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Service dogs for SPD
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Tuttleturtle Offline
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#1
Service dogs for SPD

So, I'm semi looking into service dogs, and am trying to figure out what they can do for SPD. Does anyone here have information about some of what service dogs can do for SPD?

The trick is that I'm specifically looking for information about tasks, not about help that isn't from tasks. I'm looking for the things that make it a service dog rather than an emotional support animal. Not everyone actually follows the strict requirements on that difference, and that difference matters quite a bit to me at the moment. (If I end up going the route of looking into a service dog, I'd be getting help from someone who's job includes making sure that people follow those laws properly).

So, either ideas for yourself, your children, things you've heard about others doing, whatever. What is there for tasks that dogs do for SPD?


(The definition of a task in this sense is something that the animal does to help with a disability which can not easily be replaced by an object (i.e. a dog waking you up in the morning isn't a task, because that's what an alarm clock does, but if you can't use an alarm clock it could be), and which it requires special training to do instead of being something a dog does naturally (i.e. the fact that lying down with a dog with my head on its back calms me down a lot doesn't make it a task).
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Marci Offline
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#2
RE: Service dogs for SPD

(06-10-2012, 10:37 PM)Tuttleturtle Wrote:  So, I'm semi looking into service dogs, and am trying to figure out what they can do for SPD. Does anyone here have information about some of what service dogs can do for SPD?
I understand the difference between "service animal" and "emotional support animal" - that legal change had a very negative impact for us, as my son's cat, who frequently has traveled with us to help him emotionally, suddenly lost the legal rights of a service animal.

Be that as it may, I can not think of any tasks that a dog could be trained to do to help a person with SPD. Because SPD is a different sort of brain wiring rather than a missing or damaged limb/body part/ brain section, I just don't see what the dog could do. I know dogs can be trained to help individuals with seizures or diabetes who are experiencing body chemistry changes which trigger medical problems, but I don't think there is a parallel with SPD.
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Tuttleturtle Offline
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#3
RE: Service dogs for SPD

There are quite a few things dogs can do that don't have to do with physical disabilities. I'm just having issues with identifying what things could help me, and am trying to find a larger list because of having difficulty with coming up with ideas. If it helps with ideas, some things dogs do for others include: stop them from walking out into oncoming traffic, alert to specific important noises to deal with discrimination issues, wake them up because any usable alarm clock is so overloading it leads to an immediate meltdown (in many cases swapping alarm clocks is enough, but not always), and so on. I just need more ideas.

It happens that I deal with more than SPD, so this is not the only things I'd have to go off of (or would need help with), but because people told me they'd help me if I decided to go in that direction, I'm trying to come up with as many ideas as I can now for potential tasks, and that includes for my SPD.

Also, that legal difference between service animal and emotional support animal isn't new at all. The limiting service animals to only being dogs is though, which is likely what ended up having that effect for you. A lot of people actually completely overlook what a service animal does, which can be quite problematic for people who really need those tasks. However, if you're in the US and looking at air flight, Emotional Support Animals still have those rights, it just needs to be documented as an ESA (meaning doctors notes and such). My cat is an ESA Smile.
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Marci Offline
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#4
RE: Service dogs for SPD

(06-11-2012, 06:53 PM)Tuttleturtle Wrote:  There are quite a few things dogs can do that don't have to do with physical disabilities. I'm just having issues with identifying what things could help me, and am trying to find a larger list because of having difficulty with coming up with ideas. If it helps with ideas, some things dogs do for others include: stop them from walking out into oncoming traffic, alert to specific important noises to deal with discrimination issues, wake them up because any usable alarm clock is so overloading it leads to an immediate meltdown (in many cases swapping alarm clocks is enough, but not always), and so on. I just need more ideas.
I'm having a hard time understanding the link between SPD and walking into traffic. What particular "sense" of the sensory processing issues gives rise that situation?

Also, as I suspect you already know, there are many forms of alarm clocks that don't rely on sound. Some use light or heat.

(06-11-2012, 06:53 PM)Tuttleturtle Wrote:  It happens that I deal with more than SPD, so this is not the only things I'd have to go off of (or would need help with), but because people told me they'd help me if I decided to go in that direction, I'm trying to come up with as many ideas as I can now for potential tasks, and that includes for my SPD.
There are many tasks that service animals can be trained to do, but I'm just not seeing a "task" that the dog could be trained to do for SPD.

(06-11-2012, 06:53 PM)Tuttleturtle Wrote:  Also, that legal difference between service animal and emotional support animal isn't new at all. The limiting service animals to only being dogs is though, which is likely what ended up having that effect for you. A lot of people actually completely overlook what a service animal does, which can be quite problematic for people who really need those tasks. However, if you're in the US and looking at air flight, Emotional Support Animals still have those rights, it just needs to be documented as an ESA (meaning doctors notes and such). My cat is an ESA Smile.
The decision to define a service animal as only dogs had a huge effect in reducing where we could take my son's cat: hotels have to allow service animals, but not emotional support animals. It doesn't do much good to be able to take the cat on a plane if he can't have it with him in a hotel. At home, the cat is by his side night and day, usually at least 18 hours out of 24, and the cat gets a big share of the credit for his progress over the past 12 months.
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Dan Online
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#5
RE: Service dogs for SPD

(06-11-2012, 10:52 PM)Marci Wrote:  I'm having a hard time understanding the link between SPD and walking into traffic. What particular "sense" of the sensory processing issues gives rise that situation?
I just wanted to step in and comment on this. I can clearly see walking out in front of cars as being part of the sensory processing picture. Heck, it's a common symptom.

Not noticing when vehicles are coming can clearly fall under the realm of sensory under-responsiveness. Also, not being able to judge how far away a vehicle is, how quickly it is coming, or what direction it is even coming from are definitely caused by sensory processing (and in particular, sensory discrimination) issues.

Remember, it takes proper sensory processing to realize there's a street, to check for vehicles, to determine whether or not it's safe, and to get out of the way quickly if someone is coming at you quickly. Without proper sensory processing, any or all of these things may be impaired.


Marci Wrote:There are many tasks that service animals can be trained to do, but I'm just not seeing a "task" that the dog could be trained to do for SPD.
And this, from the sounds of it, is why Tuttleturtle posted this thread in the first place. She is having a hard time coming up with tasks, and is looking for possible suggestions for what could work that would satisfy the legal requirements for her to get a service animal (not convert an animal she already has into one).
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Tuttleturtle Offline
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#6
RE: Service dogs for SPD

(06-11-2012, 10:52 PM)Marci Wrote:  I'm having a hard time understanding the link between SPD and walking into traffic. What particular "sense" of the sensory processing issues gives rise that situation?

Sensory discrimination issues could certainly lead to that. I have huge difficulties judging distances and speeds and how long it'll take a car to get to where I'm crossing.

I've not seen that one for SPD in particular, but have for autism.

Quote:Also, as I suspect you already know, there are many forms of alarm clocks that don't rely on sound. Some use light or heat.

Sure, and like I said that's usually enough and not always. It depends on the individual. That's not an issue I have anyways.

(06-11-2012, 06:53 PM)Tuttleturtle Wrote:  There are many tasks that service animals can be trained to do, but I'm just not seeing a "task" that the dog could be trained to do for SPD.

Okay, you don't know of any. That's fine with me. I do know there are some beyond alerting (which I'm trying to sort out and having even more difficulty with), but am not able to sort out my thoughts.

People who work with service dogs have explicitly told me I'd qualify. I'm dealing with more than just SPD anyways and even if a dog can't help for SPD I'd qualify. The problem is that I'm not comfortable with feeling like I'm taking the training for an animal away from someone else. If it could help with my SPD I'd be far more comfortable with it than I am.

I have been told that people are aware of people dealing with hypersensitive senses partially via canine help, I just don't know the particular tasks they did.


(06-11-2012, 06:53 PM)Tuttleturtle Wrote:  The decision to define a service animal as only dogs had a huge effect in reducing where we could take my son's cat: hotels have to allow service animals, but not emotional support animals. It doesn't do much good to be able to take the cat on a plane if he can't have it with him in a hotel. At home, the cat is by his side night and day, usually at least 18 hours out of 24, and the cat gets a big share of the credit for his progress over the past 12 months.

From what you've said, the cat was and has always been an Emotional Support Animal. The decision to define a service animal as only dogs, did grandfather in past service animals anyways. Service animals require tasks and from what you've said the cat does the same things my ESA cat does for me.

However, if you really want to try to work on this, places are not required to limit to only service animals are allowed, and sometimes places will allow ESAs or therapy animals. (I'm actually benefiting from this currently, and have a therapy dog allowed inside after church for me to reduce my overload.)

If it'd really help, I'd recommend contacting places, at least if you're staying in something like a bed&breakfast (which tend to be slightly more expensive, but more sensory friendly I've found), telling them the situation, and requesting permission for the cat to come. I'd also recommend getting the cat something that labels it as an animal that helps people - bandanas, collars with specific very visible tags, the capes of service animals, and so on are all good for that. With permission and something to show that the cat is more than a pet, its not unreasonable to get permission, its just something that its their decision.
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Marci Offline
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#7
RE: Service dogs for SPD

(06-12-2012, 02:13 PM)Tuttleturtle Wrote:  If it'd really help, I'd recommend contacting places, at least if you're staying in something like a bed&breakfast (which tend to be slightly more expensive, but more sensory friendly I've found), telling them the situation, and requesting permission for the cat to come. I'd also recommend getting the cat something that labels it as an animal that helps people - bandanas, collars with specific very visible tags, the capes of service animals, and so on are all good for that. With permission and something to show that the cat is more than a pet, its not unreasonable to get permission, its just something that its their decision.
This cat struts into the hotel lobby wearing his harness and leash, hops up on the check-in counter and greets the desk clerk. He doesn't care for his bandana.

(06-12-2012, 02:06 PM)Dan Wrote:  
(06-11-2012, 10:52 PM)Marci Wrote:  I'm having a hard time understanding the link between SPD and walking into traffic. What particular "sense" of the sensory processing issues gives rise that situation?
I just wanted to step in and comment on this. I can clearly see walking out in front of cars as being part of the sensory processing picture. Heck, it's a common symptom.

Not noticing when vehicles are coming can clearly fall under the realm of sensory under-responsiveness. Also, not being able to judge how far away a vehicle is, how quickly it is coming, or what direction it is even coming from are definitely caused by sensory processing (and in particular, sensory discrimination) issues.

Remember, it takes proper sensory processing to realize there's a street, to check for vehicles, to determine whether or not it's safe, and to get out of the way quickly if someone is coming at you quickly. Without proper sensory processing, any or all of these things may be impaired.
Interesing interpretation on SPD, and one that is completely new to me. I've not encountered it in our experiences, nor seen that scenario mentioned in any of the literature. You say it is a common symptom, can you point to any documentation of that?
(This post was last modified: 06-13-2012, 01:52 PM by Marci.)
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Tuttleturtle Offline
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#8
RE: Service dogs for SPD

(06-13-2012, 01:47 PM)Marci Wrote:  This cat struts into the hotel lobby wearing his harness and leash, hops up on the check-in counter and greets the desk clerk. He doesn't care for his bandana.

When I was thinking about setting something up for Ada, I was thinking of attaching something to her harness.

Quote:Interesing interpretation on SPD, and one that is completely new to me. I've not encountered it in our experiences, nor seen that scenario mentioned in any of the literature. You say it is a common symptom, can you point to any documentation of that?

I don't have any citations specifically because all the lists I don't want to cite include weakness in judging distances. Usually this is said in comparison to difficulty driving, but the same things can affect walking.

Dan's more likely to have information for that for you though, because its something he's actually gotten help with through his OT.

--

Anyways, why I'm responding now. I feel incredibly silly (and mentioned this in chat a few days ago). I've been completely overlooking the basic task that a dog would do for hypersensitivities.

Respond when the person is starting to get overloaded, tell them they are, and lead them to the exit.

I'm not sure if my difficulties in identifying how I'm feeling and it taking until more than mild overload are somewhat related to being autistic, but a dog interfering before overload gets bad seems to be a straightforward, useful, task. And it seems to be one that is explicitly worth mentioning in case others want to be looking in this direction.
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Marci Offline
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#9
RE: Service dogs for SPD

(06-21-2012, 12:40 PM)Tuttleturtle Wrote:  Anyways, why I'm responding now. I feel incredibly silly (and mentioned this in chat a few days ago). I've been completely overlooking the basic task that a dog would do for hypersensitivities.

Respond when the person is starting to get overloaded, tell them they are, and lead them to the exit.

I'm not sure if my difficulties in identifying how I'm feeling and it taking until more than mild overload are somewhat related to being autistic, but a dog interfering before overload gets bad seems to be a straightforward, useful, task. And it seems to be one that is explicitly worth mentioning in case others want to be looking in this direction.
Indirectly you bring up a point I've been wondering about: for someone who is hypersensitive, could the dog cause more problems than it solves?

My son gags and retches at the smell of "wet dog" and he is in general not hypersensitive. Dogs also bark, whine and make other assorted doggy noises, and make very stinky doggy poop. They can't help these things, they're just doggy things to do, but could/would these things become triggers in and of themselves, just making the whole SPD picture worse?
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Tuttleturtle Offline
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#10
RE: Service dogs for SPD

That's definitely something that needs to be thought about when it comes to the individual. Dogs aren't magic solutions and shouldn't be thought of as such - they have a lot of needs, take a lot of work, and cause their own problems because of being dogs as well as because of people treating you differently.

Anyone with hypersensitivities would need to explicitly take those into account if thinking about this. Slobber is another thing to take into account sensory-wise. It's not a decision to make lightly at all and that just adds to what needs to be thought about.

This isn't a magic solution for SPD. It just happens to be one I'm looking at for a potential for myself. Dogs aren't used for disabilities, they're used for people.
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