It shows her dog Samson comforting her during a “meltdown”, because she wanted people to see what it’s like to have Asperger’s syndrome, one type of autism spectrum disorder.
Danielle told BuzzFeed News that she got Samson, a 4-year-old rottweiler, from HALO animal rescue in Phoenix after several evaluations and assessments.
She said: “I immediately began training him for service work for Asperger’s syndrome, PTSD, TBI, and anxiety disorder. He alerts to meltdowns, anger, depressive episodes, flashbacks and nightmares, stimming, provides balance and counterbalance, and alerts to panic attacks.”
Danielle says that Asperger’s syndrome affects “both children and adults in social situations.” She says people with Asperger’s syndrome “are on the high-functioning end of autism and carry a few traits as those with classic autism such as [having] meltdowns … [and] repetitive speech and behaviour.”
However, she adds, “People with Asperger’s syndrome have a wide set of language skills: They can be [academically] smart and often … ahead of their class.”
Jacobs told BuzzFeed News she was diagnosed in May 2013 and is hoping to raise awareness about her experiences.
“What I’d like the public to know is that child or adult in a store screaming or kicking and crying may not [be] having a tantrum because he’s not getting his or her way – it may be because the lights are hurting him because it’s too bright, the smells in the store [are] too strong, and it’s too loud for his ears, and the only way to express himself is through a meltdown,” she explained.
Jacobs added that people shouldn’t offer parenting advice or say how children need to be disciplined because acting in this way is a “form of expression” for people with Asperger’s syndrome.
“Someone once told me that people with Asperger’s or autism are like a computer,” she said. “There’s too much input [and] not enough output – [you] lose power and crash.”