Father’s Day is just around the corner. And, because of you, it’s the first Father’s Day Michael will spend without the fear of his son darting into the parking lot when they go out to celebrate.
Michael Lupton is special. He’s the first father to complete April’s Canine Magic Team Training with his child, who is diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.
As the primary caregiver for five year-old Tristan, Michael says, “I had the motivation to do it because I knew that having a Service Dog would help and protect my son. Our biggest concern is that Tristan is a ‘flight risk’ child who tends to run into oncoming traffic or other dangerous situations because he doesn’t understand the consequences. ”
As a parent, your child’s safety is the number one thing on your mind, and Michael Lupton and his wife Sofia yearned to know their child was safe and getting to have the most “normal” interactions possible with his surroundings.
Although a “verbal” child, Tristan likes “his space” and doesn’t welcome people, even other children, when they enter that space. This increased his isolation and severely restricted his interaction with other children. This represented another concern for Michael and his wife—they want Tristan to be able to engage and be engaged by other children.
“They, Tristan and Tomm are doing great. Tomm follows Tristan everywhere now, lays down next to him, plays with him at the playground, drops him off at school and waits for him to come home. After only these few short months, Tristan holds onto Tomm’s vest and always walks side by side with him,” Michael continued, a note of pride and pleasure in his voice. “We no longer have to worry about Tristan’s safety because Tomm won’t let him take ‘flight’. As a dad, there’s nothing that brings me more joy.
Tristan’s isolation is less now, too, Michael says, as the other children want to interact with Tomm and Tristan feels more confident interacting with them with Tomm by his side. “The relief of having Tomm by Tristan’s side is such a gift”, says Michael.
“We felt a Service Dog would help Tristan with his development, be emotionally supportive, and would help him socially in areas that are difficult for an Autistic child,” Michael says. “Tomm is doing that and more. This has been a win-win for me,” Michael admits. “I get my own emotional support from Tomm at times, and I get joy from watching him and Tristan interact.”
This Father’s Day is the first of many that Michael and his family will get to enjoy without fear and anxiety about Tristan’s safety and well-being—thanks to you. As we celebrate Michael for being the Dad that he is to Tristan, and to Tomm we suspect, we extend our warmest thoughts and wishes to all the Dads out there who are part of the ECAD family – our clients, our supporters, our volunteers.
This Father’s Day, would you consider making a gift to ECAD? Your generosity will directly help make more stories like that of Michael, Tristan and Tomm possible.