Welcome to Paws 4 Autism

cuddlePaws Trifecta: Kids+Autism+Dogs

Our mission is to bring Autism Service Dogs and related services, including community outreach and education, service dog awareness, informational training and social skills classes, to children who demonstrate autism spectrum behaviors. Our vision is for all children on the autism spectrum and for those with spectrum behaviors to have access to specifically trained autism service and/or therapy dogs to assist with their peer interaction and improve social integration in their schools and communities.

Why did we begin the Paws for Autism Charity?

Adriana's Dream was to have a dog that would help her "be normal". As a high functioning child on the Autism Spectrum she knew that "something" was wrong. She will often say that her brain is "scrambled". This is her way of letting us know that it is going to be a day full of challenges...for ALL of us!

Our dream was to keep Adriana safe. Adriana has very little sense of danger. She is what they call a runner or eloper-- but not in the traditional escape & hide sense that is typical with Spectrum kids. Adriana had no sense of danger and would run out into the middle of the street or a busy parking lot to save a roly-poly or worm from getting run over by a car. She would wander off through a store because a fly is buzzing her and is going to "GET HER".

Our dream continues to be to help her learn how to relate to others and have better relations with her peers. Like Adriana, many children with Autism simply do not have the ability to understand social clues or how to relate with other people. She has no friends. She has never been invited to a birthday party for anyone other than family.

Our dream was that of all parents: to help our child succeed. However, as we delved deeper into the world of autism and service dogs we realized that there was a true need in our community for expanded autism services and service dog training resources. In the Kansas City region there are many service dog trainers and master obedience trainers, but none that focus on autism. There are no facilities available that also incorporate social skills groups with animals. With Terri's background in teaching and Ken's can-do attitude, it was inevitable that something that SHOULD be done COULD be done to solve the problem. Thus, Paws 4 Autism began in July 2010.

We have had an autism service dog in our home since November of 2011, and the improvements we have seen are AMAZING!!! She has decreased from 3-4 very violent meltdowns a day to 2-3 minor ones a MONTH. Adriana only had ONE issue at school last year in September with a substitute who didn't know her routine! She knows when she gets anxious or overwhelmed that her service dog Grady is there to help. Grady now recognizes when she is getting overstimulated and he focuses in on her and disrupts the meltdown before it ever really starts. Our family has begun to truly enjoy public outings. Adriana has become a rock star trainer and many times will now talk to people when they ask her about her working dog.

As the charity grows, so do our dreams. As of the Fall of 2013, we are still focusing most of our efforts on Community Education and Outreach and our social skills program (CASSIE - Canine Assisted Social Skills In Education). Adi has the first autism service dog we are aware of in the Kansas City region. Most in the area are unaware that service dogs can even help autism until they meet Adi & Grady or even Franklyn! We are gearing up to begin our GIVING PAWS program where autism families will get to "shop" in our donation closet!

We appreciate your generosity and support
as we continue to grow.



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