This is Damion. He is a smart, funny, wonderfully happy 8-year-old boy on the autism spectrum. He is the oldest of 3, having one younger sister and another younger brother with a milder form of autism.
Damion hit all of his milestones until about 15 months old when he began a large regression in his development. Repetitive behaviors and sensory sensitives became evident soon after as well. We reached out to Help Me Grow, and with their assistance, we worked with our local children’s hospital to have him evaluated. Damion was diagnosed with moderate autism and a speech and language disorder by age 2. By the time Damion was three, he had regressed to the point where he was essentially nonverbal, making only a few sounds as communication.
Since his diagnosis, we have continued to seek out all avenues of help to ensure that Damion thrives. Damion has received speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Play Project, Feeding therapy, and Neurofeedback. We are lucky to live in the district of a great public school which Damion has been attending since preschool at the age of three. He has a fantastic paraprofessional that helps him throughout his school day.
Just like the rest of his family Damion loves being on the go, but sometimes crowds can be a bit overwhelming to him, and he has a tendency for elopement. He enjoys playing outdoors, especially if swimming is involved, and loves having a brother and sister around to play with. Damion thrives off of routine. We create picture schedules to help him prepare for the day ahead. Life does not always cooperate with this plan, and unexpected changes can have a large, negative impact on Damion’s day.
Damion has made huge strides since his diagnosis, but we are not ready to stop there. We have never had a dog at home, but Damion has shown quite an interest in dogs that have been in the classroom. We think that having not just a pet, but a trained service dog could be a huge help in Damion learning some independence. Having this dog could give him some comfort and be a constant to him on hard days or when things don’t go as planned. Since a service dog is trained for public settings, we are also hopeful that having the dog when we are out and about will help Damion remember to not veer off and work to stop his issues with elopement.
I think a service dog would be such a help to Damion and our family. Any donations to help with the funds to get Damion his new furry friend are so greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to learn about our wonderful little boy.
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 Damion