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Old 01-06-2011, 04:42 PM
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Default School will give boy's dog a tryout

Article here:
School will give boy's dog a tryout

I think the school is being very smart with this, letting the family try out having the service dog at school, instead of outright saying no. It says the boy functions at a kindergarden level, I can understand their hesitancy about trusting the boy handle a dog by himself. Would you trust a person who functions at that level to handle a dog on their own? Should there be (is there?) an age cutoff for who can handle service dogs?
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:57 PM
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That is a tough decision to make! I'm really glad they are atleast allowing it to happen in the first place, and giving them a try-out. I think it'd be awesome for the boy to be able to have his service dog with him, should anything happen. I don't really have an opinion either way. I'm curious to read how it turns out.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:09 PM
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Definitely have mixed feelings. If a parent or adult caretaker is present then yes, but I don't like that they are planning to let him handle the dog solo after the two week evaluation is up.

Children SHOULD have an adult assistant. I see how the dog does something a human caregiver cannot (the detection and swiping the magnet), but I also think that given his age he should have an adult caregiver present to assist in managing the dog and him if any complications arise from his condition.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:11 PM
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I think it depends on the child, and the dog.
But in kindergarten, distraction would probably be the biggest piece... the other children would be very distracted by a dog in the classroom, especially at first.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:24 PM
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I'm with the school 100%. I saw on the news that the family is planning on having a protest becasue the school is "discriminating". I think they need to be realistic with their child's limitations.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:41 PM
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In the article it says that the father will be present.

I say it's downright silly to refuse a service dog access, especially when it performs a valuable task for this boy that a human can't possibly do. With an aide or the father assisting the young boy with handling the dog, I think it's fine.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:06 PM
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I'm not sure how I feel about it. Of course, from the politically correct standpoint, there should be no question that a service dog be allowed. However, from my understanding, the boy had a seizure while on TV recently...and the dog did nothing. The father wound up swiping the magnet himself. Nor did the dog alert to it before hand.

I think requiring a certified handler to be with the dog and the boy during the day is the ideal situation, but I also think that if the dog isn't alerting prior to the seizures, that there is no reason the teachers can't handle the swiping. All going off of the few articles I've read, of course. If the dog does more than that and it just isn't mentioned, obviously I may be very wrong.

I'm also not sure about allowing an animal into the schools if there are children with allergies. I can not believe how out of control some schools are about the rules these days; a child in my mother's class is allergic to eggs *only if she eats them*. The kid's parent has been very clear on that. Zero danger if she is near them, touches them, etc. And yet nobody in the entire area of the school is allowed to have anything with eggs in it for snack. A child with dog allergies and asthma could be in tough shape with big shepherd walking all over the school.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:52 PM
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I think this is an area some Autisim teams are also running into problems, because some schools are fighting parents/ the service dog organization on the childs EA having to take responsibility for the dog, including taking the dog out to the bathroom during breaks at school.

LGS is an awful condition that usually does leave a person with a lot of cognitive impairement and is paired with frequent seizure activity that usually can't be controlled by medication. Having his service dog come to school would be hugely beneficial for this little boy if the dog can be controlled by the boy but I can see both sides of it.

At least the school is open to working with the parents on the positive side of things.

I guess will just have to see how things go.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RD View Post
In the article it says that the father will be present.

I say it's downright silly to refuse a service dog access, especially when it performs a valuable task for this boy that a human can't possibly do. With an aide or the father assisting the young boy with handling the dog, I think it's fine.
See, what I gathered was he'd be present for the two week evaluation, but that he's going back to work and leaving the boy alone after that.

Quote:
Stevens said he has taken two weeks' leave from his Army intelligence job at Belvoir to ride the school bus and attend class with his son and the dog. He said he will use the time to show school staff and students that Andrew can safely handle the dog - a chief concern of the county.
I have a service dog, and I'm concerned about access issues as well. But service dogs are only there to mitigate a handler's disability. I don't think it's fair to expect a child to accept the responsibilities of being a service dog handler. The dogs aren't robots. Accidents can happen. We've had off leash dogs run up and attack Strider. What is the kid going to do if that happens? (and yes, it's not uncommon for loose dogs to end up on the playground at recess time). What's a kid going to do when his peers swarm the dog and try to pet it all day long? That's distracting to the dog, preventing it from working for him. Is he comfortable telling them to stop? Is it the teacher's responsibility to make sure nobody touches his dog? IMO, it's the responsibility of the handler to prevent people from approaching their dog. If someone is unable or unwilling to do that, then a service dog is probably not the right solution for them.

Minors, ANY minors, and especially disabled ones, should have dependable adult human caregivers.

I think for minors service dogs and emotional support dogs are an excellent tool for treatment. BUT, that's only with the guidance of a qualified adult. I have no problem with them in an educational setting as long as that adult is there willing to be responsible for the dog and for the child if the dog doesn't fulfill it's duty. If his dad was talking about quitting his job so he could go to school with his son, or hiring an aid to accompany his son, or his teachers were comfortable with accepting that level of liability for his medical well being, it would be a totally different scenario.

And if the dog, on TV, didn't even alert to a seizure OR swipe the magnet, then what's going to happen to the kid if it happens again without his adult caregiver present?
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:48 PM
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Oh, yes I see now that after two weeks the father would leave the dog solely in the child's care.

The kid is awfully young to handle a service dog in a class full of children, all by himself. Perhaps if his teacher or an aide was taught how to handle the dog, it'd be different, but a teacher has a stressful enough job managing a bunch of little kids without having to manage a dog.

I just think the grade school environment would suck for a service dog, with tons of snotty kids harrassing the dog all day. =/ That being said, I think strict "no touching the dog EVER" rules would be useful in a case like that. I really do think that in this kid's case, the dog would tremendously improve his quality of life at school. Then again, if there are people with severe allergies to dogs in the class, it'd destroy theirs. I honestly can see both sides, but it sucks for that little boy...

I wonder if the boy can actually handle the dog. I know when I was 6-7 years old I could take my dog anywhere, but I was also an able-bodied kid...
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