Family host fundraiser for autism assistance dog

Donte Taylor
Donte Taylor

A Banbury family are attempting to raise £3000 in order to pay for an Autism Assistance Dog for their son, Donte.

Donte, 5, was diagnosed in 2015 with Aspergers, a type of Autism that is characterised by severe difficulties with social interactions and nonverbal communication and is often accompanied with repetitive and restrictive patterns of behaviours.

There are no single treatments for Aspergers but the condition can be managed with a combination of social skills training, cognitive behavioural therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and medications.

One other way that those with Aspergers can cope with everyday situations is with the assistance of a trained assistance dog.

Donte has been accepted by the Scottish charity Appaws Assistance Dogs, who specialise in training families dogs in autism specific tasks.

The training, however, is not cheap and the Taylor family are trying to raise the £3000 needed in order to secure the training or an already trained animal to be Donte’s companion.

There are a number of benefits that a trained assistance dog can provide to an Aspergers sufferer.

A dog can increase social interaction, boost a child’s confidence and give the child an extra sense of safety. They can also comfort and protect in times of great anxiety or stress and keep a child safe in times of grave danger by using alerting or distraction techniques.

Leah Taylor, Dontes mother, said: “This Assistance Dog would mean so much to him and we know as parents that this will make his life so much easier for him and also give him that companion that he will always be able to rely on and trust.”

To help raise the money needed the Taylor family are holding a Raffle Draw at By The Fire, Tea Shoppe on Calthorpe Street, Banbury on June 26 at 7pm.. The event will feature a live Blues band, cakes, teas, coffee and alcoholic drinks. Raffle prizes have been donated by Twinkle Stars, Pawsitivly Dog Grooming, Forever Living and Emma Collins Photography in addition to champagne, wine and a treat hamper.

The ticket only event will cost £2 to enter and £2 for raffle tickets, and entry tickets can be purchased on the Facebook page Charity Raffle Draw at By The Fire Tea Shoppe or visit www.facebook.com/events/1610662305891107/