"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spelling Lessons

Update: It's good to see that at least one court gets it.

It struck me that there are some people and businesses out there that obviously require some remedial spelling lessons.

Granted, it's a big word but is it really that hard to comprehend?

A-C-C-O-M-M-O-D-A-T-I-O-N-S

First, two autistic elementary school students had to go to court in Illinois to win the right to bring their service dogs to school with them. And these lawsuits followed others in California and Pennsylvania over the same issue.

For anyone not familiar with service dogs for children with autism, these dogs have been shown to calm the children, ease transitions and even keep the students from running into traffic.

Apparently some schools, however, in all their infinite wisdom, don't "believe" these animals are true "service dogs" — essential to managing a disability — but rather are simply companions that provide comfort.
School districts say they are not discriminating, just drawing the line to protect the safety and health of other students who may be allergic or scared of dogs.
Right.

Not that that's so much of an issue with service dogs for the blind. What about hearing and signal dogs, seizure alert/response dogs and mobility assist dogs that help the physically disabled?

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) defines a "service animal" as "any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding people with impaired vision, alerting people with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items".

If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government. And just to be clear, a service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires businesses to modify any "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. *

But let's not let that worry us any. After all, it's not like the schools did. Go read this article about how/why schools are challenging autistic children on the issue of bringing their service dogs to school with them. Fortunately, to date, the schools appear to be losing the battle.

* In Canada, the net effect would be the same by virtue of each province's Human Rights Act.

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