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Taylor Swift's huge donation just got my son with autism a service dog

This guest post is by Allison Hill who’s son Jacob is on the autism spectrum. Recently Allison’s family received a huge act of kindness by pop-sensation Taylor Swift who gave a $10,000 donation to help Jacob receive a service dog. This is their story…

Autism affects people in many different ways.  For my son, simple daily activities are challenging.  Jacob often tries to elope from safety.  He has no sense of danger and is drawn to moving vehicles and water.  Although he has some speech, he cannot ask for help or know how to return home if he wanders away.

For this reason, our family is always on high alert. We assign someone to Jacob at all hours of the day.  We’ve had to deadbolt our doors, put alarms on all the windows and even attach a GPS tracker to Jacob. When our family goes out in public, either my husband or I have to hold him to keep him safe.  Now that Jacob is getting bigger and wanting more independence we decided to apply for a service dog program through Autism Service Dogs of America. 

Service dogs can change the lives of individuals with autism. They serve as an emotional and physical anchor to keep the child safe from wandering. They also are trained to apply deep pressure upon command to decrease anxiety.

We were overjoyed to hear that we were accepted into the service dog program.

For the last several years, my daughter and her cousin have found unique ways to raise money for Autism Speaks.  They have held lemonade and snow cone stands and this past year they re-wrote a popular Taylor Swift song that was highlighted on Autismspeaks.org that raised over $1,000 for the charity.

After they found out Jacob was accepted in the service dog program and that we needed to raise $13,500 for the dog, they immediately went to work on another song. They spent days writing and producing another take on a Taylor Swift song. 

Surprisingly, Taylor Swift saw their song and donated $10,000 for Jacob’s service dog and left a sweet note saying, “Jacob, we hope you love your new dog! Please tell your cousins that they did a great job on the song! Love, Taylor and Andrea Swift”

Words could never express our gratitude to Taylor and Andrea Swift for their generosity. My son’s life and our family will forever be changed with this service dog.  We just feel incredibly thankful and blessed and I know that if my son could, he would certainly tell Taylor Swift thank you.

Jordan and Makaylee’s dedication to helping people with autism certainly paid off and they are beyond excited that Taylor Swift said she liked their video! As Jordan’s mom, I am so thankful that their selflessness was rewarded in such a remarkable way and I am speechless that there are people out there like Taylor Swift willing to do something this amazing for a complete stranger.

Thank you, Taylor and Andrea Swift. A thousand times, thank you.

This isn’t the first time Swift has been in the news for her work in the autism community. Last year, Swift invited Jacob Velazquez, a 8-year-old piano prodigy with autism to her world tour to meet her when his piano medley of her songs went viral. Today we’d like thank her for her efforts.  You can thank Swift directly for doing this for Jacob on Twitter @TaylorSwift13 here.

Autism Speaks wants to remind families of the resources available and the advice to follow to keep your loved ones safe. You can read more about our wandering resources here

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.