This photo was posted online by Shana Niehaus, mother of five-year-old Kainoa (both pictured below). The photo's caption, which reveals the full story, has touched thousands of people around the world. When you read it, you'll know exactly why.
"See this moment? I’ve never experienced a moment like this. Yesterday was the first day my 5-year-old autistic son met his new Autism Service Dog, Tornado. We are Americans that live overseas in Japan and have prepared for nearly two years to meet Tornado.
This picture captures the face of a mother who saw her child, who she can’t hug, wash, dress, snuggle, and touch, freely lay on his new service dog of his own free will, with a purposeful, unspoken attachment. This is the face of a mom who has seen her son experience countless failed social interactions on the playground in an attempt to have a friend. Any friend. Any kind of connection. She has sat with her son while he has cried at night for months because he has no consistent connections outside of the family, no matter how hard he tries and no matter what he works hard on in his autism therapies. It doesn’t transfer to the natural occurring world for him. And now she is sitting behind her son silently watching this moment, with the air sucked from her lungs, and no words to say.
It’s worth every fight for services for my son, every diagnosis, every new provider, every dollar spent, every paper filled out, every school meeting, every shed tear, every step forward, every step back, and every wonder of the unknown future. Somehow because of this — because of Tornado — I know everything will be okay. As a mother, I have seen countless challenging and painful moments my son has encountered and cried countless more. Yesterday, however, I cried for a different reason. It is a feeling that is indescribable."
It's hard to imagine the pain of a mother who cannot even hug her own son. Children with autism find it hard to establish connections with other people, but dogs seem to be an exception. Kids on the autism spectrum find it easier to socialize with dogs,
It's important to understand that autism is not an illness and it can't be cured with medicine. It is a behavioral issue and needs to be managed with love, care, and warmth. Dogs can help these individuals overcome their difficulties.
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H/T: Bright Side