THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL WHO DONATED! WRESTLE AGAINST AUTISM HAS DONATED THE REMAINING AMOUNT TO JOSIAH'S FUNDRAISER AND WE ARE DONE!
YOU ARE STILL WELCOME TO DONATE, AND ANY FUNDS DONATED TO 4 PAWS ABOVE OUR GOAL WILL BE GIVEN TO ANOTHER CHILD'S FUNDRAISING EFFORTS!
WE WILL ALSO BE FUNDRAISING FOR TRAVEL AND TRAINING COSTS AS WE GET CLOSER TO OUR CLASS DATE IN EARLY TO MID 2017.
Hey everyone! Meet Josiah. He is a sweet 3 1/2 year old boy who lives with his mom, dad and brother in Ohio. He has a beautiful smile, expressive eyes, and a sense of curiosity and joy that is truly limitless. He is sweet and kind, and deserves everything the world can give him. Josiah has a full life, but he needs a little more help than other kids his age, which is why we are hoping you will donate to 4 Paws For Ability. In December of 2014, Josiah was diagnosed with moderate to severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, the full name for what is commonly called Autism.
Because of his ASD, Josiah struggles with many tasks other 3 year olds can do with ease, and he has co-occuring diagnoses of Sensory Processing Disorder, Global Developmental Delays (severe delays in gross motor, fine motor, speech, socialization, comprehension, and other skills), and Speech Apraxia (the inability to form words). Development testing places Josiah's developmental age somewhere around 15 months of age, with speech development of 9-12 months of age.
Autism is a neurological disorder that is growing in public awareness, yet is still widely misunderstood. Autism affects the areas of the brain controlling language, social interaction, and creative and abstract thinking. A cause has not been scientifically identified, and there is no cure. However, we do know that early intervention is key to helping individuals with autism manage the disorder.
For Josiah,his autism manifests in several ways:
- He is completely non-verbal and requires a great deal of assistance to communicate his needs. He will likely need the use of an electronic assistive communication device for some time.
- He is unable to run, jump, toilet independently, or feed himself with utensils.
- His sensory processing issues cause him to crave or recoil from sensory stimulation, result in clumsiness and poor balance, and generally make him feel unwell since he is not always aware of where his body is in space.
- He struggles with transitions and sleep, often resulting in unhealthy behaviors and meltdowns.
- He is easily overwhelmed by new things, changes in routine, or a simple trip to the store, causing meltdowns, extreme anxiety, and self-harming behaviors such as banging his head or limbs on the floor or chewing on his hands and arms
- He participates in repetitive and obsessive behaviors such as flinging heavy objects and knocking over furniture, sometimes causing self-harm and harm to others.
- He has no sense of danger, and will not respond if called to when he wanders away. This is especially scary for us since we live on one of the busiest roads in town.
- You can learn more about our life as an autism family at our blog: www.thejourneyofj.wordpress.com
Every moment of every day Josiah struggles to navigate a world that is overwhelming, in a body that he can't control. With the help of an Autism Service Dog, he can have a chance at a normal and independent life.
4 Paws For Ability is an organization in Xenia, Ohio that provides service dogs for a wide range of disabilities. This non-profit organization works hard to help individuals and families overcome obstacles, and provide additional support to anyone who needs it.
An Autism Service Dog will offer many benefits to Josiah and his family, traveling with them everywhere and acting as a source of safety and security by having Josiah tethered to the dog with a special harness.
Autism service dogs are also trained to comfort during melt downs, interrupt inappropriate repetitive or self-injurious behaviors, and provide comfort, companionship, and socialization opportunities. 4 Paws for Ability works to connect families with dogs as quickly as possible by allowing their clients’ family, friends, and community to raise $15,000 to help cover some of the cost of extensive training service dogs require (the total cost is over $22,000 for 4Paws).
In Josiah's particular case, the dog would also be trained in Search and Rescue, giving us the peace of mind that we will have an extra hand if he wanders off and hides.
The 4 Paws for Ability website states, “We have discovered a magic that exists between children and dogs, a magic that can become a life-saving miracle for a child paired with one of our Autism Assistance Dogs.” You can help bring some magic to Josiah’s life by making a tax deductible donation to 4 Paws for Ability in Josiah’s name. Every donation helps and no donation amount is too small!
Donations (US Check/Money Order)
can also be mailed to:
4 Paws for Ability, Inc.
253 Dayton Ave
Xenia, OH 45385
(Please include “In Honor of Josiah Szostek” on the memo line)