Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why Not Make Him Class Pet?

Who could resist this face??

This news story about an autistic boy whose dog isn't allowed to come to school with him has me wondering: Is there something the school district isn't, or can't say?

Seems like a no-brainer; if having the dog makes the kid learn better, and it's documented, why not allow the dog? Is the dog not nice, is the principal's kid (or the principal or the teacher) just afraid of dogs? Does the dog make a mess? Is it disruptive? Does he have bad breath? Did the family refuse to join the PTA?

The school district is hiding behind legalese -- that the dog is not officially a "guide dog" -- rather than giving a real reason. Something's not working, or ... someone's just being all by-the-book.

The argument that really got me was that it's equivalent to telling a blind person they can't use their cane beucase they do alright without it. He's being punished for being higher-functioning.

If having a dog with him would help DuckyBoy better suffer through music class, I'd be all over it. If, in kindergarten, a dog would have helped him with meltdowns, with hitting, would have helped control disruptive outbursts, I'd be all ove rit.

The boy in this story, Scooter, "tries to hit" his 3rd-grade classmates every day. Wouldn't the classmates --and classmates' parents -- find the dog preferable to that?

I hope so.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I just noticed the link here on the sidebar of your other blog. I don't know why I never did before! Anyway, my son is also high functioning autistic and don't get me started on school administrators. My head's likely to explode!

nosenose said...

some kids are scared of dogs. it wouldn't be fair to them. there has to be a better way to make the kid with autism learn better and feel more comfortable.

Janice Ellen Wright said...

Good point, nosenose. I forgot about the fear issue ... even though I had it as it kid after I got bit once!

Maybe that's part of the mystery behind this story, someone's afraid who's (no joke intended) afraid to say so.