Service Dog Life > Is a Service Dog for You? (publicly viewable board)

Would my 13 year old be eligible?

(1/2) > >>

doggie friend:
Trying to research if my daughter would be eligible.  She is 13 and hard of hearing and runs track cross country.  She prefers not to wear her hearing aides while running because she says they get sweaty and uncomfortable.  Since it is cross country, she runs far in the park and has to cross over streets to get to other areas, etc. I get nervous that she is running throughout the park and may not hear cars passing.  I would feel more comfortable if she trains with a dog that is trained to assist if there is a sound she should be made aware of while running.

Can anyone steer me in the right direction and let me know if I should pursue this?  I would not need the dog for school or while she is at track meets since the course is baracaded.  I do not know how the coach would feel with her running with a dog so that is why I was thinking of getting a type of certified dog.  If so, do I look into  a service dog or a different type of assistance dog?  I do not mind paying but wondering if I can just purchase any dog? I would want to research dogs that like to run, too.

Any guidance is appreciated!

It sounds like the simplest and safest solution is to drill with her on the importance of stopping before crossing any thoroughfare and checking carefully by sight before crossing.  Even with perfect hearing you can't always hear the cars coming, not with as many electric and dual fuel vehicles as there are out there.

It's not really the job of a hearing dog to detect the sounds of oncoming cars since that is something the human handler can learn to do for herself visually (usually).  I'm not sure how the deaf-blind do it.  Anyway, a friend of mine, K, and her hearing dog W were both hit by a car while crossing the street.  K was killed and W was badly injured.  It was horrible.  They were a very good team too.  K was super smart and capable in everything that she did and W was a seasoned, well trained hearing dog.  But it wasn't W's job to monitor traffic.  That was K's job. 

So what do hearing dogs do?  The typical hearing dog is taught around half a dozen sounds to notify the deaf handler about, usually things like a knock or doorbell, kitchen timer, alarm clock, telephone, smoke alarm, owner's name (which is called in waiting rooms), maybe the sound of a child or baby crying if the human partner is a parent, things like that.  The human partner is typically going to be better qualified to assess traffic safety than the dog is.  The deaf typically do it with visual cues and the blind typically do it with hearing cues.  I'm not actually sure how the deaf-blind do it other than there are some electronics now available to assist with crossing in some cities (my city is starting to put in electronic crossings at key locations).

But let's suppose you want to pursue this.  I think step one would be to talk to the coach and see what can be negotiated as a solution directly.  If you're going to need him to change some rules to allow her to use a dog or something else then you'll have to ask for that accommodation and negotiate for it.  There is no end run that I know of, not for a school age child participating in a school activity.  The accommodation of being accompanied by a trained service dog is by default assumed to be reasonable when the human partner is an adult in a public access situation, but it is different with a child in a school activity.  That might have to go through IDEA but at a minimum it's going to have to be formally requested.  Why?  Because the school has a greater duty to all students than a business has to other customers and the school must be given the opportunity to figure out how the accommodation would affect other students (including allergies and fear of dogs).  So the school has to be given the opportunity to negotiate on behalf of the other students and come up with a workable solution.  Your daught would want this accommodation because she finds her hearing aids uncomfortable when she sweats, but that would not outweigh the needs of another child in the same program who has a fear of dogs, for example.

Then you'd also need medical documentation first that she's disabled and second that there is a medical reason why the dog is necessary (why the hearing aids she already has are not a reasonable option).  I'm a bit doubtful personal preference alone is going to be sufficient in a school case but I cannot predict it definitively either way at this time as there are cases winding their way through regarding SD access in schools that might possibly change things in the next couple of years or so.


--- Quote from: Kirsten on November 01, 2017, 11:09:30 PM ---I'm not sure how the deaf-blind do it.

--- End quote ---

I just watched a documentary about a woman who is deaf blind. The way she would do it, at a busy street crossing anyway, would be by using her cane to feel around for another person's foot and then ask them to help her cross by either pointing or holding out a note. She would also just use a note, but she would hold it upside down so she would know if people were reading the note because they'd have to turn it right side up.

A service dog takes a LOT of work, and you should never ever depend on them for your life's safety because dogs aren't robots. They make mistakes, they have bad days. If your daughter depends on dogs instead of her own vision to safely cross streets, chances are very high that she will likely get hit sooner or later because dogs are imperfect. I'm sorry that that's blunt, but that's the way I see it.

From what you described, it seems to me like it'd be a lot easier to just make sure that your daughter is in the habit of checking for cars before crossing. Even perfect of hearing people should do this, for multiple reasons. One is what Kirsten said - there are silent cars out there. Another reason is that if you're in a busy area, you might not be able to hear a regular old gasoline car. Sounds of traffic, a neighbor working on a project, kids playing/screaming, construction, etc can all cover up the sound of a car passing through. And sometimes, you just don't pay attention.

Service dogs take roughly two years of intensive training, and the washout rate is high. Very high. I believe it's roughly 50% with an experienced trainer, and it's even higher if you don't have experience. They are also quite expensive to train.

You cannot register a service dog online. You cannot buy certification. These things do not, legally, exist. By that, I mean that there is no legitimate certification, registration, identification, etc for service dogs that will hold up to the law. The websites that sell these things are scams.

For a dog to be a service dog, it must be individually task trained to mitigate a handler's disability. That's it. The handler must be disabled according to the ADA.

So, in conclusion, it's my opinion that it'd be much safer, much more effective, much easier, and much less expensive to simply have your daughter look before crossing.


--- Quote from: Moonsong on November 08, 2017, 11:07:28 AM ---
By that, I mean that there is no legitimate certification, registration, identification, etc for service dogs that will hold up to the law. The websites that sell these things are scams.

--- End quote ---

That's not quite true. There are hundreds of certifications in the US and none of them are illegal. True, most of them mean nothing. However, most programs certify their dogs and that certification can be used as  evidence of training in court.

So, correct, online certifications are scams that mean nothing. The DOJ FAQ explicitly excludes them from use in court. But you're incorrect that certifications do not exist at all.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version