Costa The Autism Assistance Dog during Lockdown

Evolution

Life in ‘lockdown’, Covid-19 has had a terrible impact on everyone over the past few months. However, try to imagine living with autism and severe learning difficulties and not being able to understand why your whole routine has just been ripped from under your feet! Henry could not understand why his bus did not come anymore or why he could not go to school to see his teacher and friends.

That is where Costa his autism (life- saving) assistance dog came in. Costa has been part of our family for nearly 5 years now; he is Henry’s daily coping mechanism. Henry relies on Costa for all aspects of his daily life be it showering, dressing, eating meals, going out and about, companionship. So Costa has been Henry’s rock over the past few weeks, being there to give him the reassurance that he had some normality still remaining in his life. Costa was Henry’s encouragement to go out on his permitted daily exercise, which thankfully has increased for children with autism.

So Henry got into the routine of were him and Costa would walk, in the morning he would get up and say I decide –beach, forest, pom- pom woods, the farm or the wee stream in one of the fields beside us. He loved taking Costa to it and would throw the ball in the water for him while he would walk up and down. It is lovely watching them together they have such a lovely bond. Costa is Henry’s security in a world which is more than ever difficult for an autistic person to understand.

We are so thankful to everyone associated with Assistance Dogs NI for all the work they do to provide these amazing dogs to autistic children, which not only benefits the child but helps the whole family.

Barbara (Mother)