Assistance dog needed to give autistic Daniel independence

IT costs $25,000 to buy an autism assistance dog and occupational therapist Nicole Grant is hoping to raise some of this money through community donations.

Nicole is helping Daniel (surname withheld), 15, of Wellington Point, who is hoping to receive a dog through Smart Pups once funds are raised. To date, the family has $5000 towards the assistance dog.

"Daniel is prone to anxiety and unexpected meltdowns in public. He has poor communication skills and limited speech. It is hoped the dog will be a calming influence and reduce his anxiety," Nicole said.

"We hope that the dog will give Daniel access to the community and help him connect. People will speak to the dog and pat the dog and this will help Daniel engage with the community," she said.

Nicole said the family had first looked at funding options available through the government and had started a Facebook page entitled autism dog for Daniel.

"Any donations can be made straight to Smart Pups with a tag that they are used for Daniel," Nicole said.

Through her mobile occupational therapy practice, Nicole said she had become close to the family over the past four years.

"At the moment, I am teaching Daniel skills that give him community access, like money handling and communication. He has also learned about shops and schedules and routines," she said.

Daniel attends Redland District Special School.

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