Autistic boy's dog...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Have you ladies heard of this story? (It's on CNN's headlin news -the Nancy Grace show- this hour sometime.) Apparently a family found that a specially trained dog helped keep her autistic son frombeing explosive or melting down, so they started sending the dog to school with him. The school district said the dog can't return- the parents have taken it to the dept of justice.

    First interesting point to me: I think it's a great idea to try a trained companion/therapeutic dog staying with our difficult child's instead of just being lucky if we can get them access for an hour every week or so- that has been hard enough for parents to find.

    Second interesting point to me: The child has a disability; the dog is a necessary "aide", just like if the child were blind and it was a seeing eye dog, in my humble opinion- the school district doesn't want to deal with the dog? Do they have a full time aide that can help the child more that cost them less that they are providing? I think they should win this case. I guess they are going thru the DOJ because they oversee the federal law pertaining to disability discrimination (ADA).
     
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Where was this?
     
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    They haven't shown the whole story yet- it's supposed to air during this Nancy Grace show that is on right now but they haven't gotten to this story yet- I just saw the previews.
     
  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    never mind.... I found it.

    I have a very close friend who is also a lawyer...not in OR, but I'm going to forward it to him anyway.
     
  5. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I was in such a rush to forward this off to him that I forgot to say that this lawyer friend also has a dog that is specifically trained for his autistic son. I sent him the link.
     
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok- it sounds like the problem is that service dogs are for the physically handicapped, while therapeutic dogs are for everybody else with other types of disabilities. I'd call that discrimination, but if it's written in ADA that needed service dogs are to be granted access to places but therapuetic dogs aren't, then they need to be changing that in ADA.
     
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That isnt written in ADA that way. At least I dont believe it is. I believe all dogs that are service dogs..therapeutic or for the blind or disabled...fall under that umbrella. I have heard of these dogs being used before in schools and going in to buildings and on public transportation.
     
  8. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I don't understand what the problem is. Theraputic or active.....this dog is a service dog plain and simple. The school is stupid. Would they ban a seeing eye dog for the health and safety of other students???
     
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    When I had the cattery, I had a gorgeous show kitten that I accidentally stepped on and broke his tail.

    He went to a home in Canada where they had planned on him being a family pet. They had daughter with CP who also had terrible seizures. Merlin turned out to have an uncanny ability to sense seizures up to a half hour before they occurred.

    He was trained to hit a speed dial button on a special phone to connect to EMS. He was a service cat in every sense of the word. He did exactly what seizure dogs are trained to do.

    If he had been a dog there weren't have been many problems, but people had a real problem with a disabled child being out and around with a CAT in her lap.

    We even tried to get Merlin certified, but with no success.
     
  10. Unless there is more to this story than is being told (which is almost always true) the school system is going to lose this one ,without a doubt. It is just sad that it will take time to hold their feet to the fire. Given that the boy is 9, it's possible that he'll be on to middle school before the case is finally adjudicated through all court levels. Congress has recently "toughened up" the ADA , and it's going to be years before the case law is fully developed. Eventually, though, he will be able to have his dog present at school.

    My boss has a companion dog - not a service dog. On occasion I have gone places with her where uneducated folks have attempted to bar the dog's entry (usually restaurants). She carries paperwork with her (actually the dog does in her vest) which outlines the laws concerning companion dogs. We've always been able to help these folks understand the situation, and usually everyone ends up having a good time. In my opinion, that school system needs better legal representation!

    Valerie
     
  11. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I hope it works; Merlin (a cat) wore the orange vest and had medical paperwork on him at all times. Canadian law is written for "service animals", but despite that, Merlin was barred from a lot of places, especially food service establishments.

    I was astonished when I heard that Merlin had appointed himself a service "dog", but I cannot see where he'd have been more objectionable than a dog. He didn't even walk on the floors. He rode on a sort of lap board across the arms of his owner's wheelchair.

    This child had life threatening seizures that required treatment with IV medications to break them. Having a service animal meant that the little girl could be gotten to the hospital or medicated before the seizure actually happened.

    Interestingly, Merlin's mother could detect when husband's blood counts were down and he needed a transfusion. Her entire behavior around him changed; she became clingly and extremely vocal.
     
  12. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Our family therapist suggested getting difficult child a service dog to help him settle himself, but difficult child is terrified of dogs. But, a CAT...now that would be great.
     
  13. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    It's a lot easier to train a dog, LoL. Labs and Goldens are really good at this sort of training. German Shepherds are as well, at least the non-aggressive ones, but not popular because they are higher maintenance and people tend to be afraid of them.

    In general, it's the hunting and herding breeds that excel at this because they are genetically programmed to think independently while giving trained responses.

    Cats CAN be trained, but can think TOO independently. Merlin taught himself to pick up on impending seizures. Doubtless he could sense some sort of change in chemistry or electrical impulses.

    From there it wasn't difficult to train him to press a button on a phone with an oversized keypad, or press the button on a Life Alert type device. That was simple behavior shaping. He did not pull a wheelchair or open doors or fetch dropped objects or any of the other usual "dog" stuff.

    Merlin's mother was very bonded to husband and incredibly sensitive to what was going on with him. I assume in her case she could smell the chemical changes that occurred with dangerously low blood counts. We didn't train her to do anything. She trained US to learn to respond to her behaviors.

    I know of one other cat of the same breed that did service work. He actually could retrieve small items (pencils, etc).
     
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I do know that increasingly, doctors in Australia are using dogs in their waiting rooms to sniff out potential skin cancers. There have been a number of cases where a dog identified a melanoma on its owner's leg, early enough to save the owner's life.

    Marg
     
  15. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I've heard too that some dogs are able to smell the urine chemicals given off by people with bladder cancers.

    I have a very dear friend whose tiny, mixed breed dog started constantly pawing at her breast.

    She then noticed it was "sore", but figured it was bruising from the dog's pawing. Her SO and I nagged her into going to the doctor and getting a mammogram done. Yep. Stage 1 breast cancer.

    She had a lumpectomy and radiation and is doing fine going on five years. She never would have known that early had it not been for that little dog.
     
  16. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    The way I see it this dog is an official 'service dog'. I'm not sure what they call it in Canada or the US but in Australia these dog's owners are protected under the same rules that protect the owner's of the more conventional see-eye dog used by a blind person.

    It actually an offence to restrict the access of these dogs except under certain very stringently defined circumstances. Unfortunately you run into some idiot who thinks they know the law and get it wrong.

    The only remedy is to 'educate' them after the event to hopefully stop them doing it to someone else. Marg and I would be going after these people with every weapon at our disposal.

    Marg's Man
     
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