ever meet. Around the time Anna was 12 months old, we noticed she stopped gaining words. Anna began to respond less and less to her own name. Around the age of 2, we started in speech therapy and occupational therapy. It was also at this time that her pediatrician began to mention the possibility that she may be on the autism spectrum. At the age of 3, we moved our family to the Columbus area to give Anna better access to services and specialists. Unfortunately, as Anna grew, her speech and language did not. She had fine motor delays, significant attention and focus difficulties, emerging sensory struggles ranging from noises, fabric, food, and extreme anxiety. Ultimately, Anna remained nonverbal until the age of 4. Although she still has a significant expressive and receptive speech delay, Anna has come a long way and is able to make her needs and wants known. Anna has always been a very social little girl. Girls on the spectrum often are late to be diagnosed for this very reason. It wasn’t until the age of 9 that she received her official autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Anna now has a diagnosis of autism, generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD, auditory processing disorder, and speech and language delay.
Anna continues to be the hardest worker we know, and although she has made so much progress over the years, she continues to struggle in just about all aspects of life. She participates in speech therapy twice weekly, OT, multisensory math instruction three times a week, social groups, and often numerous other doctors and specialist appointments. Anna’s sensory issues coupled with her extreme anxiety have been obstacles to her fully participating in life and developing and maturing like her peers. Even currently, Anna’s anxiety of being alone prevents her from sleeping without a parent.
A service dog for Anna means forming an unbreakable bond that will help her navigate a world that is often overwhelming for her. It means having the security to sleep alone, to venture into new places that may be too loud. It means having comfort while tackling new tasks such as tying shoe laces, brushing her hair, or even completing homework. Having a constant companion will help Anna feel more at ease when interacting socially with others. A service dog will help Anna build confidence, allowing her to understand just how amazing she 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 Anna S.