The coronavirus pandemic has halted regular life for many, and the change in routine has been a particular struggle for people with autism.
20-year-old Kaitlin Flaherty is making it through with help from her service dog, Chester. Because Flaherty is non-verbal, Chester offers her opportunities of independence and safety.
"The dog has brought normalcy to our lives," said Nancy Flaherty, Kaitlin's mom.
Without her normal school return and classes to attend, Flaherty is anxious and turning to Chester's hugs and kisses even more to calm down.
Chester was a gift from Blue Path, a New York-based non-profit that trains dogs and gives them to people with autism for free.
In the last three years, Blue Path has paired dogs with more than 100 tri-state families.