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  • Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

    I came across this on the news, and in the paper.



    The mother of a 4-year-old autistic boy has threatened to sue a Manteca public preschool after the boy’s service dog and the dog’s trainer were kicked off campus Monday morning.

    Just two weeks ago, Tara Qualls of Tracy welcomed her son’s new dog, Houdini, who was trained by Autism Service Dogs of America out of Oregon. The dog was led by a trainer ready to get Qualls’ son, Jayden, acclimated to his new working companion, a 19-month-old Labrador-German shepherd-golden retriever mix.

    When they arrived, Principal Dorian Rice said the dog could not be on school grounds, according to Qualls.


    Rest of article here:
    http://tracypress.com/content/view/14709/2242/



    I think if the boy, will open up more, and will help him now or even later on, he should be able to have the dog. It is a service dog.


    What are your thoughts on the situation?
    Last edited by penguinsoda; 05-21-2008, 01:16 PM. Reason: Copyright issues
    Har har har

  • #2
    Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

    The two things that are telling to me are:

    Even though Rice told Qualls a month ago he didn’t support the dog, Qualls showed up at Jayden’s school anyway, leash in hand.

    First the mom said it shouldn't have been a surprise to the principal (Rice) but then says that the principal told her a month ago she didn't support the dog.

    “I told him, ‘You can try it, but it’s a service dog,’” said Qualls, who has taken Houdini to West Valley Mall, Costco and Safeway without any trouble. “I knew there might be some problems, but usually the schools back down. I didn’t think I had to go this far.”


    Then she was expecting the school to "Back Down" from their regulations. Great going Mom, great example of using your kids autism to get what you want.

    Look, I'm sorry the kid is autistic, I understand she wants a normal life for her kid, but the principal and the school needs to worry about the other kids in the school. You all know as well as I do that dog's are a distraction with kids.

    I'm behind the school 100% on this.

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    • #3
      Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

      I thought it was against the law not to allow service animals in any place. I know we had signs up in the hotel I worked at saying "I am a service animal. I can be allowed anywhere. My owner does not need to prove they need me. Failure to allow me anyplace can result in legal action". I think it's ridiculous for the school not to allow the dog.



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      • #4
        Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

        A service dog is a service dog, whether they help the blind, the deaf or the autistic. This dog has been trained specifically to help people with autism since it was 4 weeks old, it's not like the family went to the local shelter and adopted some mutt.

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        • #5
          Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

          I am for the kid!!! service dogs should be allowed to be with tht child!!

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          • #6
            Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

            I think the dog should be allowed on campus, I don't agree however, with the mother's standpoint regarding it. She could of handled the situation a lot better, especially if there are proper steps that need to be taken to allow the animal in the school.

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            • #7
              Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

              I think the bottom line is this dog a service dog or a companion dog? It sounds to me that this is more a companion dog and not a service dog and in that case I think the school has the right to deny access.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

                Sounds like a slippery slope to me. You allow one dog to comfort a child you can bet parents will be pushing the envelope getting their child one too. If it's true one out of 150 children are autistic, I couldn't imagine 10 dogs on my kid's campus.

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                • #9
                  Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

                  I don't side with the parent in this case, esp. how she went about it. She should have had a service dog written into her child's IFSP/IEP, as a service she would provide herself to the district on behalf of her son. It would have been legal, and she would have had the district's written consent.

                  We know a lot of people who have trained therapy dogs (dog capital of the US seems to be Portland, OR), and while I think there is some validity to it, I don't know that a child with autism NEEDS a dog at school in order to make social or educational progress on his IFSP/IEP goals. Which is the job of the school.

                  I subbed in a class a few years ago that had a sub who brought her service dog to school with her while she worked. It was such a distraction to the kids (hello! It's a dog!), and she got nothing done. She was too worried about the dog all day. It was like he was going to school and she was the dog's therapist. :lol: So my view on it is a little skewed.

                  But I do live in a city that has entire restaurants and cafes named after dogs and that cater to dogs more than humans. You can go anywhere here and there are water bowls and dog treats under most counters. I'm pretty used to seeing dogs in stores now.

                  But my kids aren't. And that's the thing. They're so distracting. What about the other autistic kids in the classroom?? Seems to me they'd be going bonkers. I taught preschool special ed for four years and there's no way I'd want one child with a therapy dog. That's a lot of extra work.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

                    I'm kind of in the middle with this. I think it would be awesome for him, if it will help him open up. But then theres the dog distraction. I guess I can see where the school is coming from.
                    Har har har

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                    • #11
                      Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

                      Originally posted by stinkerbell View Post
                      I don't side with the parent in this case, esp. how she went about it. She should have had a service dog written into her child's IFSP/IEP, as a service she would provide herself to the district on behalf of her son. It would have been legal, and she would have had the district's written consent.

                      We know a lot of people who have trained therapy dogs (dog capital of the US seems to be Portland, OR), and while I think there is some validity to it, I don't know that a child with autism NEEDS a dog at school in order to make social or educational progress on his IFSP/IEP goals. Which is the job of the school.

                      I subbed in a class a few years ago that had a sub who brought her service dog to school with her while she worked. It was such a distraction to the kids (hello! It's a dog!), and she got nothing done. She was too worried about the dog all day. It was like he was going to school and she was the dog's therapist. :lol: So my view on it is a little skewed.

                      But I do live in a city that has entire restaurants and cafes named after dogs and that cater to dogs more than humans. You can go anywhere here and there are water bowls and dog treats under most counters. I'm pretty used to seeing dogs in stores now.

                      But my kids aren't. And that's the thing. They're so distracting. What about the other autistic kids in the classroom?? Seems to me they'd be going bonkers. I taught preschool special ed for four years and there's no way I'd want one child with a therapy dog. That's a lot of extra work.
                      YOU may not know if the child NEEDS the dog but apparently the child's PHYSICIAN, an Autism expert, does know and has recommended it.

                      Your example of the sub with the service dog is interesting and yet not valid in this case IMO as yes the dog was something new and thus a distraction for that day. I think that level of distraction would die down farely quickly however if it was a daily occurance. My wife had a student in her class once with a service dog, after about the 2nd week the novelty had totally worn away and the dog was not a distraction.

                      Bottom line though is the law. IF the courts decide this is a "companion" the district gets to enforce its policy. If the courts declare it a service dog, then, per the law, the district shall allow it on campus or provide (pay for) an alternate educational program for the child.

                      EDIT: I want to add that I do agree with one point...the mother in the article handled this and set it up very badly. She seemed to do things the hard way and then is surprised that she is trying to "push the car up hill".

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                      • #12
                        Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

                        I'm afraid I'd have to side with the school on this issue as well. Children with autism already have issues with being able to pay attention and handle large groups of people in one place without distraction. A dog (regardless of it's job or training) would be a complete distraction to the rest of the child's class.

                        Autistic children in school already have special aides to assist them in anything they need and normally it's one aide per child (in the usual cicrumstance). If the school was unable to provide the care and attention that the child needed, then yes, i would side with the parent. But if the school is fully equipped to handle the child and his needs, the dog is unnecessary in a school setting.
                        A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes....

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                        • #13
                          Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

                          Originally posted by CinderellaPrincess View Post
                          I'm afraid I'd have to side with the school on this issue as well. Children with autism already have issues with being able to pay attention and handle large groups of people in one place without distraction.
                          But again...A physician that specializes in autism has recommended it. That doesn't seem to trump any of our personal feelings on what we "think" an autistic child needs or can handle?

                          I understand the trepidation about a dog in a class room. As I said my wife experienced it and had no problems, but yes there could be an issue there with distraction. It just seems though that other than that (and I feel that is an issue that could be overcome) the district (and some on this board) have decided that they know what is better/what is needed for this autistic child than the childs doctor who is an expert on the disorder. I think that's where my hang up is.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

                            I think this is a protocol issue. A doctor "recommended" a service dog, but did the doctor write an order for the dog? If that paperwork was in place, it would be in the child's IEP and therefore non-negotiable. It sounds like the mom tried to work it backwards.

                            There are other details that we don't have information on, like who attends to the dog during the day? Who's scooping the poop? Is there an aide in the class? How many kids, and are they all special ed? What are their issues? Is the presence of this dog going to negatively impact the teacher's ability to be responsible for the education of all of the other children?

                            I think the problem is the lack of planning here. You don't just spring a dog on a teacher unannounced, without a plan in place. Heck, you don't spring a dog on anyone without a plan!
                            A signature should go here.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Autistic boy not allowed to have service dog

                              Originally posted by SusieP. View Post
                              I think this is a protocol issue. A doctor "recommended" a service dog, but did the doctor write an order for the dog? If that paperwork was in place, it would be in the child's IEP and therefore non-negotiable. It sounds like the mom tried to work it backwards.

                              There are other details that we don't have information on, like who attends to the dog during the day? Who's scooping the poop? Is there an aide in the class? How many kids, and are they all special ed? What are their issues? Is the presence of this dog going to negatively impact the teacher's ability to be responsible for the education of all of the other children?

                              I think the problem is the lack of planning here. You don't just spring a dog on a teacher unannounced, without a plan in place. Heck, you don't spring a dog on anyone without a plan!
                              That is exactly my point! Thank you Susie!
                              A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes....

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