Leo is an active, happy nine-year-old who loves swimming, music and animals.
As an infant, he was very quiet and still. At 10 months old, Leo was still not crawling or babbling and refused to take foods other than milk, so we consulted with his doctor and the County Board of Developmental Disabilities for extra help. With a steady routine of occupational, speech and physical therapy, and special education at school, Leo has been progressing at his own pace ever since.
In 2020, we learned that Leo has GRIN2B-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder, a very rare, genetic condition characterized by low muscle tone, impaired speech, and cognitive functioning as well as feeding problems. Leo started walking at 2 ½ years old. His speech is still just emerging. While he uses some words and phrases, he also has a speech device.
Leo enjoys many things, like swimming, watching videos of animals, and listening to music. One of his favorite songs is Queen’s “We Will Rock You!” He also enjoys slapstick humor and always gets the giggles over a good sound effect. When someone sneezes or coughs, he immediately says, “Bless you!”
Along with the many joys Leo experiences, he still has many challenges. Relaxing at home can be difficult and options for going on family outings are limited, given Leo’s attention deficit and sensory seeking needs, (i.e., he won’t stay seated for long). Consequently, “typical” experiences such as eating at a restaurant require extra planning and, often, additional relatives or friends to help.
One of our favorite activities is to visit friends and family who have dogs just so Leo can spend time being with them. Leo mentions specific dogs by name that he has met over the years, but he does not have one of his own. A service dog that will keep him company, play with him, and soothe him when he gets distressed would fill a huge void in his life and allow him to expand his world.
Please help us achieve our goal for getting a service dog for Leo!
You can also mail a check or money order to:
W.A.G.S. 4 Kids
112 East Center Street
Berea, OH 44017