(soft music) – Rett syndrome is a neurological condition. It’s like Parkinson’s disease, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Epilepsy, all in one little girl. Olivia is my special needs daughter. She is 11 years old and she has Rett Syndrome. She can walk and talk but she could wake up tomorrow and have none of that. That could all be gone. Her seizures have intensified. Olivia struggles socially. She’s also much younger inside than she is on the outside. So, that was a huge challenge for us is to find her friends that are her age. – When Olivia first came, that was on the peak of one of her seizure episodes, and so Olivia was a little bit all over the place. As she gets up in the grades the curriculum gets more challenging and so we really need her to stay focused. – Believe it or not, there’s not a lot of options for service dogs for children who have disabilities. And most companies have a huge four or five year wait. But four or five years for Olivia means loss of mobility, loss of speech, loss of purposeful hand motions. I found Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers.I needed to make sure that I had a team of people behind me. And I wasn’t by myself. It’s whatever makes my life easier. Whatever makes Olivia’s life easier. And you know, they just kind of mingle in with your family. And it’s wonderful. I spoke to a few companies. And just when I hung up with the trainers, I was like yes this is the best decision for my child. This is the route that we’re gonna take. The most important conversation that I had was trying to find the best service dog for Olivia. Because she falls under two categories. She falls under the Autism dog and then she also falls under the seizure response dog. So, I expressed my concerns. He asked me what was most important to me as a parent. What I needed. And at the time Olivia had severe elopement where she would run out the front door. So that was the most important. And he said that the dog could be tailored, as he got to know her, to pick up on her seizures.Romeo has come to us as a Autism dog first and a seizure response dog within just a couple of weeks. And it was just easy. The most wonderful thing about our community is they’ve just embraced every part of my daughter’s disability and the fact that we have Romeo. They helped us raise money for him. I have community support. I have school support. – We did some fundraising for Olivia. And we did these paw prints and kids colored them. And we got donations. And so this fundraiser grew into the other elementary schools as well. And then Olivia’s mom went and talked to a local DJ in Boston and they put it on the radio and then she got all the rest of the funds that she needed. Olivia has a couple of disorders that the dog now helps us to understand, or to know when those things are happening so that we can bring her right down to the nurse and so we’re not missing anything. Romeo goes right up to the front of the class and tells the teacher.And then she can get the medical attention that she needs. Olivia struggled socially until we got Romeo. Now she has friends. They both get invited to birthday parties. They both did picture day at school. – They did get both their pictures in the year book, and when we do school pictures they’re always together and then this is Olivia’s last year here in this building before she moves on to middle school and I’m sure there’ll be many things in the year book with Romeo because he really is just part of the family here. All the students in the classroom really take to Romeo and when we had a new student tour the building earlier this week Romeo was part of the introductions just like anybody else in the classroom. – Romeo is always her friend. No matter if she’s having a bad day, if she can’t talk, he’s just always her friend. So it’s definitely broadened her horizons a little bit. She’s integrating into a typical classroom more often because she has Romeo.- Now that Olivia has Romeo and he’s in the classroom she’s doing fabulous and I see her growing as a student more and more every day. She’s dedicated to what she puts her mind to. She’s very strong and I can see her going wherever she wants to. – She’s just started dancing school. She is on a cheerleading team. She does all these things since we’ve gotten Romeo. I think it just boosted her confidence so much that she can go out and she can do things and she doesn’t need to have that anxiety. She has Romeo to help her get through it. .