Meet Marisel!! She is my 7 year old daughter who has been diagnosed
with autism, ADHD and anxiety. She also has sensory processing issues.
Marisel is very sensitive to being around people and has a hard time
dealing with crowds, noise and sometimes even physical contact.
This makes getting ready for school in the morning extremely
stressful. She is emotionally hard on herself as she fights to avoid
going most days. The noise and the people bother her and she also
struggles with staying still or sitting for long periods of time. She
can then become very anxious and agitated. That results in trouble
staying focused on tasks and she likes to rush to finish her work to
get to play time. She does better in her new smaller school that she
is going to as large groups cause her more distress. School often
starts mornings with an all school assembly and Marisel, due to her
conditions, can't handle them and has meltdowns.
Going out of our home, in general, requires considerable preparation
to try and minimize her anxiety level. Marisel often uses coping
mechanisms such as rocking, hands over her ears, or music to mask the
stress she feels. She often needs a shopping cart to sit in to give
her a safe escape place. Marisel can also be a significant flight risk
and, if anxious, she can disappear in a flash and hide until I find her.
Marisel’s conditions make it hard for her to do many of the things
that other children without autism get to do and take for granted.
Outings to stores can be painful for her because of the noise level
and the activity. Crowded parks filled with other children playing are
way too stressful.
Marisel is a very bright and capable learner however her anxiety
causes her to have trouble focusing or working through things slowly.
An example would be her reading level at school. Her teachers think
she's at a much lower level than most 7 year olds. She does tend to
rush, and gets nervous reading to teachers. She was enrolled in a
reading program that used therapy dogs to help focus the children and
I saw her relax and take her time. It helped improve her reading. Now,
at home reading to me, she can fly through more challenging books than
the ones she sees at school.
A Service Dog would change Marisel’s life by easing her anxiety
levels as well as helping her remain calm when she has emotional
regulation problems. Having a best friend at her side would give her
confidence in herself and hopefully reduce her flight risk.
Please help me give Marisel a more active and happy life by
contributing towards a Service Dog to be her friend and to keep her safe.