Limiting Disability Accomidations: Oregon

Hillsboro School District says no to a service dog as an accommodation for a student with autism:

“We agree that across-the-board exclusion of a service animal would not be appropriate.” But, he said, “If we have a student that is doing well in school, is there a need for a service animal?”

Hillsboro Superintendent Mike Scott explains why the district will not allow third grader Scooter Givens to bring his therapy dog Madison to school.  Scooter’s autism has made life in social settings very difficult for him and Madison has become a social bridge for the boy, who can talk but doesn’t like to interact with others, said Wendy Givens.

“The debate also hinges on whether Madison is considered a service or a therapy animal. In other words, is he the equivalent of a guide dog for the blind or is he a well-trained pet?”

So the question the U.S. Department of Justice is now going to have to decide is if a therapy animal is just a well-trained pet or is a therapy dog the equivalent of any other service animal.

This certainly called to mind for me the recent studies on war veterans with PTSD and the therapy dogs who help them function in society.  I mean there are amazing results from the links between these animals and the war vets they serve.

If Scooter was getting a fraction of the benefits I have read about for PTSD patients I really hope this situation is resolved quickly and he and Madison are back to the work of getting him through the third grade and on to bigger and better things.

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