Alex + Meatball

Alex is Lily’s next-door neighbor.  They’ve known each other since their mothers attended “Mommy and Me” classes together.  

Although Alex has autism spectrum disorder, and forming friendships can sometimes be challenging, he has a special relationship with Lily.  Alex is fully mainstreamed in a class where half the students are special needs and half the students are typically developing.

He is sensitive to loud sounds and crowds, so he puts on his earphones when the noise around him is too challenging and bothersome.

Alex helps Lily and his other friends solve problems, especially those that involve electronics. Alex is Mr. Fix-It at home, in Lily’s house and at school.

Alex and Lily are best “Buds.”  He is fascinated by her “out of the box ideas,” especially those pertaining to her organic garden, chicken coops and beehives.

Alex’s parents surprised him over the summer with a new dog he named Meatball.

Meatball is a service dog and gives Alex comfort and keeps him calm when faced with situations that may make him uncomfortable, especially when Lily isn’t around.

Meatball wears his vest, is very friendly and welcomes kids to pet him and embrace Alex in a friendly way.  He intercedes, though, when kids tend to get too excited or rambunctious around Alex.

Alex sets up obstacle courses in Lily’s backyard so he and Meatball can get exercise. When Alex gets fatigued, he lies down on Meatball who provides him with comfort and a respite from too much activity.

Meatball is like another student (dog) at the school.  Wherever Alex is or whatever he’s doing, Meatball is right by his side to participate in the same activities.

Meatball is our fun-loving, four-legged superhero that helps Alex navigate the real world and engage with other students.