NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Autism affects one in 68 children and one in 42 boys. Now, a Tennessee family is using the help of a furry friend to disarm the disorder.
Brandon Slough is a 6-year-old boy who loves to run and play.
"He’s so funny. He’s very fun-loving," said his mom, Rachael.
When Brandon was a baby, his mom noticed something was different.
"By the time he was 17 months, we got a diagnosis for a developmental delay," she said.
Diagnosed with autism, Brandon's parents looked for a way to help their son navigate the world.
"He still not functionally verbal. He can say a few things here and there. He really struggles to communicate," she said.
That's when Brandon met Bingo.
"It’s just been amazing to watch Brandon put his arm around him," she said.
Bingo is a specially-trained service dog from 4 Paws for Ability.
"They’re located in Ohio, and they provide service dogs to children," she said.
Bingo helps disrupt some of Brandon's episodes.
"Sometimes he has meltdowns. Sometimes he throws himself on the floor," she said.
He's even able to track Brandon in case he runs off. Training was not easy, and Bingo was not cheap. The family raised about $15,000 towards the $40,000 dog.
But now Brandon has a friend and a guardian who goes everywhere his boy goes -- to school and the mall.
"I had the security of knowing he was gonna stay with us," she said.
Rachael is writing a blog about Brandon and Bingo. For more information click here.