Monday, January 31, 2011

Department of Justice Reaches New Ruling Regarding Service Animals

So, I have recently been doing quite a bit of thinking about the Department of Justice's new ruling regarding service animals. First, as of January 2009, service animals are to be limited to dogs only and secondly, under this new ruling, emotional support and psychiatric service animals no longer qualify if their main functions are to provide companionship, elevate mood, and so forth, the reason being that these benefits are not seen as any different than the benefits one acquires from a household pet.

While this ruling will be undoubtably problematic and painful for those affected, I think the DOJ had its reasons for making this decision. That's not to say I don't support those with emotional needs because let's face it-- we all have them, but I think that, as the ruling specifies, service dogs should be trained for specific, visible tasks and I don't know that happiness or contentment can be measured

However, a service dog may work with an individual who has a psychiatric or emotional disability that is co-morbid, meaning it exists as part of another diagnosis and this I fully support because many times, psychiatric and emotional disabilities do not exist solely as the individual's only condition but often accompany others like traumatic brain injury, autism, and oppositional defiant disorder. (ODD)

To read an article on this topic, click here:

I would love to hear your comments on this topic! Feel free to put in your two cents!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Indiana Cuts $34 Million from Medicaid for Autism

Introducing 34 million dollars in budget cuts to Indiana Medicaid in order to "avoid reducing vital services to the 1.2 million Indiana residents to whom the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA)  provides benefits."  The only thing these cuts will actually accomplish is leaving millions of young adults in Indiana with autism without the proper supports they require to become integrated within their communities and enjoy happy, fulfilling lives.  As a result, their parents or guardians will despair over how on earth they are going to provide for their children's long-term care.

Furthermore, for those with autism, routine and ritual are essential. We frame our lives around these patterns of daily activity and once they are removed from the equation it becomes extremely difficult to appreciate a normal existence again. Without routine, life is chaotic, unpredictable, and scary.

To the thousands of individuals and their families around Indiana affected by this--you have my deepest sympathy.

It appears our state government officials have none.

Autism Waiver cuts spell catastrophe in Indiana.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not Your Average Dog... or English Professor

Think your dog is smart? This dog earns A's in obedience and English for knowing over 1,000 nouns! Check it out!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fradulent Autism Vaccine Study Article in the NY Times

I have never held any stock in the belief that vaccines may cause autism, and I think it was a very wise thing England decided to do when they took Wakefield's license.

First, a person, but especially a doctor should not just make the claim that twelve children were normal until given the MMR shot, unless they know for a fact through extensive investigation that that is the absolute truth.

Obviously, Wakefield was just looking for a quick way to get his name in the books and did not do nearly enough research before publishing his paper because now all the glory goes to Deer for calling him out and bringing attention to the fact that his claims were actually false.

Autism Fraud

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Eight States Adopt New Legislation Concerning Diagnosis and Treatment of ASD'S

2011 marks a turning point in many areas. Today, Brazil's first female president officially took office. The Oprah Winfrey Show will end its twenty-four year span on daytime television in favor of adopting a cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and America has a Republican House of Representatives once again. But the new year also marks a turning point in the fight against autism.

Today in an interview with MSNBC Nightly News, Executive Vice President of Programs and Services for Autism Speaks, Peter Bell confirmed that "As of January 1, 2011, eight states have passed new legislation requiring insurance companies to pay for the diagnosis and treatment of autism." Among the eight states are: Kansas, Kentucky, and New Hampshire. This law is not limited exclusively to cases of classical autism, but includes the whole gamut of autism spectrum disorders (ASD'S). To read the full article or see if your state is on the list, go to:

Many times, families with children with disabilities end up going into debt over their various medical needs, I think that requiring insurance companies to pay for the diagnosis and treatment of ASD's is definitely a step in the right direction.

It's going to take a huge weight off a number of parents' shoulders because they'll no longer have to choose between buying groceries or paying to send their child to social skills group. I hope more states, if not the remaining fifty adopt this legislation in the future. To contact your state legislature regarding autism reform visit:

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

A year ago today, my service dog Lucy was born. Now as she sleeps at my feet, I look back on the past seven months we've been a part of each other's lives and think how much richer and more fulfilled my life feels now that I have her by my side every day than it would if I were to continue living the way I had lived prior to knowing she existed.
Because of her, I finally know what it means to love someone more than yourself and to care for someone's well being more than your own. I am so excited to watch her continued progress as she grows and to finally get our first full year as a team underway. Who knows where she will be this time next year? Thanks everyone for all your support! We look forward to sharing more of our adventures with you soon!

Happy Birthday Lucy, thanks for being such a good friend and helper. I love you!