Family finds service dog that helps autistic children
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -
Dreams are coming true for an East Texas seven-year-old, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome and bipolar disorder. His parents have been searching for not only help for their son, but also a companion. The Longview family was recently able to find a service dog that works with autistic children and can give their son the protection he needs.
"Rosco, load up in the car," Javan Olson said.
Javan has not seen his service dog Rosco since December. Every two months the silver Labrador provides him with a sense of safety and confidence.
"Being out in public can be really hard for him, because there's so much stimulation going on that we don't even notice," said Javan's mother Krista Olson.
Javan has a mild form of autism and when Rosco isn't around his parents say his behavior is very different.
"He's very aggressive, very angry, and panics," said Javan's father, Japheth Olson. "Being around strangers can be very challenging and scary for him."
When Rosco is around, it seems Javan in calm and happy.
Two years ago, the Olsons say it seemed medication wasn't helping and they had hit a hump in the road.
After doing some research, they found "Made in Texas Assistance Dogs" in Grand Prairie, Texas, in September.
"It's really nice, now, to be able to see him being able to be a kid," Japheth said.
When Rosco turns one this summer, Javan will hopefully become his owner.
"He'll be able to be tethered to Rosco to keep him from bolting when he does feel threatened; keeping him with us without feeling the pressure to hold mom and dad's hand all the time," Krista said.
The assistance dog company says the progress Javan is making in just a few short months is more than they could imagine. The progress has even surprised other East Texas parents with autistic children.
"I think in the next six months after we get Rosco, we're going to have a lot of friends going 'wow, I want what they've got,'" Krista said. "'I want what that kid has.'"
Until training is completed, Javan will continue to work on his emotional processing and social skills through training with Rosco.
On average, a service dog can cost anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000. The Olsons say they owe $7,000 for Rosco, and so far they have raised nearly $1,600.
Money can be donated to any Texas Bank and Trust where a benefit account has been set up under "Javan Olson's Service Dog."