Author Topic: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in  (Read 620 times)

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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2017, 01:41:37 AM »
They don't always use a triad but for any handler not mentally, physically and emotionally mature enough to handle a dog, there should always be a backup handler who is.  Way back in high school debate all of our debate topics contained the word "should" which was defined as "ought to but not necessarily will."
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Offline Moonsong

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2017, 11:24:14 AM »
I'm honestly confused here, though. What exactly is the point of an autism service dog in a triad team? I'm not being judgmental, but honestly asking. What is the dog doing in public that the parent can't already do and do better? The only things I can think of are picking up on the early warning signs of a panic attack and informing the parent so that they can handle it and tracking down a child who has run off. But for the early warning signs a person has to know what they are first in order to train the dog, so that's actually not even completely necessary unless the parent just wants the dog to signal to them so that they don't have to pay that close of attention.

Again, not being judgmental - just honestly curious. Every single one of Max's tasks that relate to my autism are to help increase my independence, and if I was working in a triad team it would render most of his tasks as unnecessary. Most of the tasks I need in public are something a person could do for me, but that I'd prefer a dog to do so that I don't have to depend on a person 24/7.

And at four years old....that seems much, much to soon to get a service dog. Not only because of the child's abilities, but because getting a service dog generally means giving up on getting better. Four years old just seems extremely early to be throwing in the towel.
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Offline SandyStern

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2017, 12:31:51 PM »
I do not fully understand task work for autism dogs with children.  Here is one explanation, and you'll notice there is no description of tasks.  https://neads.org/assistance-dogs/children-autism-spectrum

This program clearly protects the dog (note that the parent must always be present). I have some concern as to whether the dogs "perform tasks" as opposed to having perfect behavior in public, which they definitely do.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2017, 04:21:42 PM »
Typically the dog is used by the parents to control the child.  I have issues with this as well and I don't think this meets the definition of a service animal.  That's what tethering is about, using the dog to control the child's bolting.

Do adults with autism service dogs use the dog to prevent themselves from bolting?  Uh, that would be "No."

The parent is the customer and so the dogs are trained to the parent's idea of what is needed.  If the child was the customer, it would be different.  What do our members with autism dogs use their dogs to do?  A lot of them use them for guiding (actual guiding, like guide dogs).  Others use them to help with symptom management for comorbid mental illness symptoms as well as autism symptoms.  The dogs can be taught to interrupt/redirect unwanted subconsious behaviors, to signal that the behaviors are present (stimming can be a sign of stress) so that the handler can make an informed choice of how to proceed, whether to leave or do something else to reduce stress before proceeding, such as making use of noise canceling headphones, dark glasses or otherwise muting sensory input.  The dogs can provide a substitute or addition to compression garments in a pinch, and warmth.  There are a slew of bonus options as well such as being a focus or distraction from stressors.

From the parent's perspective, they want the child calmer and quieter than usual.  They don't care if it's because the child is entertained or actually being helped to manage his own symptoms.  Not all parents, but the ones desperate enough to go to these programs, yes.
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Offline mommagrizzly

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2017, 07:29:32 AM »
Isn't this the program that used to only train DADs? When did they branch out to other disabilities? How are they even still around?
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Offline SandyStern

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2017, 07:38:30 AM »
No, Mommagrizzly, this program predated the ADA.  It started with hearing dogs, added dogs for wheelchair users and went from there.  Also, the autism dog program was started after a group of special educators working with autistic kids came up with the idea. I don't fault the program for ending up here.  The dogs are spectacularly helpful to the children and families. I just share Kirsten's concerns.

Offline mommagrizzly

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2017, 07:48:57 AM »
Is this the program that on the the Dr. Phil Show?
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Offline ccunnin3

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2017, 08:53:19 AM »
I think y'all are talking about two different programs. Neads is a well established program for multiple disabilities. WR is scammy and used to train only DADs. In the past few years they realized that autistic children can raise mega $$$ and they added autism dogs.
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Offline Moonsong

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2017, 09:06:40 AM »
Whatever the program is, I just still don't understand what a service dog is doing to help an autistic child in public in a triad team? Is it just the lassie complex?

I could think of a few in-home tasks. And yes, there's emergency DPT. Maybe signalling to rising levels of anxiety, but again; the parents could do that themselves and save a ton of money and effort. Maybe tracking a kid who has run off. So that's it for public - DPT (which is done better with actual DPT tools that are less expensive and take less work than a dog), signalling (which has to be done by a human first in order to even train the dog, and is also much less expensive and less work than a dog for the parents to do themselves; not to mention it would likely help increase the bond if the child felt that the parents were able to recognize their growing distress), and tracking (which I'm not even sure about?). There's only two tasks there that you can absolutely prove aren't emotional support, one of which you likely won't be able to prove in court unless you've gotten a video of it. And for all of them I feel like there are easier, cheaper alternatives.

In-home tasks would be a different story, I think. An emotional support animal I could definitely see the benefit of. But a public access triad team? It just doesn't make sense to me.
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Offline mommagrizzly

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2017, 09:08:36 AM »
I think y'all are talking about two different programs. Neads is a well established program for multiple disabilities. WR is scammy and used to train only DADs. In the past few years they realized that autistic children can raise mega $$$ and they added autism dogs.

I was talking about SDWR. I thought that was who the article is about. Maybe I am confusing the article with one on a different post.
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Offline Solace

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2017, 09:36:12 AM »
Not only because of the child's abilities, but because getting a service dog generally means giving up on getting better. Four years old just seems extremely early to be throwing in the towel.

I don't understand why you think that getting a service dog means giving up. 

Offline Ariel

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2017, 09:46:20 AM »
Not only because of the child's abilities, but because getting a service dog generally means giving up on getting better. Four years old just seems extremely early to be throwing in the towel.

I don't understand why you think that getting a service dog means giving up.

I agree. Getting a service dog as a cover up band-aid method of treatment to avoid doing hard work can suspend treatment, but it doesn't mean giving up. I have done a lot of work to get to the point of having a service dog. She helps me in areas with disabilities that are not going to go away. I continue to work and strive to be healthy. I keep working in physical therapy and psychotherapy to be the best, most capable version of myself I can be. Ideally there are some tasks my service dog will have to do LESS or perhaps not at all in the future. She certainly does not enable me. I recognize her limitations and that she can't fix me.

I think that's the key, if someone thinks a service dog is a fix of any kind, they're not a place where they'll benefit and likely continue to work as hard as they might need to without the incentive to cover up discomfort and inability with a service dog. That is not giving up though, and honestly it's a little offensive. Are you giving up on getting better and allowing yourself to dive deeper into a disability to prove something to yourself or others? If the answer is no, neither is anyone else. If the answer is yes, it still doesn't dictate that everyone else with a SD is giving up because you're not at a healthy enough place to benefit yet.
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Offline OlgatheGSD

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2017, 10:30:12 AM »
I think y'all are talking about two different programs. Neads is a well established program for multiple disabilities. WR is scammy and used to train only DADs. In the past few years they realized that autistic children can raise mega $$$ and they added autism dogs.

I was talking about SDWR. I thought that was who the article is about. Maybe I am confusing the article with one on a different post.

There was this one (WR) and the other one who had diabetic alert dogs of america with the dude who thought he was the best dog trainer in the US.
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Offline Moonsong

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2017, 11:12:39 AM »
Not only because of the child's abilities, but because getting a service dog generally means giving up on getting better. Four years old just seems extremely early to be throwing in the towel.

I don't understand why you think that getting a service dog means giving up.

It's advised not to get a service dog until you've maxed out treatment. When you get a service dog, it is extremely difficult not to become dependent on the dog and that dependency hinders treatment. It'd be like using a wheelchair for leg pain when you aren't supposed to use one; eventually your legs will atrophy and you'll be dependent on the wheelchair where if you'd gone through treatment first you might have been able to overcome the issue, or at the very least make it better. And sometimes wheelchairs are necessary to help you during your treatment, but I feel like that's the equivalent of an ESA in that analogy. Um....does that analogy, service dog and ESA, make sense? I'm not sure if I explained it right.

I think maybe "giving up" wasn't the right phrase. Even if I'm not expected to get better to the point of no longer being disabled, I will never give up on possible treatment. I will never give up on getting better; I'll always hope. I just meant that getting a service dog is for mitigation once treatment has taken you as far as you can go. They are not meant to be a part of treatment (I would make the argument that they can help with treatment, but that it doesn't often happen and it's more likely that they'd hinder it than help for the majority of people).

At four years old, that is extremely young, in my opinion, to be saying that this is as far as treatment will take us and at this point all we can do is mitigate. Especially since the kid's brain hasn't even finished developing, meaning that his condition will change throughout his life. Will it change enough to make his condition no longer disabling? Maybe. Maybe not. But it will likely improve as his brain chemicals stabilize and he continues treatment and learning how to cope.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Highly Trained Autism Service Dog to Assist Four-Year-Old Child in
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2017, 12:18:21 PM »
I turn a blind eye to hearsay discussions about SDWR, ie am willing to risk losing my home over letting people know the extent of the problem, parts of which I have witnessed first hand.  NEADS, on the other hand, is a legitimate program.  I'm sure they have faults just as all programs have faults, but they aren't a scam outfit run by a former used car salesman with a criminal conviction and a ludicrous scheme.

Yes, SDWR was on Dr. Phil and two of the women trying to expose him were former members here.  We were at least part of what set them straight on what was going on.  We showed how it was not possible for a diabetic alert dog to alert from miles away (child at school, dog at home) and explained it wasn't normal to pay $20,000 for a dog they would have to train themselves.  I think we saved lives.  And I'm willing to take the risk of being sued over this program only.

Heresay (gossip) on all other programs must be done in private (email, PM, telephone, chat room, telegram, etc. and not on the boards here).
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