Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Agree to Disagree?

Photo from 4 Paws for Ability website

A local family is battling their autistic child's school. It seems that the district is opposed to the child bringing his service dog to class. The parents say the dog allows their child to remain more calm and able to work, particurly in stressful situations.

There are a multitude of arguments on both sides. Some of the questions raised are: Will the dog be a distraction to other students? Could it inflame allergies? Who will assist in giving the dog water and/or potty breaks? Opponents argue that the dog is a therapy dog as opposed to a service dog...with the difference being that a service dog legally may not be barred from public places, while there is no such protection for a therapy dog.

According to organizations such as 4 Paws for Ability, the dogs trained for autistic children are, in fact, service dogs, and therefore protected.

So far, a judge has ruled in favor of the family.

So should the school district adapt or continue to fight?

For now, whether they agree or not, the courts have given the district an answer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can see valid arguments on both sides of this debate, but I think anything that might assist an autistic child to do well at school has to be encouraged, it at all possible.

In my senior school, the art teacher brought her Jack Russell to school each day and he wasn't too bad a distraction.