A caring heart at home – St. Catherines Standard


On her hands and knees side-by-side with her brother, she taught him to crawl.

She was six years old. He was about a year-and-a-half and living with autism. She put him on his hands and knees and moved his hands and legs one at a time. Again and again.

She modelled and he copied. One movement, one accomplishment at a time.

The experts said he’d likely never do it. Or walk. Or talk for that matter.

Taylor didn’t believe it.

“I thought it would be cool. They said all that, but I thought maybe I could get him to do it,” says 15-year-old Taylor Allen.

And one day he did.

She got her brother, Alex Knechtel, walking, too. She showed him how to sit on his legs, lift up his butt and shuffle about on his knees. They progressed to standing face-to-face, on his feet. Then she let go.

It took some six months to coax him over the threshold, onto the front porch.

And then it took a chocolate labradoodle service dog named Buddy to give him the confidence to walk outside. Alex wore a waist belt that clipped into Buddy’s vest.