This post is in response to Wendy's questions about Griffin's service dog "Abby". What would Abby do if Griffin suddenly bolted into traffic? What's her purpose?
Abby wouldn't do anything if Griffin darted out into traffic because she is not meant to protect him, that is not the purpose of a service dog. Her purpose is to merely be there for him as a constant companion. Abby doesn't need to do anything directly for Griffin her presence alone does the trick for him. When Abby is around Griffin is just more grounded and centered I can't even explain it. If you are thinking about getting a dog to train as a service dog or if you can get one that is already trained I think that you will find a marked improvement/change in not only C's behavior but also in your other children as well, that is if you don't already have a dog. Animals provide something very special for autistic and NT kiddos alike, something that just cannot be explained. The history of why we got Abby is that I had noticed when my friends dog was around Griffin (when he was about 2 years old) he had stopped his self injurous behaviors and he had less stimming and he was significantly more verbal. As soon as the dog went away all his behaviors returned. I looked into getting him a service dog that was already trained but the woman who trained the dogs said that Griffin was still too young for one of her dogs. So, I did some research and found out that in Alaska it is not necessary for a "service" dog to be professionally trained just as long as the dog was well behaved in public it could be considered a service dog. I aquired the necessary papers through the Disability Law Center that was a letter from the Attorney General that had the state's laws, the rules and regulations for businesses and public places and how they had to abide by these laws. I carry them in my purse just in case there is ever a problem but with the vest on her I typically have no problems with anyone. Abby has been in the hospital with Griffin to visit me, she has been in the cabin of the airplane to fly with us, in restaurants, and everywhere/anywhere that Griffin goes. I highly recommend that you read "Parenting Your Complex Child" by Peggy Lou Morgan if you are interested in getting a service dog because she has some excellent information in there specifically about service dogs. She does a much better job than I do at explaining how service dogs can be so very helpful to a child/individual with special needs or as she likes to call them: extraordinary needs. Please let me know if you have any additional questions and don't forget to Have a great day!!!