Rose was diagnosed at the age of 3 with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autistic Spectrum. The first symptom that occurred with Rose was a severe delay in speech and hurting herself when she became upset. Since then our family has learned a lot about Autism. Occasionally she still regresses, losing skills that took months, or years, to acquire. She has the tendency to wander without alerting an adult and social awareness is something she struggles with. Self injurious behavior is still present with Rose when she becomes overwhelmed or frustrated.
She loves animals, always wanting to play with her grandmother's pugs and help take care of them. This nurturing side of Rose has brought a special opportunity, a dog that could help her with her disability. An Autism Service Dog from 4 Paws for Ability, a non profit 501 (c) organization. A service dog would be trained to provide a needed distraction for Rose when overwhelmed. The dog would be trained to respond to her behavior in specific when Rose starts to hurt herself the dog will respond by nudging to be pet or give kisses. This kind of distraction will be much more successful when compared to an adult trying to stop the behavior because the dog is not seen as a threat. Even more important the dog will help, over time, decrease the occurrences of self injury. Autism Service Dog's are also trained to track their child and alert others when a child becomes distracted and wanders. Rose suffer's in academics unable to concentrate for more then 20 minutes at a time constantly getting up and wandering during class and falling behind during transitions. A service dog would provide a calming effect that will result in staying at her desk during school. Also the dog will encourage Rose to stay with her class when outside the classroom using herding skills when she is unresponsive to a verbal reminder from her teacher. In school a service dog will also provide a social bridge for Rose with her peers, increasing her communication skills.
We ask that you donate to 4 Paws for Ability either through our dedicated page with first giving (click here) or directly to 4 Paws for Ability please be sure to mention Rose Hunzeker when applying your donation (Memo line of check or Notes to the seller/merchant via Paypal) to 4 Paws so she will have the amount go towards her fundraising goal. When we meet our goal of $14,000 we can begin training a service dog just for Rose. These tax deductible donations will help our daughter in so many ways.