A truly unbelievable story from Canada.
Alison Ainsworth took her nine-year-old daughter Emily to an Edmonton Winners store to buy some clothes. Emily has autism and uses a service dog. They were ordered to leave the store in a way that Alison found confrontational, so she complained to the store and got a nice apology:
The store sent Emily a formal apology, a card featuring a puppy on the cover and a $25 gift card. The apology was written by Mike Faulkner, Edmonton district manager for TJX Canada, the parent company of Winners.
"I followed up with the store and the manager involved and he was very apologetic," Faulkner wrote. "He certainly didn't mean any offence at all and was upset to hear that you and your daughter were upset.
"My biggest concern is that your daughter doesn't feel welcome so if you don't mind spoiling her a bit, I'd like to give her a $25 gift card to pick something she'd like from any of our stores."
So they returned to the store.
And were turned away again:
"We were asked to leave the store," she said. "My child's service dog was not permitted in their establishment anywhere. And if that's true, then that includes my child because there is no separation between the two of them."
"For us as a family to go back in and to be kicked a second time...it's almost as though we were lured into an establishment under the guise that it was a safe place to go."
Wendy Givens discusses the plans for integrating her son's service dog into his school.
After a three-year legal battle with his school district, Scooter Givens, a 10-year-old who has autism, was allowed to bring his service dog Madison to school with him yesterday. It was a difficult day for Scooter, and even Madison and his mom Wendy had some problems:
On Monday, Scooter was having a bad day. He woke up cranky, Givens said.
"He's cranky about the weather. He's cranky about what jeans I'm wearing," she said.
So, it didn't take much to set him off. Still, Madison managed to calm the boy by nuzzling him when he grew frustrated. Later, however, as the class changed rooms, Givens said she failed to tether the dog to Scooter and the boy ran at a substitute teacher he didn't recognize.
"I need to go back and remember how to be a good handler," Givens said. "I'm a little rusty."
In the latest episode of Autism Weekly, Mathew Ryan Morin goes into further depth with three stories already covered on thAutacast. He discusses the situation of Scooter Givens, a boy who has won his battle to have his service dog at school. The AP video of Kaspar, a robot which is is being used to help kids learn social skills, is included in full. Mathew also features a performance of "How to Save a Life" from Kodi Lee.
A three year battle has ended with Oregon's Hillsboro School District relenting and allowing a 10-year-old autistic boy to be accompanied to class by a service dog:
The dog helps Scooter to stay calm and manage his behavior:
Scooter is prone to violent "meltdowns," especially when startled. Sometimes the 5-foot tall, 150-pound boy runs flailing at people, including classmates. When he's with Madison, Scooter wears a belt that is attached to a harness on the shepherd. When Scooter tries to bolt, the dog sits or digs his claws into the ground and pulls back, stopping the boy.