GoldenHmmmmm…a couple of friends from church have mentioned to Chris and I about the possibility on getting an autism service dog for Michaela. For some reason have no idea why I never thought about it. So we have been doing some research this weekend. First, here is a link to the article from NPR¬† about service dogs in school and the struggles they face.

http://www.npr.org/2011/05/14/136287114/new-rules-seek-to-educate-schools-on-service-dogs

I also have found a website for Autism Service Dogs. Now, their are a lot of website’s for Autism Service Dogs this is just an example for you to see what we are looking at.

http://autismservicedogsofamerica.com/

So basically, here is how a service dog can help Michaela:

  • The service dog will be an extension of Michaela in helping her with body awareness. For example, when Michaela walks on the side walk, the service dog will be able to keep her on the side walk and not allow her to run in the street. Also, the service dog will herd her back into the yard if she is outside of our fence area and wonders off . If we were walking in the mall the service dog will be able help to keep her from getting into other people way while walking.
  • At night the service dog will be able to help Michaela and her night fears with the darkness, during storms to be their with her to help her stay calm especially when the rain hits the window. Plus, I think knowing that the service dog will be in room at night might give her some extra comfort and she will be able to sleep better.
  • If she starts to have a melt down at anytime the service dog will be able to help calm her down sooner by laying on her lap.
  • At school, the service dog will help to keep her on the playground and not let her run off. During class time, I can see the service dog being able to help Michaela focus and not get to wild during class.

So you can see the many benefits of a service dog for Michaela, but unfortunately there are some concerns. The main one is the cost. A service dog can cost about $14,000. That is not including if you have to travel for training to be with the service dog and travel expenses for your self. Another issue is we already have a dog, Keena! Its true she will never be a service dog but being able to take care of two dogs will be overwhelming to say at least! I also have concerns if Michaela goes to school with the service dog, it might make her stand out even more with the other children and they might resent the fact that Michaela gets to have a dog with her at school and they can’t have a dog. It also might bring more attention to her and cause the other children to make fun of her. SIGH…..

I can picture Michaela in my mind with an autism service dog and I can see the many positive’s that a service dog can bring to Michaela which would completely out weigh the cons. It is a very interesting thought that will need a great deal of time to think about, do some research on, and pray about!