Autism Dog Blog

A lawyer named Matthew Stoloff keeps a blog about disability law that I check out from time to time. In his end-of-the-year post for 2009 — called The Year of the (Service) Dog — he links to some of the posts he’s written this year about children with autism and other disabilities bringing service dogs to school. Service Animals in the Schools provides readers with a list of objections to prepare for when administrators are leery about allowing service dogs in schools. A post called Are IEPs Necessary for Service Animals? mentions a case we blogged about this year. The case involves a child with autism here in Illinois who wants to bring his service dog to school. Among other things, the school district is arguing that the child cannot bring his service dog to school because it is not in the child’s Individualized Education Plan.

While I don’t always agree with Stoloff’s views, I always find his posts informative and full of links to go to for further information. He ends his Year of the (Service) Dog post with a prediction of what the new year has in store for service dogs:

Undoubtedly, more discussion, more debates, and possibly more litigation across the country regarding service animals. There will be more discussion about how to distinguish between service animals and companion pets. There will be more debates regarding whether exotic creatures can be trained to be service animals and whether dogs can “smell” an oncoming seizure or be trained to help autistic children from harming themselves. There will be more talk about whether service animals should be certified. We will likely see more service animals in the schools, on the streets, and in other places where the public is invited. This issue is not going away.

Here at the Easter Seals and Autism blog we’ll do our best to keep you posted. In the meantime…happy New Year!


 

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  1. Matthew Stoloff Says:

    Thank you for your comments and for the plug. This is such an interesting area of law, and I encourage discussion and debate. I think it is likely that the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice will issue new regulations and guidelines governing service animals sometime this year. Whether you believe that ferrets and snakes can (or should) be service animals, or whether you believe that individuals should be required to obtain a permit to take their psychiatric service dogs wherever the public is invited, it is important to keep a close eye on the Department of Justice website for the latest developments. Their website is http://www.justice.gov/crt/ I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts about this issue in the coming months.


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