Ian is a charming 9-year-old boy who was born with multiple brain abnormalities. His diagnoses include encephalocele, complete agenesis of corpus callosum (C-ACC), Holoprosencephaly (HPE), Autism and AHDH. HPE is rare and often described to expecting parents as “not compatible with life.” Only 1% of babies born with HPE survive past one year of life. Ian has consistently shocked his team of doctors, therapists, teachers and parents with his growth and development.
Ian has exceeded his life expectancy by almost a decade! His life is challenging because he has significant struggles with short-term memory. His memory is very much like the memory of the character Dory from the movie, "Finding Dory." He also struggles with processing information and is still working on mastering his emotional outbursts, which can be socially awkward when you’re almost 10.
Ian will always need extra guidance and support to live a fully independent life. As he enters adolescence, we hope to teach him how to use his service dog as a tool for independence because we can’t always be around to do his “thinking” for him. A service dog will help Ian follow routines like showering, walking to school, and completing chores without having to rely on us for feedback and guidance. A service dog can also provide comfort for him before he loses control of his emotions. Ian will soon be entering his middle and high school years and will need help navigating overwhelming school hallways. A service dog can help deescalate his meltdowns before they get in the way of his successes. Ian’s service dog will also be a good ambassador for his classmates and the general public to learn about people with invisible disabilities. We are hopeful that Ian will live a much less stressful and more independent life with a service dog by his side.
When you see him from the outside, it’s easy to mistake Ian for a typical kid. He prefers it that way, actually. He enjoys listening to music, going to the zoo, playing with his younger sister and telling jokes to anyone who will listen. It’s bittersweet, though, because he is also described as “a once in a lifetime case” by multiple specialists. Every day, he strives to overcome many “invisible” struggles. We are excited to give Ian the tool of a service dog to be able to learn to rely on himself, just like all the other typical kids!
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 in honor Ian