Lewis Miller has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. It has been a challenge for the whole family as the 10-year-old tries to get along with others despite impaired social skills. They knew that a service dog trained to assist autistic children would be a tremendous help for Lewis. He’d been on the waiting list for four years with the ADNI or Assistance Dogs Northern Ireland.
As he has trouble understanding other people’s behavior, he often comes off as brutal compared to other children. He is overly anxious and supersensitive with noise that severely affects his sleeping hours. Danielle Cooper, Lewis’ mom, urged him to pen a letter to the assessors so they would understand how much a dog will mean to him.
Geraldine McGaughey of ADNI later revealed how Lewis’ letter affected their assessment. She described it as the “most emotional” and that the letter was “a tearjerker.” Lewis’ heartfelt request has been absolutely granted, and soon enough, Jade, a black Labrador, has been gifted to him.
In his letter, Lewis told ADNI how he would love the dog more than anything. He promised to feed and take good care of the dog whom he would consider as his Superdog. He was already making plans with the dog and confidently told everyone how he wouldn’t be afraid anymore going anywhere and doing anything if he will be with him. He mentions how the dog will help him conquer his fear of doing simple tasks such as eating his cereal, watching TV, and going to bed.
The dog trained by ADNI will indeed ensure the safety of Lewis and provide emotional support. If Lewis will feel uncomfortable, Jade is trained to sit still and prevent the boy from running away or getting lost. He will also help him calm down and encourage interaction with other kids, especially with his siblings. As his new best friend, Jade will also be a great comfort to Lewis, whose close friend at school recently died.
Jade has been with Lewis for just a while, but Danielle has already observed positive effects. There has been enough study to support that dogs help children with autism improve their social skills. Kudos to ADNI, and thank you for making it possible!
Credits to BBC News