Friday, September 12, 2008

A humble request

Greetings, imaginary friends...

I call you imaginary because I talk to you a lot, and yet I can't see or hear any of you. I hear voices in my head too, but they are not my friends... You are.

Over the two-and-a-half years I've been writing here, I've brought you an odd mix of farm follies, bad jokes, scary predictions, crazy schemes, kooky projects, and pure, unadulterated silliness.

And a lot of fragmentary sentences. And a lot of sentences (and quite a few paragraphs) beginning with conjunctions. I know this is wrong, but I do it anyway, at least here on the blog. Here, I like to think of punctuation and paragraph breaks the way a composer uses rests within a piece of music, rather than by the actual rules of English grammar. I want to establish the right cadence in the reader's mind. And it's my blog, so I'm allowed.

And now I've totally lost the thread of this post. Where was I?

Right... So a fair bit of my writing here is about my family. They are what this is really all about. Okay, maybe not the bad jokes, but most everything else, is either directly or indirectly about my family.

In particular, our daughter Amelia is a rich source of material, from the joyful to the cheesy to the downright whiny:
Now, we have an opportunity to do something very special for Amelia. And I'm asking for your help. Your help could come in different forms or at different times, and we'll appreciate any you feel is appropriate. We're just getting started, but we hope to get creative with this endeavor as time goes on.

So finally, after too many irrelevant and poorly constructed paragraphs, I arrive at my request...

Please visit this web site:
Feel free to follow along as we start what should be a very interesting journey.


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At 9/13/2008 9:13 PM, Blogger homebrewlibrarian said...

I've heard of assistance dogs for many issues but this is the first I've heard for autism. I'm curious as to how else other than tracking is this type of dog trained?

I very much hope this will help Amelia is some way and bring a level of peace of mind to you. Good luck and may your legion of fans come through.

Kerri in AK

At 9/13/2008 9:31 PM, Blogger e4 said...

Kerri - I never thought of my blog as having fans, much less a legion of them. :)

The concept of an autism service dog was new to us just six months ago. There are a lot of interesting training possibilities - the most fascinating of which is seizure detection. Apparently they can train dogs to sense seizures even before the person having them knows they're coming. (Amelia doesn't have seizures, so this doesn't apply to us.)

In our case, rather than list them, I'll just copy & paste from the press release my wife wrote:
This dog will be trained to accompany her everywhere, and can be tethered to her with a special harness to prevent her from running into traffic or getting lost. Without this safety measure, her parents must keep a firm grip on her hand everywhere they go.

An important facet of the dog's training will be the ability to track. If Amelia were to find an opportunity to wander off out of her parents' sight, the dog will quickly follow her trail and lead her parents to her, even if she has been missing for quite a while.

The dog will also be trained to comfort Amelia, to disrupt her sensory-seeking behaviors such as hand-flapping and mouthing of objects, and help her calm herself when she is frustrated. It will also act as a "social magnet," making it easier for other children to approach Amelia and make friends. In spite of her sweet disposition, Amelia's strange behaviors -- such as her loud, wordless vocalizations -- tend to cause other children to avoid her rather than seeking her out; a furry companion would change that instantly, perhaps helping her to blossom socially in a way that would otherwise not be possible.

Another task the dog will take on is to act almost like a warm pillow or heavy blanket for Amelia. Her sensory integration disorders cause her to crave pressure and physical contact. A weight draped across her can help calm and "ground" her. Instead of piling half a dozen pillows atop her body, with her service dog Amelia will be able to relish the warm, furry contact to whatever degree she finds comfortable.

Finally, but by no means least importantly, the dog will do what any other dog might do -- love and be loved, loyally and unconditionally.

At 9/13/2008 10:34 PM, Blogger e4 said...

A few videos that illustrate better than text:

At 9/15/2008 9:16 AM, Blogger Britta said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/15/2008 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Done. Good luck! (I removed my previous post because I realized in my donation my last name was listed. I don't want it to be associated with my blog.)

At 9/15/2008 3:21 PM, Blogger barefoot gardener said...

Oh, what a wonderful idea! Here is hoping that you quickly get the $$ you need....

At 9/16/2008 8:41 PM, Blogger JBTW said...

Does the family get notified when donations are made? If so, did mine show up (it would actually be under my hubby's name)? I was trying to keep track on the badge... I'm afraid the "special instructions" with your daughter's name didn't work. If that's the case I wanted to try to get a hold of the coordinator. Let me know (e-mail or here). :)

At 9/16/2008 8:58 PM, Blogger e4 said...

Thanks everybody... Not too smart of us to start a fundraiser the day after a huge hurricane and the day before a huge investment bank failure. But thanks for playing along anyway!

JBTW - If you use the Network for Good badge, it *should* show up on the badge total (even if you don't earmark it for Amelia, I think). If you use the Paypal button, it won't show up. We don't get notified on any of it. We just get our totals once a month.

If you want to contact the coordinator, you can try an email address that starts with karen4paws. (Sorry for the obfuscation - just trying to be nice and make it hard for spam email bots to decipher. I'm sure she gets plenty of spam without my help!)

At 9/18/2008 6:28 AM, Blogger JBTW said...

I feel a bit more confident about it now... my hubby finally told me he got an e-mail from them -- it says her name on it (where as the receipt I was able to print immediately did not).
[...I don't like not having control over the account (he had it set up first so there was no choice).]
Good luck with your fundraising!

At 9/18/2008 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds wonderful, and I hope you get the money quickly. It may, aside from all the other benefits, give Amelia another living being to connect with -- I'm not putting this very well, but sometimes children attach to animals very deeply and this become a great source of pleasure to them.



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