Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tell Pine Richland Schools to let autistic boy's service dog in the classroom.

For eight-year-old Sean Forsyth, his dog Sophia is more than just his best friend. Sean has autism, and Sophia is a service dog who helps keep him safe. Sean's mother Jennifer says that before Sophia came into Sean’s life, he was easily overwhelmed and prone to running away -- often putting himself in dangerous situations. Sophia is trained to keep Sean focused and calm, drastically reducing his outbursts. 
Here's the problem: Even though Sophia was prescribed by Sean's doctor, and even though she vastly improves his ability to focus and learn, the Pine Richland School District has banned Sean's service dog from the classroom.
Sean's mom Jennifer knows how much having Sophia around has changed her son's life. When the school district told her that her son’s service dog would not be allowed to attend school, she started a petition on Change.org asking school officials to reconsider. Click here to sign Jennifer's petition asking the school district to let Sophia into school with Sean.
This isn't just about Sean and Sophia. According to Jennifer, the Americans With Disabilities Act protects the right of kids like Sean to bring their certified service dogs to school.
Service dogs are highly trained to help their companions, who are often unable to live in the world without their support. When Sophia is with Sean, she's "at work" and her number one priority is to keep him calm. Her presence in the classroom would reduce distractions for everyone. Jennifer says that ever since Sophia came into her son's life, "his symptoms have improved more than we could have ever possibly imagined." 
Jennifer left her job and moved family moved to the Pine Richland School District because the district is known in autism communities for the support they provide special needs families. Jennifer is confident that if the district sees how much support there is for Sean and Sophia, they'll come around. The duo already has medical professionals and disability advocates on their side, but now they need you. Click here to add your name to Jennifer's petition.
Thanks for being a change-maker,

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