I have to share this picture, and this wonderful, heartlifting story. This is Kainoa Niehaus, and he just got his autism service dog. That's his mother behind him, watching the son that can't abide touch - the son who won't let her or anyone hug him or hold him close - cozy up to his new best friend, without any prompting, and without any reservations. Her face says it all, and so does his.
His mother Shanna detailed her feelings out in the post that accompanied the picture:
See this moment? I've never experienced a moment like this.This picture captures the face of a mother who saw her child, who she can't hug, wash, dress, snuggle and touch freely lay on his new service dog of his own free will, with a purposeful, unspoken attachment.This is the face of a mom who has seen her son experience countless failed social interactions on the playground in an attempt to have a friend. Any friend. Any kind of connection.She has sat with her son while he has cried at night for months because he has no consistent connections outside of the family no matter how hard he tries and no matter what he works hard on in his Autism therapies.
It doesn't transfer to the natural occurring world for him. And now she is sitting behind her son silently watching this moment, with the air sucked from her lungs, and no words to say.
You can find Shanna's original post on the Love What Matters Facebook Page.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get another box of Kleenex.