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autism Guiding Lachlan When Autism Assistance Dog Zeke came into Lachlan Masters’ life, the dog changed the young boy’s world. I n the five-and-a-half years since the Adelaide family was matched completely, so I put the kids (Lachlan was what it was like. We couldn’t go anywhere, we were stuck.” with Zeke through Guide Dogs and his brother Bailey) in the car … well SA/NT, the changes for Lachlan – I couldn’t get Lachlan in the car at first, from Guide Dogs SA/NT’s Autism and the whole family – have been it took about 45 minutes,” Judy recalls. Assistance Dog program, she hadn’t “phenomenal”, according to Lachlan’s mother, Judy Masters. “When we got to Coles, I put him in the trolley so he didn’t take off and When Judy met with staff slept “in I don’t know how long”. The process to be matched with “Lachlan was diagnosed with the whole way through Coles he was Zeke took about 18 months and was severe autism at 18 months. He was screaming and yelling, ripping things very comprehensive. It included initial completely non-verbal; he would from shelves, and people were making visits to the Masters’ home to make spin in circles, run full pelt, slam his rude comments. At the check-out, he sure the house and yard were suitable, head on the floor, bite us, punch got out of the trolley and ran across meeting with different dogs to ensure us, because he was just trapped, he the scanner. the right match was found for the couldn’t get out what he wanted to say,” she said. “When we got out to the car park, family, and intensive training for Judy I couldn’t get him back in the car, we and Zeke including Public Access were in the car park for an hour, and Certification training and Bronze Paw dangerous as Lachlan, now aged nine, then when we got home he threw (higher level training). A Guide Dogs would run off in front of cars. Trips to himself on the ground outside. There SA/NT trainer worked with the family the supermarket were impossible – was a two-hour meltdown with things every day for three weeks to ensure though they tried, once. being thrown and smashed … that the family and Zeke could successfully Going to the playground was too 22 “I was out of toilet paper autism linkonline.com.au