Friday, March 30, 2012

April is Autism Awareness Month 2012: Service Dogs and Autism

While looking for the latest and greatest information on Autism and Service Dogs I stumbled across this post Another Fleecing of the Autism Community, Service Dog Edition about a now defunct program that took advantage of families with children on the spectrum. A problem that is sadly too common in my opinion, because it is very easy to get people to open their wallets for anything that might help these beautiful children and their families are often desperate to find anything that might help their child. More interesting than the article itself to me was a comment posted in response by Patty Dobbs of North Star Foundation,
" I want to mention that Siberian huskies are not a good choice for a child with autism, as their breeding does not lend them the necessary qualities to help them relate and communicate gently with a child on the autism spectrum. (Golden retrievers are much better suited to this work temperamentally...we breed several sound lines of Goldens that are superior temperamentally for work with children with autism.)
There is great danger in this field if children with autism are partnered with a dog that does not have the correct temperament to work with them...improper or nonexistent socialization of the dog slated for service work is also dangerous for the child. This is a service rich field, and it is not just about the training a dog receives or the facility they grow up within to keep the placement safe as well as effective."
This comment started me off on looking for articles providing food for thought for families with members living on the autism spectrum.

Food for Thought on Autism Service Dogs

In Service Dogs and Autism, world renowned Autism and Animals advocate Temple Grandin says,
"The use of service, or assistance, dogs with spectrum children is gaining popularity. However, this is a complicated issue. Unlike other autism interventions that can be more easily started and stopped, embarking on the journey to find an appropriate service dog for a child is a long-term commitment on the part of the entire family. A service dog is much more than a well-trained pet."
She goes on to discuss the sensory issues that come with dogs that may turn a child with autism off to a service dog and the different levels of support dogs can be trained to provide families and children on the spectrum. As a follow up piece to this one Temple wrote Questions to Ask When Selecting a Service Dog Provider, a good list of question for any family considering a service dog to use and think about what answer would be acceptable and not. 

In Service Dogs Aid People With Autism, Merope Pavlides, a  Certified Pet Dog Trainer and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, as well as the mother of a son with autism discusses the common roles of a service dog placed with a child with autism and the pros and cons of such placements for families.

From The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism I found an Autism Service Dogs article 
by Sarah Oriel about her experiences in obtaining and working with a service dog for her son who has autism.  More can be found about her family's journey into the world of service dogs on her blog Planet Josh under the Paws and Effect .

From Service Dog Central, a cross disability community of service dog partners, their families and other allies Autism Service Dogs, multifaceted portal of information and issues surrounding service dogs for people with autism compiled by the members of the community living on or with someone who is on the autism spectrum.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Upcoming Teleconference: No pets allowed: Service Animals and Post Secondary Institutions

March 20, 2012»No pets allowed: Service Animals and Post Secondary Institutions

Time: 11:00a.m. -12:30p.m. PST

Recent revisions to the regulations implementing Title II and III of the ADA have raised increased focus on the issue of service animals in a variety of settings. Post secondary institutions face unique challenges around these issues when it comes to their policies and procedures regarding service animals in student housing, classroom and public spaces. This session will explore the different scenarios that often play out in post secondary education and discuss the interplay between laws governing non-discrimination in housing versus equal access to programs and services. Join this panel of presenters for a discussion of the issues and engage with them in an interactive question and answer period.
Certificate of Attendance/ CEUs offered for those participating in the live teleconference for the following fees: 

For-Profit Entities

Single Session

  • Teleconference: $40.00
  • Real-time Text Captioning (via Elluminate Live Platform): Free
  • Real-time Streaming Audio (via Elluminate Live Platform): Free

Not-for-Profit Entities

The non-profit discount is available to education, government and service agencies operating on a not-for-profit status.

Single Session

  • Teleconference: $25.00
  • Real-time Text Captioning (via Elluminate Live Platform): Free
  • Real-time Streaming Audio (via Elluminate Live Platform): Free

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

News:Oregon Assistance Dogs Fundraiser Tonight!

Oregon Assistance Dogs is hosting a fundraiser to support their many teams in training at the Pappy's Pizza in Eugene all day today! Simply download this flyer and bring it with you when you visit Pappy's today and Oregon Assistance dogs will receive 50% of proceeds from your order!
Please note distributing the flyer on site is not permitted, so make sure to stuff a copy in your pocket or purse.

Friday, March 2, 2012

News: Puppies too frisky for ADA shelter - Lexology

A Burger King franchise was sued recently for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when an owner and his service dog-in-training were asked to leave the restaurant. A federal district court in California sided with Burger King and dismissed the case in the last few weeks. The court focused on whether the puppy, a 13-week-old Great Dane named Barack, was actually a service dog under the ADA. [ . . . Section Explaining what a service dog is under the law. . . ]
The restaurant asserted that Barack the Great Dane puppy was not fully trained as a service animal and only had basic obedience training. His owner, who was training the puppy to assist him with walking and balancing, countered that the puppy had a service dog tag from the county that was issued prior to the restaurant visit. The restaurant provided expert testimony that the puppy still had a “playful streak” and was too young to have complete control over its bladder and bowels for extended training periods.
However, the court focused on the fact that although the owner stated that the puppy was being trained to assist him with walking and balance, the puppy was not large enough at that point to assist with walking and balancing. According to the restaurant’s expert, the owner could have actually injured himself and the puppy if he had leaned on the puppy for balance. The court found that the puppy was not a service dog, because it had not been trained to perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability, and the work or tasks performed by a service dog must be directly related to the individual’s disability. . . Although the Burger King case is an example that hospitality providers do not have to give unfettered access to customers with animals represented as service animals, they should exercise caution and common sense when encountering individuals with service animals. Read full Article Puppies too frisky for ADA shelter - Lexology