A Wearside mum has appealed for help as she looks to give her daughter a companion who could change her life.
Four-year-old Reegan-lea Lewis, who suffers from autism, struggles to communicate and sleep because of her condition.
Her mum, Kerry-lea Robinson, is hoping to raise funds to buy an autism service dog, which is trained to help sufferers of autism gain independence and perform day-to-day activities.
Miss Robinson, who is a full-time carer for Reegan-lea and also a mum to Dylan, two, and Frankie-lea, aged seven months, expects the dog to cost in the region of £6,000. The 25-year-old, of Ashdown Road, Farringdon, Sunderland, thinks a service dog would be an ideal addition to her family, and help Reegan-lea hugely with her development.
Miss Robinson, who lives with partner Stephen Lewis, 28, said: “We can’t really go out as a family at the moment, as Reegan gets really upset and frustrated.
“She is non-verbal, so has no way of communicating what she needs. It is very difficult for her. Reegan also needs to wear special boots because she is on her tiptoes all the time. She can take up to three hours to get to sleep and will wake up in the night.
We’ve received lots of good advice that an autism service dog could help us massivelyKerry-lea Robinson
“She is delayed in all areas of her development, and we’ve received lots of good advice that an autism service dog could help massively.
“The dog is supposed to help with a number of things, such as sleeping and behaviour, and could release a lot of the pressure.”
Reegan-lea attends Sunningdale School, in Shaftoe Road, Springwell, Sunderland, which meets the needs of pupils with a range of learning difficulties.
Her mum is now hoping a positive change to Reegan-lea’s life can be provided.
She added: “A lot of people I’ve spoken to have said how much the dog has changed their lives, and they can’t believe how much it has helped.
“At the moment, Reegan gets very upset and frustrated because she isn’t able to tell us what she needs or what is wrong.
“She doesn’t cope very well on outings as a family, and we believe a service dog could change that, and help Reegan in her day-to-day struggles. Any donations to help us afford a service dog would be very greatly appreciated.”
To donate, visit www.letsgofundraise-uk.com/fundraiser_detail.php?fundid=204