KENNEWICK, Wash. - The family of a young Autistic boy in Kennewick is hoping to try a new method of therapy, but they need your help.
Tristen Chambers-Berry may have Autism, but he's a bright and curious 7-year-old boy. "It doesn't make him any different you know," his mother, Amala Berry said, "it's just we're going to have to handle this situation differently."
His parents, Ed and Amala, know Autism can be a challenge. They say Tristen tends to open doors and run out, he gets stuck in repetitive motions, and has the occasional meltdown.
"The most difficult thing," his mother said, "is letting people know what we are going through. I mean, who wants to tell another person that when your kid is upset, they hit themselves."
Looking for advice, she found herself searching online. "It's a bunch of trial and error, because what works for one kid doesn't work for another." Luckily she came across 4 Paws for Ability, an organization that embraces the same philosophy. The group trains service dogs, but it comes at a cost.
"It is amazingly expensive to train these dogs," Amala said, "because it is to your individual child. It's not just to that disability of Autism, and that dog is trained for that child."
When Tristen read the children's book, Harry the Dirty Dog, he learned exactly what he wanted. His mother asks him, "what kind of dog do you want?" and he always replies, "a white dog."
The dog could calm him during an outburst, break up the repetitive habits, alert his family before he runs off, and track him down if he does.
"The more I read about it," his father, Ed Berry said, "the more I started to say 'okay, let's do this.' Because he needs it, and this dog would be able to do that for him, that'd be amazing."
To make that happen though, the family hopes to raise $13,000. Tristen says nothing would make him happier than his white dog, so if you'd like to help his dream come true, click here to make a secure donation through PayPal. Make sure to add a "special instruction" that says the donation is specifically for Tristen Chambers-Berry's service dog.