I’ve posted many times about service dogs, how expensive they are to train, and how valuable they are to the people they assist. It’s inconceivable to me that a school district is now in front of the courts, trying to ban an assistance dog from attending school with his autistic charge, a six-year old boy.
Regular readers may remember that I have disabled children, one of whom was just short of being diagnosed as autistic when he was young. We’ve never had assistance dogs, but I can vouch for the effect my dogs have had on my children when they are upset. I can also attest to the importance of providing continuity between home and school for autistic children, to prevent them from having melt downs due to a changing environment.
According to an article in the Chicago Special Education Examiner, the Villa Grove school district is seeking to ban Kaleb from bringing his service dog to school, citing other children’s allergies or fear of dogs. The school also says the dog is merely a “pet” and no one else is allowed to bring their pets to school on a regular basis.
Kaleb’s parents, on the other hand, say that the dog “has been a calming influence on their son, provides a constant from home to school that makes their son feel safe, and is actually tethered to the boy to keep him from running away or walking out into the street.”
A judge has ordered that the school allow the service dog to attend with Kaleb while the case works its way through the court system, with a hearing scheduled for November. I’ll try to remember to follow up on this & let you know what the final ruling is. Here’s hoping Kaleb is afforded his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For more information on assistance dogs for autistic persons, click here.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!