Friday, March 17, 2017
In Focus episode 1: Service dog helps woman navigate life with autism
In the first episode of In Focus, producer Ben Flores talks with 25-year-old Lynsie Andreasky about living with autism. Lynsie was diagnosed with high-functioning autism when she was 16. Since then, she has faced a lot of challenges, including depression and overwhelming anxiety. Lynsie shares her personal story and how she has overcome challenges thanks to a service dog named Kaycee. We learn how even the smallest dogs are trained to help reduce anxiety and facilitate social interaction.
Autism is a condition that occurs in one in every 64 people born in Arizona , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it is often called an “invisible disability.” At a quick glance, it may be hard to identify someone who has autism.
On the inside, however, anxiety, social processing issues and other symptoms can make life for someone with autism extremely challenging.
These are challenges 25-year-old Lynsie Andreasky knows well. She was diagnosed with high-functioning autism when she was 16.
Lynsie has struggled with anxiety, social processing disorder and depression. Going out in public places was too overwhelming. She rarely left home without a parent with her.
But two years ago everything changed.
A six-year-old service dog named Kaycee came into Andreasky’s life. Through a service dog program called “Dandy Dawgs ,” Lynsie trained Kaycee to help reduce anxiety and improve social interaction.
Kaycee, a poodle-schnauzer mix, has enabled Lynsie to do things that she otherwise wouldn’t have thought about doing alone. She now has aspirations of going to school out of state after Yavapai College, and she can go to places like Target, the mall and her doctor’s office without her parents.
Lynsie’s mother, Trish Andreasky, is a special education teacher at Heritage Middle School in Chino Valley. She said Kaycee has made Lynsie much more in control of her condition.