Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Service Dogs Can Help Those with Autism

Autism Service Dogs provide a level of comfort and safety for people with autism, particularly children on the spectrum.  These service dogs trained for autism can help people to gain the confidence they need to function in normal daily tasks and can provide an added level of assurance for parents of autistic children.

Where Are Autism Service Dogs Allowed?

Children with autism often struggle with social situations and service dogs are allowed to accompany the child on all public outings under the American's with Disabilities Act.

Autism service dogs can even accompany children to school to help foster a more productive, and effective learning environment.

These and all types of service animals should wear a service dog vest to help distinguish it as a working dog instead of household pet. This will eliminate any questions about whether or not the dog will be allowed in a school setting. 

How Can Service Dogs for Autism Help?

There are varying levels of autism and service dogs can be trained to assist with a variety of tasks.

Communication: Some children with autism are non-verbal and may have difficulty with communication but a service dog can help to build the child's confidence and language skills. By voicing their thoughts and opinions to a patient and understanding dog, kids are able to slowly build up their communication skills without fear of being called out if they stumble over their words. They can then begin to use their newly acquired speech confidence to begin to express themselves to people as well. These dogs are also often a child's primary companion and friend, as well as service animal as these animals are non-judgmental and supportive.

Comfort: Children with autism often experience episodes of behavioral instability caused by outside stimuli, such as loud noises or unfamiliar surroundings. Autism service dogs provide a comforting familiarity for children to calm themselves down. Petting or hugging the dog can give them reassurance that everything will be okay.

Safety: One of the common occurrences with autism is that the child will not be aware of their surroundings. This can lead them to walk directly into danger, such as wandering into a street, and an autism service dog can increase the child's safety. The dog can be trained to guide the child away from danger, or in the event that the child has already wandered away, the dog can track the child to bring it back to safety.

If your child is on the autism spectrum, consider adding a service dog for autism to your household. The bond that the child and the autism service dog will form can help your child to grow and improve in many social situations. For more information on an autism service dog you can visit http://4pawsforability.org/autism-assistance-dog/ and remember, a properly outfitted autism service dog will ensure that the child and animal are not at risk of any conflict while out in public, or at school.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Psychiatric Service Dog

What is a Psychiatric Service Dog?

Psychiatric service dogs assist people with psychiatric disabilities, including panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and depression. These dogs are trained to perform certain tasks to help alleviate the symptoms of a psychiatric issue.

Here are some examples of psychiatric service dog tasks that can be performed:

Retrieve Medication or Telephone for Emergencies

Whether caused by PTSD or a panic attack, people who experience a sudden onset of fear can experience respiratory distress and other crippling side effects that render them temporarily incapable of accessing their medication. Psychiatric service dogs are able to retrieve the medication and bring it to the person. They can also bring a beverage to make it easier for the person to take their medication.

In the case that someone needs help but is unable to get to the phone, a psychiatric service dog can be trained to retrieve the telephone and bring it to the person to dial for help.

Look for Help

If someone experiences symptoms of a panic attack or other psychiatric disability that leaves them unable to seek help on their own, a psychiatric service dog can be trained to alert a family member, friend or co-worker.

Provide Support

For people who experience dizziness as a side effect of medication, a psychiatric service dog can provide support when using stairs or standing up. Large dogs are best suited for providing this type of service as they must be able to support at least some of the person's weight.

Wake Up Handler

Some medication for people with psychiatric disabilities causes them to be heavy sleepers and they may not awake at the sound of a fire alarm or alarm clock. A psychiatric service dog can wake them by nudging or gently tugging on them.

Assisting with PTSD

Someone with PTSD may need assistance feeling safe, even in their own home. Psychiatric service dogs can help by turning on lights or searching the room before the person enters. If everything is clear, the dog will return to the owner and provide reassurance that everything is okay.

What are the Psychiatric Service Dog Laws?

Psychiatric service dogs are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and receive the same rights as service dogs for people with physical disabilities. The laws for psychiatric service dogs according to the ADA include that they are allowed to accompany their handler to any public establishment.

An emotional support dog is not considered to be a psychiatric service dog. Although they may offer a sense of comfort and security, they have not been trained to specifically perform a task and are not included in the service dog laws under the ADA.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What You Need to Know About Service Dog Laws

Service Dog Laws create an accepting, safe and fair environment for people with disabilities to bring their service dogs with them in public. Several federal agencies have developed service dog laws to protect disabled individuals when in public, traveling or seeing housing. We’ve listed out some of the top resources, and what they help define in regards to service dog laws:

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act.
This is a civil rights law that outlines laws about allowing public access to disabled individuals with a Service Animal.

The ADA includes sections regarding Service Dog Laws outlines rules that businesses and equally, the handler must follow:

What are the Service Dog Laws for Businesses?

Service Dogs are protected under the ADA. According to these service dog laws, no public establishment may deny a person and their service dog entry into their business. This applies to restaurants, shops and any other place where the general public is permitted.

Businesses may not ask specifics about a disability but may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what task the dog has been trained to perform. Businesses also may not ask for documentation about whether the animal is a certified, licensed or trained service animal. Although businesses may not charge an extra amount to accommodate the dog, they may charge for any damage done on the property by the dog.

What are the Service Dog Laws for Owners?

Service dogs must be under control at all times. This is usually achieved using a leash or harness, however in the case that the handler is unable to hold a leash due to a disability, the dog may be under voice control.

If a service dog disrupts the public, the owner and the dog may be asked to leave the premises. This includes excessive barking, jumping or running around. If the dog poses a threat to people, such as by growling, you may also be asked to leave.

FHAA: Fair Housing Amendments Act
This is a civil rights law amendment that extends ADA protection to disabled individuals with a Service Animal who are seeking housing in the public sector.
Service dog laws also cover housing. According to the Fair Housing Act, a person with a disability may not be denied housing based on that disability. A landlord or homeowner's association must provide reasonable accommodations to people with a disability, which includes waiving a no-pets rule and deposit.

ACAA: Air Carrier Access Act

The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 states that air carriers may not discriminate against anyone with a disability. This includes allowing service animals to accompany their owners in the cabin on flights with no additional charge.

Service Dog Laws Make Everything Better

These service dog laws help to protect everyone, from the person with a disability to the general public. If you have questions about service dog laws, check the ADA.