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A Haverhill couple is raising £8,000 to provide their autistic son with what could be a life-transforming assistance dog

The parents of an autistic 11-year-old boy have embarked on a mission to raise £8,000 in order to provide him with an assistance dog and help him to immeasurably improve his life.

Isaac Collier, who lives with his parents Denny and Helen and big brother Dillon, 18, in Cleves Road, Haverhill, was diagnosed about 18 months ago with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Social Communication and Attention Skill Difficulties. He also struggles with sensory processing.

Everyday situations are consequently hard for Isaac to cope with, resulting in high levels of anxiety and often tempestuous behaviour.

Isaac Collier, 11, at home with his mum Helen, dad Denny and big brother Dillon, 18. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Isaac Collier, 11, at home with his mum Helen, dad Denny and big brother Dillon, 18. Picture by Mecha Morton.

To ease his anxiety and help Isaac lead a happier life, his parents have turned to Supporting Paws in Sittingbourne, Kent, which primarily provides autism and neuro disability support dogs.

The charity will select a pedigree Labrador at eight weeks of age and train the dog to meet Isaac’s specific needs.

The training takes about 12 months and will cover everything from obedience to providing Isaac with sensory intervention when required - but it costs £8,000 to do so, with the money having to be raised by the end of 2021.

Helen said: “One of the biggest problems he has is anxiety. He is very anxious about life in general. If he is uncomfortable or isn’t sure of where he is going or what he is doing that will generally result in meltdown. It will be shouting and a refusal to do anything.

“He used to wreck his room. He used to throw things and break things.

“It would be carnage.”

Isaac’s mum and dad believe the assistance dog will help him become more confident, help him lead a more independent life, keep him calmer when anxious and help him to return to school.

He has been home-schooled since being taken out of Westfield Primary Academy last October due to his behavioural problems.

Helen added: “He has a real thing for animals. He’s not great with people but he is just obsessed with animals completely and dogs are just his thing.

“I think for him it’s just that comfort of always having something with him.”

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