I feel it is important for me to write some posts about the work I want to eventually do with autistic students.
As I've been working with Elsa, I have begun to realize I really enjoy dog training. Last December, I was fired from my job working with autistic students because I refused to comply with a rule that I believe is against Federal regulations. Due to the fallout from this (traumatic, to me) event, I am pretty well blackballed from teaching autistic students anymore.
For awhile, this realization kept me in the dumps. I was already looking for a service dog before I left the school because of my anxiety but as it developed deeper into panic disorder after the major changes I had to deal with, I began looking a bit deeper. I found Elsa's litter through a friend and spent quite awhile making sure everything was exactly as I needed it before choosing her. Things have gone well and even through the frustrations, I have enjoyed working with her more than I could have expected.
I finally understand how I can merge my talent of working with autistic students and love of training dogs... service dogs! I hope that eventually I can use the skills I am learning right now to train dogs to provide services for autistic students. I hope I can start a non-profit and work to make the dogs as close to cost-free as possible for the families. I want to work with moderately to severely disabled people in their twenties. I want to focus on those who are attempting to find jobs and could use the help of a service dog at work and at home.
I want this blog to help people understand service dogs better, help those who are looking to train their own dog get a sense of what goes into it, and help me stay on track as I work to become a service-dog trainer and start my own non-profit.