Ethan was born in New Jersey on July 6th 2001. He had a head full of curly brown hair, smokey grey eyes, and the sweetest disposition. Ethan reached all of his milestones until 15 months when repetitive behaviors and speech delays became noticeable. Ethan's was diagnosed with autism before his 2nd birthday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults – and lose school-based autism services – each year.
Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal.
Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability.
Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types.
The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.
Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months.
The mission of the Autism Assistance Dog Program is to provide friendship, companionship, unconventional, and unconditional love for the child. A source of comfort and consistency when environments change and anxiety might be high, to help the children with Autism and the other family members find a higher quality of life and bring a more independent life to the child and the support to encounter problems and obstacles set in front of them by Autism and overcome any challenges that they are confronted by.
It is also our hope to provide a dog that will be the child’s best friend and buddy, so that the child will relate to the dog on a higher social level than they ever experienced before, and transfer these accomplishments to the humans which also live within their home and/or school environment.
Research indicates that the child with Autism displays behaviors toward their dog that they rarely, if ever, display towards human companions. In addition, the child that is partnered with a 4 Paws dog is found to seek their dog out for companionship, comfort, and confiding in ways never shown to family members.