Autism helper dog allowed in school after all

As reported in The Los Angeles Times and elsewhere in the media, a county judge has ruled that Chewey, a yellow Labrador retriever, can attend school with his autistic master Kaleb Drew. The court judgement seems to make sense because Kaleb suffers with his autistic condition and Chewey helps him relate to other people. Moreover, Chewey is a great companion for Kaleb who makes him feel better every day.

Chewey has had two years of training and is a skilled dog. His skills enable him to make Kaleb’s day more bearable. Kaleb’s attorney, Margit Wakelin, was pleased at the outcome of the case. Ms Wakelin works for an advocacy organisation called ‘Equip for Equality’ that attempts to secure the rights of disabled people. She fought Kaleb’s case against the school board and won. Afterwards, she said confidently:

“Chewey fits the definition of a service animal and must be permitted in school…This wasn’t a close call.”

Schools should be accessible to as many people as possible and so it seems clear that Chewey and Kaleb deserve to go together to school. They have formed a close bond and do many things together.

Perhaps some people had a problem with Chewey going to school because they failed to appreciate the difficulties caused by autism. ‘Autistic’ is sometimes used as a form of abuse by people to describe an ordinary person who has difficulty in expressing emotion. If people knew more about the condition, they would be more likely to appreciate the role of autism helper dogs like Chewey.