Student with autism told therapy dog no longer allowed at school

CC BY-NC-ND by Heartlover1717

CC BY-NC-ND by Heartlover1717

Pontypridd, Wales UK – Paul and Helyn Sims may change their children’s school after being told that Razor, a German Shepard puppy that helps their son Jenson, is no longer allowed beyond the school’s gates.

Jenson is 8-years-old and has autism. Before he had Razor he was prone to violent tantrums, Mr. Sims told news outlet Wales Online.

“Jenson can become very violent – he will hit, kick, punch and bite me when he is having a meltdown.” 

With Razor by Jenson’s side, he calms down considerably.

“But since we’ve had Razor, it’s been like night and day. Jenson stands and walks by the side of Razor. He doesn’t go into the school building itself – only the school grounds.”

He later added that denying Jenson time with Razor is hindering his progress.

Initially Heol Y Celyn school had assessed the dog to be unproblematic. He would play with Jenson during recess with little trouble. But then school complained that the dog’s barking was becoming bothersome. Mr. Sims told Wales Online,

“As with any puppy, footballs are an attraction and he has been known to bark at them – but he’s never off the lead when he’s on the school premises.”

 The school held a meeting and ultimately decided that the therapy dog needed to go. This could be troublesome seeing as the therapy dog needs to get comfortable in numerous surroundings such as busses, shopping centers, and schools. 

Currently the sixth-month-old pup provided Service Dogs Europe is bonding with the family. When he reaches a year-old he will return to the company for 8 weeks of training.

A spokeswoman for the school told Wales Online that the school was unlikely to change their decision and had to take every student into consideration.

Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead

Source:  Gareth Evans on the Wales Online news site: Boy with autism may have to leave school after his specialist dog is banned from the playground