Woman by the Water

THE HELP CENTER

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WHAT IS AN ASSISTANCE ANIMAL? (ESA & PSD)

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, "An assistance animal is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified effects of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet." 

Source: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/assistance_animals 

OBLIGATIONS OF PROPERTY MANAGERS

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Individuals with a disability may request to keep an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation to a housing provider’s pet restrictions.


Housing providers cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

The Fair Housing Act requires a housing provider to allow a reasonable accommodation involving an assistance animal in situations that meet all the following conditions:

  • A request was made to the housing provider by or for a person with a disability

  • The request was supported by reliable disability-related information, if the disability and the disability-related need for the animal were not apparent and the housing provider requested such information, and

  • The housing provider has not demonstrated that:

    • Granting the request would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider

    • The request would fundamentally alter the essential nature of the housing provider’s operations

    • The specific assistance animal in question would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others despite any other reasonable accommodations that could eliminate or reduce the threat

    • The request would not result in significant physical damage to the property of others despite any other reasonable accommodations that could eliminate or reduce the physical damage

Examples

A reasonable accommodation request for an assistance animal may include, for example:

  • A request to live with an assistance animal at a property where a housing provider has a no-pets policy or

  • A request to waive a pet deposit, fee, or other rule as to an assistance animal.

Filing a Complaint

If you believe you have been unlawfully denied a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal or have otherwise experienced discrimination in housing, you can file a complaint with FHEO.

PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOGS

According to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, "The ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act 1990;2008] explains what businesses and state/local governments must do to make sure that they do not discriminate against a member of the public with a disability who uses a service animal.

Generally, businesses and non-profits that are open to the public as well as state/local governments must allow service animals to go most places where the public can go. This is true even if they have a “no pets” policy.

Click to Download Service Dog Reference Packet


Source: https://beta.ada.gov/topics/service-animals/

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ESA & PSD

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, "If the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, it is not a service animal under the ADA. But if the dog is trained to perform a task related to a person’s disability, it is a service animal under the ADA. For example, if the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, the dog is a service animal."

Source: https://beta.ada.gov/topics/service-animals/

EXAMPLES OF PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOG TASKS

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service dog must be trained to perform at least one task that helps you with your disability. YOU CAN BE THE TRAINER or you hire a dog trainer to assist. Examples of training tasks include, but are not limited to the following list:

Depression/Bipolar

  • Provide Medication Reminders

  • Alert Handler to Episodes of Rage or Strong Emotion

  • Wake up handler each morning

  • Recognize mood disruption and provide tactile stimulation

  • Prompt handler to exercise, eat, and bathe

  • Stabilize Handler’s Routine

  • Retrieve self-care kit


Anxiety/Social Stress

  • Stabilize Handler’s Routine

  • Recognize signs of anxiety and respond with tactile stimulation 

  • Prompt handler to exercise and eat

  • Sit, stand, and walk next to handler during social interactions

  • Retrieve self-care kit


Panic

  • Lay Across Handler to Provide Deep Pressure Therapy During Panic Attacks

  • Bark to gain attention of others

  • Retrieve self-care kit


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD

  • Provide Tactile Grounding Via Nuzzling or Licking

  • Apply Gentle Teeth Pressure to Forearm to Interrupt Dissociative Episode

  • Wake Up Handler Having Nightmares

  • Interrupt Flashbacks

  • Search House

  • Stabilize Handler’s Routine

  • Retrieve Psychiatric Self-Care Kit


OCD/Depression/Borderline

  • Interrupt Repetitive Self Harm, picking, checking, counting

  • Sit next to or on the lap of the handler to provide a distraction 

  • Retrieve Self Care Kit


Psychotic/thought disorders

  • Provide “Reality Check” so Handler Can Verify Hallucinations Aren’t Present


ADD/ADHD

  • Sit on handlers feet, lap, or lean to calm restless limbs

  • Stay next to handler to provide a distraction during long periods of sitting, working, standing


Bereavement 

  • Recognize mood disruption and respond with tactile stimulation

  • Stabilize Handler’s Routine

PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOG SELF-CARE KIT

We recommend having a kit of useful items to assist you in the event of elevated anxiety, mood disruption, panic attacks, and other major exacerbation of your symptoms. We recommend you train your service dog to recognize signs of distress and retrieve your kit. Items in your kit could include the following, but are not limited to these items. Try new things in your kit and be creative. 


Depression/Bipolar 

  • Safety plan (3x5 index card)

  • Treatment goal (3x5 index card)

  • List of coping strategies (3x5 index card)

  • Coloring book/journal

  • Personal encouragement reminders

  • Favorite photo

  • Favorite snack/drink

  • Medication

  • Phone/tablet

  • Headphones

  • Etc.


Anxiety/Social Stress

  • Treatment goal

  • List of coping strategies

  • Coloring book/journal

  • Phone/tablet

  • Headphones

  • Favorite candle with lighter

  • Cologne, perfume, oil, and/or scented lotion

  • Favorite snack, gum, candy

  • Water

  • Medication

  • Massage roller/ball

  • Book, brain games, puzzles


Panic

  • Treatment goal

  • Balloons to breathe in/out in

  • Stethoscope to listen to your breathing

  • Phone/tablet

  • Headphones

  • Water

  • Medication

  • Heat pad or cold pack

  • Book, brain games, puzzles

  • Weighted lap/shoulder blanket


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD

  • Treatment goal

  • Balloons to breathe in/out

  • Phone/tablet

  • Headphones

  • Medication

  • Water

  • Favorite candle with lighter

  • Cologne, perfume, oil, and/or scented lotion

  • Favorite snack, gum, candy

  • Heat pad or cold/pack

  • Coloring book and/or journal

  • Weighted lap/shoulder blanket


OCD/Depression/Borderline

  • Treatment goal

  • Phone/tablet

  • Headphones

  • Book, brain games, puzzles

  • Medication

  • Water


Psychotic/thought disorders

  • Treatment goal

  • List of coping skills

  • Phone/tablet

  • Headphones

  • Medication

  • Water

ADD/ADHD

  • Fidget toys

  • Medication

  • Water


Bereavement 

  • Phone/tablet

  • Headphones

  • Coloring book and/or journal

  • Favorite candle with lighter

  • Weighted lap/shoulder blanket

Discuss your Psychiatric Self-Care Kit with your Licensed Mental Health Provider or contact us for more information info@challenger-point.com

AIR TRAVEL - FLYING WITH A PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOG

Unfortunately, no airlines accommodate Emotional Support Animals; however, all airlines are required by the Air Carrier Access Act to evaluate and consider accommodating individuals with disabilities and trained psychiatric service dogs. Read more about flying with a PSD here (CLICK - AIR CARRIER ACCESS ACT)

PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOG FAQ - AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

Please read the following frequently asked questions about psychiatric service dogs from the ADA official website. Please contact the Practice with any questions, comments, or concerns. We're happy to help you navigate this process! 

(CLICK - ADA FAQ)