Mom Thanks Service Dog: Helps Calm Autistic Kids
By Joyanne Pursaga, Staff Reporter, The Winnipeg Sun
He’s a furry anchor in a world of distractions. Joan Leslie-Thomson said her twin sons, Quinn and Brody, are more safe, calm and attentive, thanks to one special four-legged friend. “No family could imagine it would be as good as this,” said Leslie-Thomson.The twins, who turned 10 on Friday, have autism and communication disorders. They are developmentally delayed, easily distracted, speak few words and have yet to master their own names. Daily activities are a challenge. They need help getting dressed, brushing their teeth and aren’t fully toilet trained.
Autism also heightens their sensitivity to sights and sounds, making walks and outings a safety challenge. “They act on impulse. They’ll just dart out into traffic and not understand the safety issues. We’re always concerned about their safety,” said Leslie-Thomson.
But a new member of the family arrived Aug. 25, teaching the boys patience by example. Keeno, a 15-month old golden retriever, had a nearly instant calming effect on the boys, said Leslie-Thomson.