Sherwood, ORE – The parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is angry with school board officials after she was told that her son’s autism service dog is prohibited from acting as an aide at the youngster’s primary school unless it is accompanied by a handler.
Jennifer Macdonald is arguing that the school’s decision to prevent her son John, from using the highly-trained and specialized dog without a handler, is both unfair and unnecessary. Macdonald asserts that the canine, which cost upwards of $10 000 and took two years to obtain through Autism Service Dogs of America, plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of her young child.
She states that her son is nonverbal and a “runner” and thus engages in what experts commonly refer to as “elopement”. As a result, Macdonald believes that the dog is important in preventing her son from bolting, especially in instances where classroom paraprofessionals, such as his educational assistants (EAs) are unable to stop him.
She further states that school officials were initially supportive of her decision to obtain the dog, yet suddenly and inexplicably opted to impose the new rule.
Macdonald argues that she is unable to adhere to the board’s stipulations and therefore plans to bring the issue to court.
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