7 Ways an Autism Service Dog Could Benefit Your Child in Special Education!

Do you have a child with autism that receives special education services from your school district? Did you know that several agencies now train service dogs to help people with autism become more independent? Would you like to learn about 7 ways that this could help your child with autism? Then this article is for you; learn about autism service dogs, and tasks that they can perform to help children become more independent.The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as: any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Tasks typically performed by service animals include guiding people with impaired vision, . . . providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or retrieving dropped items.While autism service dogs are new, they are proving to be very helpful to children with autism. The thing to remember is that the dog must be task trained to specifically help your child, in order to be given protection under the ADA.Below are 7 ways that an autism service dog could benefit your child in school and out of school:1. The dog can assist children with autism safely access different environment’s. This could help your child become more independent and also help with transitions, which can be difficult for children with autism.2. The dog can be a calming influence and give a sense of security to your child.3. The dog can actually help your child focus on academic and social tasks. The reason that this happens is not known by many trainers of these service dogs, but it is a good side effect.4. The dog can be tethered to your child to prevent the child from wandering away, which a lot of children with autism are prone to do.5. The dog can actually track and search for your child if the child does wander away (if the child is not tethered). This takes out a lot of parents fear about their child getting lost in school or public places.6. The dog can try and stop a child’s repetitive behavior by nudging the child. This does take specific training for the dog on what your child’s behaviors are. But the hope is that the child will much rather pet the dog than continue the repetitive behavior.7. Another positive side affect of having a dog is that it appears to help the child become more social with their peers. Again the trainers of these dogs do not know why this happens, but the dog does seem to help the child engage more in social activity.Several organizations have sprouted up that train dogs for this purpose. Several names are: 4 Paws for ability, Autism Service Dogs of America, and Dogs for autism. While the dogs do cost approximately $10,000-$13,000 many parents have become creative, in raising the money for these dogs. Some have had bake sales, car washes etc in order to be able to afford this for their child. The sky is the limit when it comes to fundraising for your child!Check this out to help your child with autism in school and in the community become more independent in their life. Good luck!

Special Education and Family Choices

Most psychologists agree that coming to terms with the reality that your child has a learning disability is a tough thing to accept. However, parents also need to consider that their child’s disability may be something other than merely a brain disorder. Consider if you will issues with eye-sight and hearing. Children who have trouble hearing might appear to be slow learners in the classroom, in day care, or kindergarten, but there may be nothing more wrong with them than the basic hearing issue, and once that is taken care of they can compete and do well in the classroom as any other child.Therefore, parents need to make sure they get the proper tests done in advance of exiling their children into a special education category, where they may not belong. So, on one hand parents need to face the facts and admit there is a real problem and get over that issue, but on the second hand, they should not merely accept it before all the hard choices they will have to make. After all, it might be a year or two before the special education teachers realize that the child is perfect in every way except for a minor eye problem or hearing issue.Luckily, our schools and therapists are getting much better at all this, so, generally speaking after taking a few tests with some professionals early detection is completely possible. Another issue is that often children experience learning disabilities which are temporary, and with minor modification, or working through other issues as described here. Perhaps the take-away here is to seek the right help early, and if you think your child is not responding correctly, or having trouble that other children aren’t – then it behooves you to get the appropriate experts to figure out what is going on.Indeed, it may be nothing, or it very well could be an easily correctable problem. These things need to be thought out, and you as a parent in this situation need to have a plan, so that your child gets the appropriate education. Sticking a kid in a special education class when they don’t belong can have devastating effects and curtail learning due to a low challenge environment.Now then, here is what I recommend; seek professional help early, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be skeptical of anyone who tells you your child can’t make it in a regular classroom without proper tests and proof. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this

4 Advocacy Tips to Empower You, When Special Educators Try to Use an Unapproved IEP!

Are you the parent of a child with Autism receiving special education services from your school district? Have special educators in your district tried to change your child’s IEP services, without your approval? Are you frustrated and not sure whether it is even allowed and what to do about it? This article will give you information about why school districts cannot implement a child in special education’s IEP, without parental approval; and four advocacy tips to empower you as you overcome this roadblock!Several courts have ruled including the US Supreme Court; that school districts must seek a due process hearing if they want to implement an IEP, without a parent’s approval. For example: If your school district states that your child with Autism no longer needs special education services, and they are going to stop the services; they are required to file for a due process hearing. Unfortunately, you may have to be assertively persistent in your advocacy to make sure that school employees understand this.Advocacy Tips:1. If your school district develops an IEP at a meeting that you do not agree with; the next day send the school district a letter, explaining to them in detail why you disagree with the proposed IEP. Keep a copy for yourself, and hand deliver the letter to the school district.2. If your school does not file for a due process hearing (before implementation of the unapproved IEP), you may file for a due process hearing yourself, and ask for a “stay put” placement as well as services (from the last agreed upon IEP). You should also ask the hearing officer to change the burden of proof to the school district, since they refused to file, since most States place the burden on the party that files (only six states (CT, DE. NJ, NY, NV, and WV place the burden of proof always on the school district).3. If the school personnel do file due process so that they can implement an IEP that you do not agree with (or if you are ready to file to stop the school from implementing an unapproved IEP); make arrangements to take your child to a qualified evaluator for an independent educational evaluation (IEE). This will help you determine your child’s disabilities, or specifically what related and special education services your child needs. The evaluation report can be used at due process as your evidence that the schools proposed IEP will not provide your child an appropriate education.4. If your school district does try to implement an IEP that you do not believe will give your child an appropriate education, this may leave the school district vulnerable to be required to pay for a private placement or services. IDEA 2004 allows parents to seek private placement and services for lack of a free appropriate public education (FAPE); and then seek reimbursement. Finding a child ineligible for related and special education services has required many schools around the country, to bear the cost of the child’s private services and schooling.In the above example if educators states that your child with Autism is no longer eligible for special education services, you may be able to seek private services and/or placement, and then file due process for reimbursement of the private services cost.As a parent you need to assertively and persistently advocate for your child, so that he or she can be ready for post school learning and a productive adult life! Good luck!