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Ride to Give- Autism Alert Dog Training for Sutton
$6,125 raised
102% of $6k goal
311 contributors
0 days left
Ended Feb 15, 2016

At the age of 18 months old, Sutton Lindgren of Germantown, WI stopped hitting his milestones. His parents, Heather and Charles, became very concerned and took him for a full evaluation. After much testing, Sutton was diagnosed with Autism and started receiving in-home speech and occupational therapy. When he turned 3, Sutton began attended a special school for children with Autism and in 1st grade was able to be mainstreamed for the first time with the help of an aide. Now 10 years old and in 5th Grade, Sutton continues to receive speech therapy and occupational therapy services to help him organize his body so he can focus while at school.

Communication with others is still difficult for Sutton as other activities preoccupy him, challenging his attention and focus. When he gets upset, swinging and listening to music calms him. Sleeping can also be a struggle. He regularly is unable to sleep through the night which adds to his daily frustration. Most frightening for his parents, Sutton doesn’t understand the many dangers in his environment and what they mean. An approaching car, a stranger, and bodies of water are not dangers in Sutton’s mind... he has never been given reason to fear these in his experience.

For Heather and Charles, Sutton’s safety is their biggest concern. Because he does not understand danger, he has a tendency to wander away. They have had scary moments where Sutton vanished in the blink of an eye. When he learned how to unlock the front door of their home, the Lindgrens did not know he had disappeared until they heard car horns from down the street. Unbeknownst to them, Sutton had run out of the house, down their street, and into four lanes of traffic with no fear of anything. Luckily, a neighbor saw him and brought him to safety. Life threatening situations like these keep them on high alert.

His parents believe a service dog would be life changing for Sutton and their family. An Autism assistance dog would help them protect Sutton from harm as well as offer comfort. When a child with Autism disappears their life is immediately in danger and an adult looking for them may be searching in the wrong direction. Often a child with Autism will not respond to their name being called as their attention is focused on something else. An Autism support dog trained in search and rescue will never take the wrong path and quickly lead an adult to the missing child.

Sutton has been accepted as a service dog recipient with 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia, Ohio. On their own, the Lindgrens have already raised $14,000 for Sutton’s Autism Assistance Dog but now have to raise the final funds to afford 12 days in Ohio for their intensive family training in May.  Please help Ride to Give provide peace of mind for the Lindgrens by helping us fund their hotel, food, and travel expenses for this life changing training trip to Ohio.  

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