A mother's perspective. Jessica who is the mother of three children shares the story of her son Liam and his Autism Assistance Dog Dumas.
Opening card: Large yellow lab resting on the carpet. Title Card-Liam and Dumas
Liam and Dumas
Scene 1 & 2: Children playing in the backyard with toys-Card Approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Scene 3-Wide shot of Liam on his toy tractor, sister nearby-Card 2 Autism assistance dogs and their positive impact on children and families is growing in popularity
Scene 4-Close up of Liam playing with his truck, beautiful blue eyes shining through. Card 4 This is one family's story
Story continues to feature Liam's older brother and his younger sister-lovely shots of the children playing and connecting with one another.
Their mother Jessica describes each child.
Cade is 7 1/2, Liam turned 6 in August and Zoe turned 2 in June
Jessica: voiceover and cc
Cade is in his bedroom and playing throughout the home.
Cade is funny. Cade is kinda all over the place. He's a huge helper. He's the oldest and he's a great big brother.
And Liam is a goofball-Liam is running all over the backyard- He's a big oaf,just like Dumas and he's so genuine. He tries to lie, ‘cause he hates doing. He can’t do it and he just doesn’t get it.
And then Zoey’s the princess-(Zoey is on her slide) You, know the youngest the only girl. She knows it (throughout this section Zoey is laughing and running around the yard). And she’s cute.
No is her favorite word (She’s playing with Duma’s vest)
Do you want to take a nap? Zoey joyfully say’s know while sitting on Jessica’s lap
Title cards appear: Liam was diagnosed with ASD at three years old.
Jessica has been a single mother since Zoey’s birth.
Jessica begins to describe her life-scenes of her working at her laptop and in the kitchen with Liam while he is having a breakdown. Scenes of family.
I originally started going to Rogue Community College for nursing, I started that before Liam’s diagnosis.
I can’t go to nursing school and have a child who can’t go to a typical daycare, that just wasn’t going to happen. So I changed it and I was like alright let’s go-Human Development and Family Sciences and focus on how I can help other families not feel so isolated. Going for my Bachelor’s and then a Master’s in Counseling to be a counselor for families whose children experience autism. That’s the goal. You seem to really understand somebody a lot more when they’ve lived it and they have experienced the same that you have.
Scene of Jessica in the backyard with her children. Swinging. Children laughing, Jessica huge smile on her face. Scene continue has Jessica continues:
I’ve been in the trenches, I know what it feels like and this is just a chapter in a whole volume of books of your family and your life and you don’t have to be alone in it.
New Scene-Jessica and Liam reviewing homework
Jessica: I heard about Dogs for Better Lives through an email from Developmental Disability Services. So, I was like, alright let’s try this. Liam’s love for animals and just how Liam is, this was going to be our miracle.
Scene: Bus pulls up to the curb. Jessica has Dumas with her meeting Liam
Jessica: When I got the email that they had a dog that they wanted to place with Liam and they thought it would be a good match. I was like, yes, let’s do this. And as soon as Dumas came in, yeah,
Cheerful music playing as they walk to their home. Liam’s tale wagging.
Jessica: I’m like, that’s Liam but in a blue vest and on a leash
Scene: Backyard Jessica playing fetch with Liam-He is very happy.
Jessica: He’s a part of the family, he’s Liam. They’re connected.
Liam is now observing the yard activity calmly.
Jessica: They’re two peas in a pod, they’re partners in crime.
Scene: Back in the family kitchen. Liam is feeding Dumas-part of his chores.
Jessica: But when Liam’s not around, Dumas is right on with everybody else. He’s a family member now, it’s not just that he only interacts with Liam which is what I initially thought
Scene: Dumas eating
Liam on the living room floor with Liam and Zoe
Jessica: Autism Assistance Dog was a serious business, serious training, he’s gonna be on it with Liam all the time, yeah he’s gonna do his dog stuff and play but I didn’t expect
Scene: Backyard children playing and interacting with Liam-older brother Cade is playing go fetch
Jessica: for him to really mold in with everybody and be that kind of caretaker for everyone else. But he really is. He goes and listens for when Zoey’s crying. He’s just on it.
Scene: Liam’s tail wagging as he sees Jessica and Liam
Jessica: And then when he gets his cape on, he’s super dog.
Scene: Liam with his vest on leaving the house through front dor.
Jessica: He’s a whole different dog when he’s got cape on than when he doesn’t
Scene: Children entering family van-beginning of a long road trip to Great America Amusement park -Freeway
Scene: Entrance to park
Jessica: Having Dumas is having the freedom to actually go and do things that people take for granted like going to a restaurant or going to an amusement park.
Scene: Family in line for the carousel -beautiful day several other rides in view
Jessica: We’re planning to go to Disneyland next year. And before we were hold up at home, because that’s the safe space that I’m comfortable with.
Liam calmly rides on the carousel while the children are enjoying the ride.
Jessica: I could control what was happening there. I knew Liam wasn’t going to get hurt or get our or run, I knew I could catch him. He was in a safe space.
Scene: Shot of Liam on a horse-then family walking at the park. Riding on a train.
Jessica: Now we have the ability to go to a friend’s birthday party at a park and I don’t feel like
Scene: Brothers exciting to be on the ride-laughing with joy sitting in the front car of the mini roller coaster.
Scene: Liam laughing with joy, in a car and airplane
Jessica: Liam’s going to take off because we have Dumas there. We can go out and live life and participate in things and not just be so stuck at home.
Scene: Liam and Cade are playing a hand game has the video wraps up. Dumas on Liam’s lap and he gets a big hug.
Jessica: The future’s still unknown, but it’s way more hopeful. There are so many more things we can go do and opportunities and the confidence that we have that we can go and do it and not be afraid to go and do it.
Last scene: Jessica. her sister and the children along with Liam in front of a fountain
Jessica: To go out and conquer the world. So long as we have each other, the five of us now, we can do anything.
Ending card-Dogs for Better Lives logo.