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When my son Jack was only five years old, he went missing for an afternoon. My husband, Jack’s grandparents, and I were terrified. In those hours, I imagined the worst. We were near a lake. We were near a highway. We were near the woods. Jack’s autism locked him out of most awarenesses that could keep him safe around these areas. The palpable fear returns to me now just writing this.

We had therapists, caregivers, and a supportive family as we navigated life with Jack’s autism. But after this incident, we needed something different. We needed Otis.

Otis was trained to become Jack’s service dog, and he spent ten years watching out for him alongside us. Most of Jack’s shirts had small holes near the waistline where Otis would gently grab and redirect our son. He went with Jack everywhere and alerted us always of any danger. Otis was an all-loving, fiercely loyal part of our family and truly Jack’s best friend.

Losing Otis was heartbreaking, but Jack had grown over that decade and learned much. His time at Turning Pointe school improved Jack’s independence and communication. Otis’s regular guidance was not as critical, but we missed him dearly. When Turning Pointe Autism Foundation turned ten, they adopted Otis as their school mascot in his honor. In this way, he stayed a part of our lives.

And this month, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, Otis can become part of your life. You can support children and adults like Jack by buying a t-shirt with Otis’ likeness on it. A young adult with autism drew this version of Otis. 

Mission

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation creates opportunities and programs to educate individuals with autism through proven interventions to increase independence, encourage meaningful lifelong pursuits, and enrich the community at large.

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation
1500 West Ogden Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation
1500 West Ogden Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation is an endorsed Center for Autism accredited by the IBCCES.

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