When it comes to Service Dog tasks, there is a lot of confusion over what constitutes a real, specifically trained task and which are only perceived tasks, fueled by emotion and wishful thinking. From Service Dog handlers to trainers to medical doctors to veterinarians alike, there is historically a lot of confusion surrounding this topic.
Julia is an adorable 4-year-old muppet with autism. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Sesame Street wants everyone to meet her family! They hope to showcase and celebrate the everyday realities special needs families often face. Julia first debuted in April 2017. Since then, she has appeared regularly in many episodes. Julia’s Muppeteer, Stacey Gordon, has a child with autism. This helps her portray Julia accurately and with sensitivity. Additionally, “Sesame Street” also invites input from the autism community at large so they can more aptly include both the struggles and successes common to those facing either autism or another sensory processing disorder. Sesame Street works hard to show the things Julia has in common with all children, while also acknowledging and explaining some of the difficulties. Specifically, this month, they expanded Julia's world to include her family. By introducing us to her parents, brother, and Rose, we get a peek into Julia's everyday routines. Dana Stevens, director of the Northwest Autism Center, notes that Rose serves as a companion dog and friend for Julia, not a Service Dog. She further explains that the Autism community regularly uses Service Dogs of various types. However, Julia's family views Rose as both a beloved family friend and a helper. Get to know Julia's family by watching the new Sesame Street song "I Love My Family." Additional resources concerning autism can be found for both parents and children at the "Sesame Street and Autism" website.
Most working and Service Dog handlers and trainers understand that United States federal law provides protection and access for Service Dogs. Still, it can be challenging to truly grasp all of it. Use this handy guide to wade through the legal jargon.