Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dogs and Autistic Children

Kaleb Drew and Family
Kaleb Drew, Nichelle, Kelsey (7) and Chewey

Now that many children are back in school, every school district will have its independent challenges to deal with. There are two school districts one being in Lake Villa, Illinois and the other in Columbia, Illinois which have a unique challenge. Two of their students both are autistic and are in the midst of a battle to be able for their children to be accompanied by their service dogs. Kaleb attends first grade in Lake Villa which is close to the Wisconsin border. Chewey his dog was trained to be his service dog.

In Columbia, Illinois which is just outside of St. Louis, Carter Kalbfleisch was initially told that his service dog Corbin could not accompany him to school. His parents had spent $11,500 in training so that it would not be difficult transition for the teachers to work with the dog.

Having an autistic service dog is a huge responsibility for the school district to shoulder. Still, if it means the difference between an autistic child assimilating better into this new environment, then how can it be a detriment to the school.

The biggest challenge would be the fact that it affects children with allergies. However, autistic children are in special education classes. They are much smaller than a regular classroom. If there are no students in that classroom with no allergies, then how could this be a bad thing?

Children in special education classes are given that extra attention because their require more attention. Service dogs are around to make life easier for all of those around them. These dogs will help calm a child in the middle of an autistic fit much more quickly. These dogs are trained to protect the children from darting out and possibly running into oncoming traffic outside the school.

Schools have the necessary education programs that accommodate special needs children best. Special needs children can't be home schooled as easily as non-special needs kids. Schools are one of the best places to teach learning and acceptance. As long as the service dog has been adequately trained, and all precautions have been made, then how is this a bad thing? It's not something that would be easy, but it is possible with patience, understanding and tolerance.

Have any of you experienced a situation in your home town? Personally, since I do not have children, I've never dealt with this topic firsthand. What about you? Do you think this is a great idea or too much of a risk?

If you would like to read more about these two boys, you can check these stories out:

Associated Press
The Bend Bulletin

St. Louis Today If you would like to read more about service dogs, be sure to check Diabetes Detection Dogs as well.

As always, thanks for stopping in. The weekend is almost here. Have a great Thursday.

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