A service dog becomes the very first friend of an autistic 5-year-old boy, Kainoa Niehaus. After two years waiting for a dog to become available, he flew from Japan to Ohio, where the non-profit organization 4 Paws For Ability is based. Kainoa’s mom, Shannon, shared a photo of her son resting his head on Tornado, the only one who has been able to share a bond with the boy.
The photo, shared on 4 Paws For Ability’s Facebook page, features Shannon sitting behind the heart-melting scene while fighting back the tears. Her son finds it painful to be touched, hugged, washed, or dressed. She cannot touch him as an ordinary mother touches her children to show them how much she loves them.
Shannon has done everything to make Kainoa feel her love, though. She has searched for services, filled out many papers and watched him cry for months because he has been rejected by many people because he is different. She believes he is worthy of her efforts and Tornado has made her feel truly hopeful for the first time. Now she cries tears of joy and gratefulness.
“It’s worth every fight for services for my son, every diagnosis, every new provider, every dollar spent, every paper filled out, every school meeting, every shed tear, every step forward, every step back, and every wonder of the unknown future. Somehow because of this – because of Tornado – I know everything will be okay,” the post reads.
She was able to witness the magical moment after having seen her little boy trying hard to make any kind of connection with other kids on the playground, without success.
Before Tornado came to his life, Kainoa had no real connections with anyone outside of his family, Americans who live in Japan and had the opportunity to take him to meet the special service dog. He had always failed at making progress on his autism therapies.
Tornado changed his life. Although the boy’s parents were nervous he might not connect with the dog, Kainoa quickly developed a special bond with this furry guy, who has been trained to help him improve his behavior and companionship. Words were unnecessary in this purposeful attachment.
The post points out that the boy has been strong when ignorant people, including adults, have been rude and have hurt him. They don’t understand how valuable he is.
About 4 Paws For Ability
This is a global non-profit organization focused on helping disabled children and veterans by providing service dogs specially trained for their specific needs. Regardless of age, they provide assistance dogs for people with hearing impairment, autism, diabetes, patients who have seizures and for those who were exposed to alcohol or drugs prenatally.
The organization also provides service dogs for veterans with mobility problems or hearing loss as a consequence of combat injuries. The dogs help them live a more independent life.
4 Paws was founded in 1998 by Karen Shirk, whom many traditional service dog agencies refused to provide her with help because they considered too disable to receive canine assistance, according to the organization’s website. She needed a ventilator to breathe.
Karen eventually decided to get her own dog and find the training herself. Her experienced helped her realize there were many people like her do were always judged based on the severity of the disability. She then started her own organization, which is now widely respected around the world.
About Autism Spectrum Disorder
The group of complex disorders of brain development is known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) os simply autism. There are varying degrees of disorder severity, ranging from repetitive behaviors to difficulties in social interactions, sleep deprivation, and gastrointestinal disturbances, according to Autism Speaks. Communication problems are also a consequence of these disorders, as well as difficulties in motor coordination and attention.
Over 3 million people in the United States are diagnosed with ASD and experts estimate that it affects 1 out of 42 boys compared to 1 in 189 girls. And government statists reveal that the rates of prevalence of this disorder have jumped 10 to 17 percent annually in recent years. However, extensive research has shown that this increase is a result of improved awareness and early diagnosis.
Every person diagnosed with autism is unique and extraordinary. Many of them can develop extraordinary skills in music, math, and art. Indeed, about 40 percent have average to above average intellectual abilities, as reported by Autism Speaks.