LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A local organization is using autism service dogs to empower kids and their families with a new outlook on life.
You've heard of k-9 cops, Seeing Eye dogs and drug dogs, but there's a new kind of service dog that is producing amazing changes in the lives of children in the metro.
Nine-year-old Adriana and her dog, Grady, are best friends. They are tethered together most of the time, even at school.
"Whenever he notices I'm stressing out or having trouble he looks at me and nudges me," said Adrianna.
Grady protects Adriana and knows instinctively when she needs attention. Her mom, Terri Wible, says two years ago, doctors said Adriana would need to be institutionalized. Grady virtually reversed that diagnosis.
"We used to have 3-4 violent meltdowns a day. Often I had a black eye. Now its two to three a month that are minor," said Wible.
The Wible's younger son, Craig, is also autistic. Craig helps train dogs like franklin to help other children with autism.
Grady's success with Adriana and Craig led the family to start Paws 4 Autism. As far as they know it’s the only program in the nation intent on bringing dogs to groups of children with special needs for calming and socialization therapy.
The adaptive class at Tamashii Karate loves the dogs.
“I’ve seen the dogs just put their heads on the kids laps and they just calm. It’s an incredible phenomenon that they take to that. The dogs are aware they know when someone is getting upset or stressed," said Linda Hanson of Tamashii Karate.
It gives families on a long waiting list for autism dogs, or those who simply can't afford one at all, the benefit of calm canine interaction.
"He helps me sleep and I always have someone for company," said Adriana.
"What makes it worthwhile is giving hope back to parents. So they know there is hope for their child," said Wible.
CLICK HERE to visit the organization’s website.