Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

city map


Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Nerlika" an Autism Service Dog in Canada....Guest Spot

I found this wonderful blog that you can access above and I do encourage you to do so, because there are some beautiful pictures that I didn't include. It is about Nerlika the autism service dog for Anwen who lives in Canada. I got permission by the mother/author of the blog to publish this because I think that it is a great story and that it should be shared with the world. So many people do not realize that there are even autism service dogs out there and available, I have found that most people do not understand that a service dog can help an autistic individual. Getting stories out like this one helps others to understand what it is that they can do to be so helpful in the everyday lives of the individual and the family. This is their story:

Nerlika is a wonderful Siberian Husky, who aids Anwen in her daily functions.

It is hard to explain to a person who does not understand autism, or an autistic child what the role of a working dog can do.

1. My autistic children do not sleep as long as regular children, they are up quite late, and up early, Nerlika is being trained to bark when they leave their bed, or if they are running the taps and/or Nerlika comes to get me if they are doing something they shouldn't in the wee hours of the morning.

2. My children are prone to outbursts, or shutting down in public loud places, Nerlika is like a comforter blanket, or a child’s soother, she is there to calm them down, to give them a constant presence while they learn to deal with the situation, or to wait it out with constant love and affection while they come to terms with the environment around them.

3. They are prone to bolt in parking lots, or wander off, Nerlika is there to make sure they are close at hand, or if they strya a bit to let out a bark, so that way I can juggle all 3 children in public with more ease and confidence.

4. My children had a very hard time with getting their hair wet, or washing their hair, brushing their teeth, or letting me know they were hungry, since they are often at times in their own world, feeding the dog, bathing the dog, cleaning up after the dog, made them aware that they have to do the same things. When the dog has her big breakfast, so do they, and eat they can. When the dog brushes her teeth, they race to do the same.

5. Nerlika has awoken some speech in the kids, they want to interact with her, and to teach her key commands, or speak sit, stay, or down, she is just 2 years old, and still learning, but the kids help out in any way they can. Most of Nerlika's commands are hand gestures, so all 3 children can talk to her.

6. Nerlika is not socialized with other dogs, she is treated like a person and a member of our family unit, she is not encouraged to play with other dogs, or when her vest is on, no one but the children are allowed to touch her.

7. Nerlika is also being trained during this summer, about the kids swimming and being in water, she will wade out and herd them back in, or bark if they are too far, she was the first dog allowed in the West Edmonton mall Waterslides, and did very well. She did not bark, cower, or cause any problems but watched the children and provided Anwen with a constant comfort until she was ready to play, and play she did, she looked like a normal child by the time she got relaxed enough to get wet.

8. Nerlika barks not a lot in the back yard, but a couple times to let me know, someone is close to our space, or my truck. People do not understand that because they look like they are 7, 6 and 4, that they have the mental ability to know stranger danger, My children will go off with strangers, Nerlika is trained and encouraged to let out a couple of barks until I either pop my head out or come outside to see, until she sees my face, she will continue to bark and warn the person to back away. My neighbors have failed to take the time to spend time with Nerlika so she knows them, I asked them repeatedly to do so but gave up a year ago.

* Nerlika is always by Anwen's side since she is almost non verbal. When Anwen has a meltdown it takes me almost 30 minutes to make her more comfortable, since Nerlika has been at her side, she is able to draw her out much quicker, and give her the confidence to get out and see the world around her. This summer has been the best in getting out and about. All thanks to having Nerlika was I able to juggle the children, go to the PNE, Camping, Galaxy Land, Waterslides, and feel that the kids were safe.  I can relax and be a much better parent with Nerlika in our family unit.

No comments: