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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Autism Service Dogs

Mother of child with autism hopes to raise funds

By Jill Doss-Raines
The Dispatch

Some of life's simplest tasks are impossible for Misty Brown to accomplish with her son, Colby.

She cannot simply run into a grocery store to buy milk or bread if he is with her. A trip to Wal-Mart is out of the question, as are trips to most public places.

Three-year-old Colby has autism, a neurological disorder affecting one in 150 children and 1 in 94 boys. Autism is a complex disability affecting normal functioning of the brain in many areas including social development, language/communication and/or sensory issues.

For some reason, public places are a sure way to begin a meltdown for Colby. He'll throw himself on the floor, screaming until his mom picks him up. Even then, he cannot be comforted most of the time, and Brown has to leave the store.

With low verbal ability, which is a common symptom in children with autism, Colby is not able to communicate to his mom what is so irritating, frightening or overstimulating for him. Is it the lighting, the smell, the feel of the shopping cart? Brown doesn't know. She does know she has to find a way to help Colby deal with public situations, and she thinks she has found it - a service dog.

Unfortunately, the specially trained service dogs for people with autism cost $7,000. And like most treatments for autistic individuals, it is not covered by insurance.

[FULL STORY]

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