What is PTSD? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is most often associated with soldiers, however they're only a small segment of the population who suffer from it. PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event or series of events — either by experiencing them or witnessing them. In popular culture, PTSD is brought on a single event however for most people it's multiple events or even a pattern of events that feels inescapable. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about what happened. Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD. Memories or flashbacks trigger PTSD Another mundane day in the office; stocking patient rooms, prepping a few IV lines because our intel is that we had 75/25 chance of getting rocketed tonight, sweeping the Iraqi dust out of our makeshift aid station, when suddenly my heart starts pounding, tears spring to my eyes and I feel out of control. I had been having difficulty sleeping, plagued with nightmares but just chalked it up to being homesick and missing my son. This is different…I can’t function and it’s affecting my ability to do my job. Something was wrong. I tried to Skype with my parents about it and they just chalked it up to combat stress and told me to “suck it up.” I continued to experience these anxiety attacks that appeared unprovoked. It progressed to flashbacks. A certain smell would send me over the edge. Or a touch… That night in April 2010, when everything began spiraling downhill, something inside of me snapped. I couldn’t sit with my back to the door when I went to the DFAC (cafeteria) because I had to see the escape route and watch those that were coming or going. . PTSD makes you feel alone even when people are there to help Hello, my name is Shawna and I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Turned out that all those years of repressing the emotional baggage for all those “life altering events” finally came back to bite me in the butt and emerged as PTSD. I worked with my psychologist for about six months when she asked me if I had thought about a
Service Dogs work for people who have physical, psychiatric, or developmental disabilities. These highly trained and specialized dogs undergo thousands of hours of schooling so they can perform their work safely and reliably. They learn tasks to help reduce the impact of their handler's disability. These tasks fill in gaps in the handler's capabilities. By partnering with a Service Dog, disabled individuals often gain peace of mind, independence, and increased confidence. Since they commonly work in public, Service Dogs must be free of temperament flaws, focused, unobtrusive, and well-trained. Furthermore, the Americans With Disabilities Act specifies that they must be individually task trained to do work specifically for their handler. The types of tasks a Service Dog performs varies depending on the dog's job. Mobility Assistance Dogs might pull a wheelchair, help their partner stand up after a fall, or provide counterbalance. Hearing Dogs alert to sounds in the environment so their handler can respond appropriately. Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs) increase their handler's day to day functioning by helping to manage chronic and acute episodes of mental illness and related symptoms. What are Psychiatric Service Dogs? Psychiatric Service Dogs work for people who have psychiatric disabilities. Typically defined as "a spectrum of mental disorders or conditions that influence our emotions, cognitions, and/or behaviors," psychiatric disabilities primarily affect the brain and brain chemistry. Many mental illnesses cause physical signs and symptoms, too. Examples in the U.S. government's Psychiatric Enforcement Guidance document include anxiety disorders (which include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression, and personality disorders. Other examples include phobias such as agoraphobia, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, and dissociative disorders such as dissociative identity disorder and depersonalization disorder. Like all Service Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dogs perform specific tasks and work for their handler. These tasks vary widely depending on the nature of their handler's disability and exact needs. It's important that tasks be trained behaviors that reliably occur on verbal, physical, or environmental cue(s). Behaviors that any dog can do, like sit for petting or provide companionship, do not qualify as Psychiatric Service Dog tasks. In order to be a Psychiatric Service Dog, a dog must be trained as a Service Dog and partnered with someone who has a psychiatric disability. Merely having a disability and a dog does not make that dog a Service Dog -- only task training and the proper temperament can do that. In addition to task training,
Dog Trainers have a tough job. Not only do they train animals — but they also have what is often a far more difficult task: training humans. And with Service Dogs, a trainer's job is even harder. Service Dog Standards helps trainers make sure that their clients understand not only their rights, but their responsibilities as well. How Service Dog Standards Works for Trainers If you're a trainer and you currently train Service Dogs or would like to begin, create an account on Service Dog Standards. Then, set up your free business or organization page. It's so robust, you can even use it in place of a website — no hosting fees or other costs of any kind. If you have a domain name, you can even forward it directly to your SDS profile page. From there, it's easy to invite clients to join. Example of a Service Dog Trainer profile page on Service Dog Standards Service Dog Standards features: · Free for trainers and handlers forever · Public profile page for service dog handlers with a secure resume · Business listings for dog trainers and breeders · Robust tools to manage service dog puppy candidates, graduates, washouts and more · Manage multiple service animals and their status · Secure training and ownership history · Clear explanation of expectations for service dog trainers and handlers · Service Dog Standards Public Access Test · Service Dog Standards Training and Behavior Standards · Template and guidance for getting a physician letter · Information to help the public better understand the complexities of Service Dogs In addition to these features, Service Dog Standards has a supportive online community of nearly 20,000 service animal trainers, handlers and their families, friends and fans. Check out their website at www.servicedogstandards.org. Based on over a decade of input from experienced service dog trainers and handlers, Service Dog Standards clearly lays out what is expected in terms of training, public behavior and more. Service Dog Standards aims to encourage adherence to the ADA and increase public trust through technology and education.
Service Dog Standards (SDS) launches a suite of powerful new tools — specifically built for those who want to become partnered with a service dog and those who are currently service dog trainers or handlers — with the goal of making the process more straightforward, responsible and fun! Responsible service dog partnership. There are a lot of documents, tests and tools that responsible Service Dog trainers and handlers use as part of their training regimen. While absolutely none of these things on their own make a dog a Service Dog — and are strictly not required for Service Dog ownership under federal law — many handlers find them helpful as part of documenting their training. Service Dog Standards allows clients to share the fact that they have these documents in their possession without violating their privacy. Robust tools for handlers, trainers and training organizations At Service Dog Standards, trainers and training organizations can promote their businesses with free, robust, professional listings, manage, track and organize their human and canine clients and much more. Service dog handlers can create their own secure team Profile Page where they can safely share their training resume, complete with photos, training accomplishments and more. SDS also includes templates for physicians and walks people through the often complicated process of owning and training a service dog. See this example of a Service Dog Handler profile page on Service Dog Standards Based on over a decade of input from experienced service dog trainers and handlers, Service Dog Standards clearly lays out what is expected in terms of training, public behavior and more. Service Dog Standards aims to encourage adherence to the ADA and increase public trust through technology and education. Example of a Service Dog Trainer profile page on Service Dog Standards Service Dog Standards features: · Free for trainers and handlers forever · Public profile page for service dog handlers with a secure resume · Business listings for dog trainers and breeders · Robust tools to manage service dog puppy candidates, graduates, washouts and more · Manage multiple service animals and their status · Secure training and ownership history · Clear explanation of expectations for service dog trainers and handlers · Service Dog Standards Public Access Test · Service Dog Standards Training and Behavior Standards · Template and guidance for getting a physician letter · Information to help the public better understand the complexities of Service Dogs A service dog training resume may include: · Passing a Public Access Test · A trained task list · Detailed digital or
In America, parades, fireworks, food and fun-filled gatherings on the 4th of July are a time-honored tradition. For some Americans, particularly combat veterans, Independence Day is anything but fun. When deciding how to celebrate America's birthday this year, keep our veterans and active military members in mind.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a Service Animal as: any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, developmental, psychiatric, intellectual, or other disability. Per U.S. federal law, the Service Animal and Service Dog definition is clear cut. It includes any dog trained to assist a person with a disability overcome obstacles affecting their day to day life that directly result from their disability. As such, Service Animals are skilled and highly trained dogs who partner with people with disabilities. Service Animals are also known as Assistance Animals, Assistance Dogs, and Service Dogs. These unique working dogs utilize their specialized training to mitigate their partner’s specific disability and the difficulties caused by the disability. They perform some of the functions and tasks that an individual with a disability cannot perform easily for him or herself. In order to be a Service Dog, a dog must be partnered with a person with a disability that hinders their ability to function independently. Furthermore, the dog must have specific task training or work that directly lessens or reduces the impact of the handler’s disability. Without both of these pieces, a dog, no matter how well trained, is not legally a Service Dog. Service Dogs can be trained to assist with tasks and work related to a wide range of disabilities, including — but not limited to — deafness, blindness, autism, epilepsy, severely limiting psychiatric conditions, life-threatening allergies, diabetes, mobility issues, neuromuscular diseases, and many others, such as endocrine system, circulatory, or pulmonary irregularities. Some disabilities, like many neurological disorders or the cardiac condition POTS, are invisible and may not be apparent to others. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a Service Animal as: any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, developmental, psychiatric, intellectual, or other disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to: Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the
Before we begin, please note that our focus is on Service Dogs, not Emotional Support Dogs, Therapy Dogs or other types of working dogs or other species of animals. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Therapy Dogs are important types of working dogs, but they are not Service Dogs. It is very important to understand the difference. Simply being disabled and having a dog isn't enough Simply being being disabled or having a disease and having a dog isn't enough to make a dog a Service Dog. Many disabled people have pets. Service Dogs must be trained to perform specific physical tasks or work that you would otherwise have difficulty completing on your own due to your disability. Tasks or work should be things that are physically necessary. Under the law, people are allowed to ask you what specific physical tasks your dog performs to help with your disability and you should be prepared to explain. Providing comfort or emotional support are not qualifying tasks. Some people are surprised to learn that there are no legally-mandated training standards for Service Dogs — or even for Service Dog trainers. There is no “formal” test for Service Dogs because the tasks Service Dogs can be trained to perform vary too widely. Furthermore, under the law it is illegal for anyone to ask for proof of training or certification. The ADA is written this way because it is a civil rights law designed level the playing field for disabled people — not add challenges for them. If any form of "paperwork," "certification" or "licensing" were required Service Dog handlers could and would be stopped and forced to show proof to whomever asks, or, if police are only allowed to ask, police would be routinely called on Service Dog owners who are just trying to go about their day. Service Dogs do not always make life easier Before you begin to explore partnering with a Service Dog, you should know that they do not always make life easier and you should fully consider it. Please read 5 Questions to Ask Before Partnering With a Service Dog Fully training a Service Dog requires hundreds of hours of hard work If you don't already have a list of specific trained tasks, the first thing you should do is sit down and write out a list of specific things you would like your dog to perform. Tasks or work should be things that are physically necessary. Under
Another mundane day in the office; stocking patient rooms, prepping a few IV lines because our intel is that we had 75/25 chance of getting rocketed tonight, sweeping the Iraqi dust out of our makeshift aid station, when suddenly my heart starts pounding, tears spring to my eyes and I feel out of control.