"Good luck, Thomas!"
Angel Service Dogs, Inc. doing business as Liberty Service Dogs, is a 501(c)(3) fundraising for the training of Kovu for Thomas for the purposes of service dog training.
Thomas started ticcing when he was four and was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at seven. Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by vocal and motor tics. Tics are involuntary movements or vocalizations that occur repeatedly in the same way. Thomas's TS has been considered severe since his diagnosis.
Thomas's neurologist was planning on retiring and began to cut back on her hours. When we had an emergency or even a question when she was not in, none of the other doctors in the practice could help us. They did not know how to treat such severe TS. This was at a well-known and respected children's hospital. Thomas had been on so many different medications that did not help that doctors were at a loss as to what to do next. We began a search for new neurologist and finally found one, months later, who was recommended by other TS families.
At the end of seventh grade Thomas's TS became debilitating. His tics were so bad that he could not walk or even sit on a regular chair. He could no longer attend school. Thomas had been seeing his new neurologist for about a year. We called but she was not sure what to do. Getting Thomas to the office was very difficult. He had to be carried to the car (he was the same height as me so this was not easy) and held upright in his seat. When we finally saw the doctor she told us to find another doctor because she didn't know what else to do. Now Thomas was at his worst and had no doctor to help him. After weeks of calling every neurologist around and the National Tourette Syndrome Association we found a fabulous doctor in Manhattan, two and a half hours from home. The trip there is still difficult for Thomas but she was able to prescribe new medicine that helped calm his tics so he could get around at home with little assistance.
At this time Thomas was also diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is a disorder of the brain and causes severe anxiety. The OCD did not come on gradually but attacked him full force, it has been a constant fight for him since. Treating the OCD has been as complicated as treating the TS. When the typical medicines used to treat OCD did not help Thomas we were thrown out of two psychiatric practices. His case was too complicated for them. Thomas's neurologist was able to make a connection with a well-known psychiatrist at another hospital in Manhattan. She agreed to see him, even finding a way to wave her typical $2000 fee. (She did not take our insurance) This doctor was able to set up a treatment plan for Thomas and set us up with a local doctor that she trained. She has been available to consult with us and our new doctor whenever necessary. We still see this psychiatrist today. He will not give up on Thomas even though he has been on over fifteen medications that have not worked or have caused crazy side effects. Thomas still takes medicine for his TS and OCD today. The newest combination has less side effects and causes less "brain fog"
Thomas continues to be on home instruction, he has not attended school since seventh grade. Some of the teachers that were sent from the agency the school contracts with have been amazing. Others stopped teaching and stared every time he ticced. One cried. One stopped showing up. A few told him he wasn't capable of learning due to his tics. Thomas was in all honors classes in school. He has lost all of them over the last three years. There are no teachers that can teach those subjects that do home instruction. It is also nearly impossible to accommodate science labs and computer courses in a home setting.
Thomas told me last month that he missed out on High School. He said it wasn't fair. He will never catch up in regard to classes he needs to be successful in college. Thomas misses hanging out with friends and being able to attend activities at school like homecoming and Junior Prom. Instead he watches as his twin sister does all of these things without him.
Thomas is now sixteen. He is a junior in High School but has never been able to attend classes within the building. He has missed out on the typical High School experience. Thomas hopes that a service dog will help him be able to attend school for his senior year and be able to leave the house without his parents assistance for the first time in over three years.
Just a small donation will go a long way to helping me meet my goal for a LIBERTY SERVICE DOG for Thomas.
In the event Kovu does not pass certification, another dog will be trained with the same specifications and this fund will be transferred to that dog. Additional funds raised from this campaign will be transferred into the Angel Service Dogs, Inc. General fund to help train dogs for other families.
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