Mother seeks service dog for autistic son

Family, friends raise money to train animal to aid child

Posted 8/28/17

Little Noah Thomas Cohen, a 4-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 2, has a love for animals — a rare gift for kids with autism.

That has his mom, Jennie Ladtkow of Northglenn, looking for service dog to help him …

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Mother seeks service dog for autistic son

Family, friends raise money to train animal to aid child

Posted

Little Noah Thomas Cohen, a 4-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 2, has a love for animals — a rare gift for kids with autism.

That has his mom, Jennie Ladtkow of Northglenn, looking for service dog to help him and keep him safe.

“The service dog will help in so many ways,” Ladtkow said. “It will be trained to provide the deep pressure I provide daily and emotional support. The dog will also be trained to tether to Noah so that he cannot take off like he usually does when I take him in public.”

Now she’s working with 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit group with the mission to train and place quality service dogs with children who have disabilities.

“They generously offered to place a service dog with us for half the price it will take to train the dog,” she said. “Training this caliber of service dog costs around $38,000 and the family has to raise half of that. The addition of this dog to my little family would be a life-saving occurrence.”

Ladtkow and her friends have raised $1,000 of the $17,000 they need so far, mostly on the online donation site First Giving. Their fundraising page is www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jennie-ladtkow/noah-cohen.

The amount raised so far is from postings on Facebook as well as donations from Jennie’s office, Re/Max Northwest, to help support their effort. Most funds raised are from friends, family and co-workers.

An extra set of eyes

Ladtke said every piece of furniture in her house has been upended at some point by Noah when he gets overwhelmed. He’s mostly unaware of any danger around him and she must keep all the doors in her home chain-locked, in case he’d run outside and into traffic.

“Apart from all that he is a sweetheart,” she said. “He seems to feel the emotions of the people around him and gives support to them. For instance, if a baby is crying around him he will start crying and go over and give the baby a hug. He is like a little empath. He is always smiling and giving hugs and blowing kisses. He truly loves people, which is a rarity in the autism world.”

He’s come a long way, she said. He was completely non-verbal at two but is now starting his second year of preschool.

“With daily therapy sessions in speech, applied behavior analysis and occupational therapy he has around 100 words now,” she said. “His cognitive learning ability is growing in front of our eyes every day.”

The service dog will help and will also help keep him safe.

“The dog will go everywhere with Noah throughout his busy days,” he said. “The dog will provide a much-needed extra pair of watching eyes and helping paws.”

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