Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review of Disability Studies Editor Shares Encounter betwwen Hearing Dog & Autistic Child

In her editorial, Into the Light, Megan A. Conway, Ph.D. RDS Managing Editor shares an encounter she and her hearing dog had with a child living on the autism spectrum while visiting her daughter's class:
 After the story and a handful of eager questions from my audience such as, "What happens when Buddy has to go to the bathroom?" I sat with my dog while the children came up one by one to pet him. At last it was Mary's turn, and the aide manhandled her to the front of the room while Mary, not surprisingly given that her hand was being given as an offering to a large furry animal with sharp white teeth, was resisting. "No, no," wailed Mary, pulling away as the aide stood behind her, blocking her exit and shoving her towards me. "Hey," I said, "Let her go. She doesn't have to pet the dog. Step away aide! Mary can come on her own if she wants to."
The aide was in such shock she actually did what I said. She stepped back, ready to pounce on
Mary if necessary, but releasing her arm from the death grip.
Mary got the most wonderful expression on her face. She stood there, surrounded by empty space, free, for a split second, to decide. And of course, as I had expected, she decided to come forward. She reached out her arm and she patted the dog, and then she gave me a great big smile, full of light, full of understanding.
Read the entire article
This article is a great reminder children and animals should never be forced to interact and that a non-compliance is a vital part of self determination!

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