Sometimes he's a brontosaurus and sometimes he's a T-Rex
Our son is the most amazing 10-year-old! He is diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. "T" has lived with us as a foster child since November 2022, although we have been working to adopt him since May 2022. His adoption is expected to be finalized in 2024!
"T" has severe PTSD related to the abuse and neglect he suffered by his birth parents. Due to the severity of his PTSD, he has significant daily struggles and he fights each and every day to overcome these struggles. "T" wants to overcome his challenges and embrace his uniqueness. When you meet "T", he may initially be quiet, reserved, and show little emotion. Once he warms up, you will find that he is the most loving, funny, creative, smart, and truly amazing kiddo. He loves a good "dad joke." If you ask him, he likely will tell you a joke or two of his own!
Due to the circumstances of his life and at the age they occurred, "T" has very vivid memories of the abuse and neglect he suffered. As a result, he has a significant amount of internal and external triggers (related to his PTSD). Like many with PTSD, a sound, smell, person's appearance, object, word, phrase, or tone of voice may cause a PTSD reaction in our son.
When triggered, "T" may become destructive, headbang, bite himself, harm people who try to intervene, run away (elope), seclude himself, make impulsive decisions, scream, curse, withdraw, cry, or become non-verbal. A small reactive episode may last minutes, while a bigger episode could last hours. "T" has come a long way in the last year but still has daily struggles. Unfortunately for our son, there is no "quick fix" to his PTSD. He will need years of intensive therapy and significant daily support. He aspires to grow up and be a video game tester/creator, a YouTuber, an actor, or in the Army.
After doing research, our family, "T's" foster case team, and his current medical and psychiatric treatment team believe a psychiatric service dog could be life-changing for him! Our son has been through more than we can imagine and has been let down so many times in his short life.
Specifically for our son, Paws4Autism can provide him with a dog that will be trained to provide emotional support, will be trained in search and rescue (because our son has a history of eloping when escalated), will wake him up when he is having a nightmare, will wake us up if he is having a nightmare and/or sleepwalking due to anxiety and nightmares, will physically interrupt our son from the self-harming/head banging that can occur when he is escalated, and will be trained to provide therapeutic pressure (much like a weighted blanket).
For most of his life, our son has been treated in unimaginable ways, and now, we are trying to show him that he is loved, that he is worthy of kindness, and that he is unique and amazing just the way he is. We treat him like any other child his age, taking him to Royal's games, taking him to the movies, having him attend school, and letting him play sports. Unfortunately for our son, to do any "normal" activity, there is a huge risk that he may become triggered and go into crisis. One day this could look like him taking a few minutes to himself then getting back into the activity and being fine. Another day this could look like him screaming, running away, curling into a corner, banging his head violently into a wall, and trying to bite anyone who tries to protect him from harming himself. "T" is unable to control himself during these severe "blow-ups" (as we call them) and often has memory lapses. A service dog will provide him with constant support and unconditional love to reiterate to "T" that he is worthy of love, worthy of kindness, and worthy of his needs being met.