Va. family seeking service dog for their autistic child - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Va. family seeking service dog for their autistic child

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Eiji Hoffman Eiji Hoffman

A Virginia mom says she wouldn't change a thing about her son with specials needs. There is something she would like to give him, but it's something she can't afford.

From the moment he was born, Amy Hoffman had a feeling there was something different about her son.

“He was at least four weeks old before he ever opened his eyes,” she said.

His name is Eiji. He eventually opened his eyes, but he wouldn't eat or sleep. As he got older, he was admitted to the hospital for IVs to hydrate him.

Eiji is almost four years old now and has been diagnosed with severe autism. He can't speak much, but certainly knows his shapes and colors.

He likes cruising around the house with his little brother, but has trouble relating to other children.

“Kids make fun of him,” said Amy. “They run away from him. They call him names.”

But what worries them most is what happens when Eiji gets upset.

“When Eiji goes into meltdown, he hurts himself,” said his mother. “He beats his head on the floor. He punches his face.”

“Nothing will move you to tears like watching your baby hurt themselves,” she added.

Eiji's parents say there is one thing that really calms him down --dogs. So they have teamed with a non-profit called 4 Paws for Ability. They work with puppies and train them to be service dogs.

Like a lot of kids with autism, Eiji thrives on routine. Anything such as a stranger or a loud noise can throw him off and send him into a meltdown.

His mom believes a dog would help get him back on the path.

“The dog will be able to distract him, to stop the behavior, because they do reminders, they'll nudge and get up in his face and start licking him and pull him out of that,” Amy said.

Eiji's mom is a nanny. His dad works seven days a week as a security guard. The family has to raise $13,000 of the $22,000 it costs the non-profit to train an autism service dog.

The training takes one year. They hope to raise the money quickly and make next Christmas Eiji's best ever.

If you would like to make a donation to help Eiji, go to

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