Mother Bursts Into Tears And Is Left Speechless When Her Son With Autism Makes His First Friend


Shanna Niehaus has watched her 5-year-old son struggle with social interactions for a while now. Due to his autism, he is very shy and has a hard time making friends. The Niehaus’ moved from America to Japan, and have been waiting two years for the day that their little boy could meet his new service dog, Tornado. Tornado was provided by 4 Paws For Ability, a non-profit which pairs special needs children with service animals.

Finally, that day has come. Recently, Tornado and the little boy got to meet for the first time. The heartwarming moments that followed left Niehaus in tears. It went better than expected, and her son and Tornado bonded instantly.

In the picture below, you can see Niehaus sitting on the floor with her hand over her mouth, crying tears of joy after watching her son and Tornado together.

Shanna Niehaus. Facebook/lovewhatmatters

Shanna Niehaus. Facebook/lovewhatmatters

Niehaus shared the beautiful moment on the Love What Matters Facebook page, with a heart-touching message describing it:

“This picture captures the face of a mother who saw her child, who she can’t hug, wash, dress, snuggle and touch freely lay on his new service dog of his own free will, with a purposeful, unspoken attachment. This is the face of a mom who has seen her son experience countless failed social interactions on the playground in an attempt to have a friend. Any friend. Any kind of connection. She has sat with her son while he has cried at night for months because he has no consistent connections outside of the family no matter how hard he tries and no matter what he works hard on in his Autism therapies. It doesn’t transfer to the natural occurring world for him. And now she is sitting behind her son silently watching this moment, with the air sucked from her lungs, and no words to say.

It’s worth every fight for services for my son, every diagnosis, every new provider, every dollar spent, every paper filled out, every school meeting, every shed tear, every step forward, every step back, and every wonder of the unknown future. Somehow because of this — because of Tornado — I know everything will be okay. As a mother, I have seen countless challenging and painful moments my son has encountered and cried countless more. Yesterday however, I cried for a different reason. It is a feeling that is indescribable.”

Click here to learn more about 4 Paws For Ability, and to find out how you can help make more pairings like this one happen!

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