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.
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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.