My son Chandler is 9 and he has a service dog through Assistance Dog Network in Oregon. He also is not allowed to take his dog to school here in the Corvallis school dist. He is now in home school. Even though the 5th grade teacher is allowed to raise a service dog in her classroom with the kids every year, they have still said No to Chandler attending with his service dog.
People always ask me "What does Cinder's do for your son?" This is sometimes a hard question because some people really actually want a list of dog skills. (seriously!) Most of these people are a little unhappy with the presence of a dog out in public places. (some are just curious) Even though we are protected by the ADA having a service animal in public, it seems that in the public eye, the jury is out on how acceptable a service dog is for someone with Autism.
May I just say, the affects Cinder's has had on our son are MORE by far, then just a list of commands, dog skills, and the hours of training. What is the real question? Are we questioning Autism being a real disability? Are we questioning the companies who provide service dogs? Should we as families be forced to "disclose" a disability in public? Why does the school district allow dogs for "mobility" (i.e. to help with a wheel chair, even if a child is high functioning or not) or "blindness", but not autism (high functioning or not)?
Just on a side issue... some "companion" dogs and some "therapy" dogs out there have given ACTUAL service dogs (coming from a service dog provider) a bad name!!! Service dogs come from providers. They have done hours of training, tests, and have to be retested to maintain their status. I have heard of some companies that help you train your own service dog... I have no experience with these places, but if they pass their tests, in personality, training, etc. More power to ya!!
As for the goals my son in reguards to Cinders, they are geared towards safety, independence, keeping on task & behavior modification. Chandler's quality of life is SOOO much better now then before his service dog.
I thought about writing the effects that this brilliant dog has had on our child... but I don't think that is really the question. (i will tell anyone who is actually interested more then just to judge)
posted 3 years, 4 months ago
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