The Story of Joshua and Journey

Joshua, a seven-year-old middle child of five kids, is always asking questions and in constant motion. “He is precious,” says his mom. And he also happens to be autistic. Joshua could not speak until he was four-years-old. Joshua also has cerebral palsy and used to flap his arms and hands uncontrollably at the sight or mere thought of a ceiling fan. However, if you met Joshua today, you would not be able to tell any of this.
In fact, you would meet a smart and curious little boy who learned his academics and speech from years of therapy through the Early Autism Project. After all of these lessons, the only “difference” you could tell in Joshua was that he was still very indifferent and unemotional. That was until he met a dog named Journey… and had the opportunity to read to him.

A few weeks after Joshua began reading to Journey, “He became interested in his own pets as well. He also started talking to, loving and interacting with his dog and cat,” shares Joshua’s mom. Joshua even bridged the gap between his care for animals and for his family. “He began to care if the baby cried and feel happy when I smiled. Journey helped Joshua feel empathy!” Joshua’s mom said.

Better World Books recently granted Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.), the group which works with Joshua and Journey, funds to hold 10 new R.E.A.D. training workshops around the country and to provide scholarships to train and qualify 5 additional R.E.A.D. instructors.  This will help establish many more local programs throughout the U.S. to help meet the ever-increasing demand from schools and libraries. Thousands more children could benefit from the joyful experience of reading with a dog.

Do you have a story similar to Joshua and Journey’s? We’d love to for you to share it below!

To learn more about our partnership with R.E.A.D, check out the LEAP Grant page.

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