April 2, 2013

White Dog and The White Dog Army wants everyone to know that today is World Autism Awareness Day. This is an important day in our family because one of our pack suffers from the disease. Michael, my 20 year old nephew who lives with us, has autism and struggles every day to be accepted and to function in a complex complicated world.

Did you know: approximately 67 million people worldwide are affected by autism? That autism is the fast-growing serious developmental disability in the world? More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with diabetes, cancer, and AIDS combined? Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism? There is no medical detection or cure for autism, but early diagnosis and intervention improve outcomes?

We consider Michael a hero because every day he encounters ignorant people and rude comments based on a lack of understanding and superficial judgments. He forgives the meanness and continues to make incredible progress in becoming an integrated member of the community. For him there is hope. For many others the struggle is still great and the ramifications of living with autism punishment-like. For them, and for Michael, please help increase autism awareness and respect for the person trapped inside the disease.
The White Dog Army had dinner with Michael as they do on each of Steve's late nights. We have been very excited by Nuka's progress and her most recent step up to solid, canned intensive care food; she is exceeding expectations. This morning she nibbled a bit from her bowl and finished eating from Steve's fingers. It is important that she get to the point of eating on her own.

During dinner tonight, we had a set back in that AWD refused to even sniff her bowl. Michael sat on the floor with her to guard her space from the rest of the Army who is extremely jealous of her special diet. He repeatedly moved the bowl so it was directly under her nose. Nope. It was hard for him not to take the rejection personally.

White Dog jumped up next to me and said. "The problem is clear." "Really?" "Think psychology," she said. "For past week every time Nuka has eaten you have cuddled her in your arms and dad has given her praise and individual attention as he hand fed her, first with the syringe then this morning with his fingers. Why would she want to eat out of a bowl on the floor with nobody cheering? That is going to be a tough connection to break since she needs to eat but she needs to do it on her own."

I think my wise WD may be on to something. Unfortunately, AWD will now have to wait until Steve gets home late tonight. I am the holder/cuddler and cannot do both that and hand feed. Michael is too afraid of being accidentally bitten to do the feeding. But our girl is hungry, I know that as she looks from the offered bowl to the front door willing Steve home RIGHT NOW. Sometimes I just wish the White Dog breed was not the most stubborn on earth. Thanks for your continued Power of the Paw.


Jo's World said...

Some dogs are a little bit set in their ways. Did Michael try a spoon and some chat with her?

Biggest cheers for Michael and getting up and out everyday to work the world. He will succeed with Aunt and Unc's help and his own determination!

Cheers and hugs all around,

Jo, Stella and Zkhat

Ginger Jasper said...

Firstly I think Michael is doing just wonderfully and I remember when he first came to you and how many mountains he has climbed since then. I so agree that there are many ignorant people who do not realise just how hard it is for sufferers of autism and indeed their families. Raising awareness is paramount. Now to that sweety and the food situation. I can so relate because when I was so ill and not eating dad was lying on the floor spoon and finger feeding me little morsels. It is as you say hard to go back to eating from a bowl. The good sign is that Nuka is showing that he does want to eat and it will come. I have faith in my little woofie friend and the power of the paw. Hugs GJ xx

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Random Felines said...

cheers to Michael....it can be so hard to be "different" and we know you all help him with that.

Miss Nuka - no playing hard to get babe :)

Brian said...

We tthink Michael is amazing and he could sit with us any old time! Come on Nuka, eating is a must sweet thing.

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