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4 Paws for Oliver Connelly

Fundraiser for 4 Paws For Ability by Kylie Connelly ·

$14,600 raised of $17,000info-solid
About
Oliver Connelly was born October, 27, 2015 in Johnson City, TN. At 2 and a half Oliver was diagnosed with Autism, a sensory processing disorder, and Hyperlexia. Since then Oliver has added Echolalia, ARFID, Reflux, and Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.

Oliver has spent the last 3 years of his life in therapy and in and out of doctor offices because of his GI issues. It's crazy to think that this is the only life he knows, having therapist come to his home, or rushing to their office every day of the week. Sitting in doctor office waiting rooms, and driving hours to see specialist who poke and prod him, which is a feat for any child, let a long one with a sensory processing disorder.

Though we know Oliver is lucky because he has had the advantage of these therapies and services throughout first few years of his life, as he gets older, his challenges are starting to affect him more in his day to day life. Oliver struggles with self-regulation. A small al...ternation to his schedule can set him off into a meltdown. These melt downs can last as short as a few minutes to hours and hours. Some of these meltdowns are also because he struggles with communication. Because of his speech delay and echolalia, having a conversation with him can be very hard.

Oliver's hyperlexia, though it has given him amazing abilities academically, comes with it's own set of challenges. Because of his hyper focus, he can struggle to change activities or if something is out of order, it can set him off. Because he is so focused on what he is doing, he sometimes blocks voices out, and gets lost in his own world. This can be difficult and even dangerous when he blocks you out. One of our biggest struggles is him wandering off. Oliver seems to not fully understand the danger in some circumstances, and will run away. We have caught him moments away from running into traffic, and in another circumstance, he ran away from us and ran into the woods out of eye sight. The fear we have for him is something that he just can't grasp.

Oliver's autism and GI issues affect him in multiple ways. His speech, diet, schedule, learning ability, sleep, and just everyday life. As we face all these new challenges with Oliver, we started looking into programs that could help him along his journey, and where lead to 4 Paws For Ability.

4 Paws For Ability indicates that 1 in 68 children are autistic. There is no cure for Autism, however there are a number of interventions and tools which have proven effective in helping a person with Autism, and one such tool can be an Autism Assistance Dog.

We believe a service dog would be very beneficial in helping Oliver in many aspects of his life. Oliver has a tendency to wander away, a behavior common with Autism. These dogs are trained in tracking and tethering, keeping Oliver safe. Another benefit of a service dog, specifically for Oliver, would be their help in calming and preventing meltdowns as well as assisting in ceasing repetitive behaviors. Oliver is known to self-harm when he is having a meltdown, and these dogs learn how to redirect these behaviors.

There are many other possible benefits that can be derived from having an Autism Assistance Dog including friendship, improving Oliver's sleep, and becoming a social bridge leading to an incentive to communicate, therefore improving his delay in speech and communication. A service dog can also teach responsibility as well as assisting with transitions.

Oliver spends almost every weekday challenging himself in therapy. Having the companionship of a service dog we believe would have a huge impact on making his life better.

The process for Oliver to obtain an Autism Assistance Dog began with our application being reviewed by 4 Paws for Ability. After an interview contracts were signed, and we formally become a 4 Paws for Ability family.

We now have reached the 3rd stage along our journey: Fundraising for the service fee. It cost 4 Paws for Ability around $40,000-$60,000 to raise and properly train a service dog for each person. Their funding model is partial payment for services, meaning they cover a portion of the cost and we as a family are responsible for a service fee of $17,000 (4pawsforability.org). We are asking for your help in our efforts to raise the money needed for our son to become one of the many children benefiting from a service animal.

Once our service fee has been met, Oliver will get to begin classes to meet and train with his new service dog, this includes a 12-day extensive training session that takes place in Xenia, OH.

We feel that an autism assistance dog would help Oliver tremendously in navigating his day to day to day life.

All donations made are tax deductible as 4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit 501c3 organization. Any services or products donated for an event is also tax deductible.

Autism is a journey I never planned for, but I sure do love my tour guide.

Thank you for your love and support.
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Kylie Connelly • August 1, 2020
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Benefiting
4 Paws For Ability
US 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization
4 Paws for Ability strives to be the leading provider of service dogs for children regardless of disability as w...ell as adult children with caregiver guardianship who cannot live independently. 4 Paws assists Veterans who have given selflessly to our country by providing service dogs which can assist with disabilities on a case by case basis as well as adults living with hearing loss, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s. See More
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