Six-year-old Cohen Hadfield of Rotherham has been given a grant towards a Support Dog which will help with his day-to-day life.
The Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation distributes funds raised by the annual Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards, sponsored by McCormicks Solicitors.
The Foundation was formed in 2010 to support young people in the region to achieve their potential and makes grants to individuals and projects. Vice-chairman Richard Stroud said: “We were impressed by the efforts the family made to raise money for the Support Dogs and by how much difference having a support dog could make to their lives.”
Cohen has been matched up with his dog by the Sheffield-based Support Dogs charity to help him to deal with difficult situations and to stay safe. Cohen has a Golden Retriever/Labrador cross, Azerley, who is already making a huge difference to the family.
In addition to autism, Cohen also has developmental delay, along with hearing impairment and complex epilepsy. He has no sense of danger and will run on to roads to avoid social situations. At the moment he has to sit in a special needs pushchair for his safety when he is outdoors but the family has already made some short shopping trips with Azerley and have found a huge difference in Cohen who has remained calm and walked with the dog. His mum, Sarah, said: “Being able to see Cohen do that is just fantastic! He would have run into the road but instead he just walked with Azerley and stayed on the pavement.”
She hopes having Azerley means that the family will be able to do things as a whole family, for example going to the park, which has not been possible before.