Ten-year-old Logan Robinson, of Pollington near Goole, and six-year-old Cohen Hadfield of Rotherham both have autism and have both been given grants towards Support Dogs which will help with their day-to-day lives.
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 both families have made to raise money for the Support Dogs and by how much difference having a support dog could make to their lives.”
Both boys have been matched up with dogs by the Sheffield-based Support Dogs charity to help them to deal with difficult situations and to stay safe. Logan’s brown Labrador, Rollo, will join the family next month, while Cohen has a Golden Retriever/Labrador cross, Azerley, who is already making a huge difference to the family.
As well as autism, Logan has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, developmental delay and severe anxiety disorder, as well as other health issues. Due to his disabilities, he has no sensory comprehension, a lack of danger awareness and finds social situations extremely hard to manage.
His family has been fund-raising for their new dog, with dad Tony completing the Three Peaks, and they hope to be able to involve Logan in future fund-raising efforts, together with his dog, Rollo. Logan has already met Rollo and the family are working with Support Dogs on training before Rollo arrives in October.
Logan’s mum, Amanda, said Logan and the whole family were very excited about Rollo’s imminent arrival and she felt that the dog would make a big difference to their lives, keeping Logan safe from dangers that he does not perceive.
Cohen Hadfield also has developmental delay, along with hearing impairment and complex epilepsy. He, too, 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.