Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community for April 2017

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need.

NIDILRR Projects:

The ten ADA National Network Regional Centers (English) (various) provide information, technical assistance, and training to maximize the full inclusion and integration of people with disabilities through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so that they can participate in their communities. The ADA National Network is a leading resource on the ADA and related disability rights laws. Regional centers provide online and in-person trainings, webinars, resources, information on national initiatives, and publications on the ADA. The publications include a great guide that provides information on how federal laws govern service animals and emotional support animals.


Recognizing the value of assistance dogs in society. (English) (J72497). This article looks at the different types of assistance dogs in the United Kingdom, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility assistance dogs, and service dogs. It looks at the literature that describes the benefits of such dogs, including their impact on physical and psychological wellbeing, social inclusion, and safety of their owners. The article highlights the need for high quality research so that social care and policy makers make decisions based on the evidence on the value of assistance dogs to people with disabilities.

Psychosocial well-being and community participation of service dog partners. (English) (J50170). The article describes a study that compared the psychosocial wellbeing and community participation for people who utilize wheelchairs or scooters with or without service dogs. Psychological wellbeing was defined through the use of standardized scale scores for depressive symptoms, mood, self-esteem, and loneliness. Researchers did not find a significant difference in the psychosocial characteristics between those with and without service dogs. The social integration domain of the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique was used to assess community participation in the study participants. Participants with progressive conditions partnered with service dogs showed significantly higher positive affect scores in the social integration domain than those without service dogs. Fewer depressive symptoms and being female or married predicted greater community participation for both groups.


Mobile technology improves the assistance of service dogs (Amóvil – Spain). The Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a wearable device that allows dogs that assists people with special needs to communicate with their owners. It is a vest named FIDO that is equipped with a sensor that the dog can activate to send signs/symbols to a mobile device. According to Melody Jackson, Project Director, the vest will allow service animals to contact emergency services if their owners are in danger. The service dog only has to bite the sensor and the mobile device would call the emergency number. FIDO is currently in the study phase of development.


Students with autism, service dogs, and public schools: A review of state laws (English) (J69406). This article describes a study that looked at states’ laws related to the use of service dogs by children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Researchers evaluated statutes related to all disability classifications eligible to use a service dog, regulations that authorized training of service animals, and school access for service animals. The results of this study suggest that current state laws do no help the use of service dogs by children with ASD. The results also suggest that these laws do not provide enough guidance for parents and schools. The article also discusses recommendations for policy.


Does the purpose for using a service dog make a difference in the perceptions of what it takes to create successful outcomes in the workplace? (English) (J71989). This article describes a study that looked to see if there were perceptual differences regarding how important the elements that are seen as imperative for successful service dog partnerships in the workplace are between those who have experience with service dogs for medical alert/response and those for mobility/stability. The participants in the study were asked to rank 68 elements by importance. Those in the mobility/stability group ranked the coworker preparation and legal knowledge clusters as more important than those in the medical alert/response group. The results of this study suggest that more research is needed on the unique needs of different groups within the population of people who use service dogs.


  • The Rights and Responsibilities of People Who Use Service Animals (US – The Texas Workforce Commission) – This factsheet describes the rights of people who work with service animals, provides a definition of service animals and assistance animals; describes what establishments can ask about a person’s service animal; and provides information on public transportation, restaurants, and other public places and service animals, along with information on the fraudulent use of animals.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA (English) (US Department of Justice) – This PDF in English provides guidance on provisions about service animals in the ADA. It includes definitions of service animals under the ADA, information on questions that employers can ask about service animals, information on service animals and food lines, information on hotels and service animals, information on certification and registration, exclusion of service animals, and other topics.
  • reSearch Volume 8, Number 1, Service Animals and Animal-Assisted Therapy (English) (US – NARIC) – This edition of reSearch provides a “snapshot” of research on service animals and animal-assisted therapy. It presents research related to specific types of disability, service animals, and animal-assisted therapy. This edition is also available in Spanish.
  • What is a service animal and what is a support animal? (English) (US – NARIC). This FAQ provides a very general overview of the differences between service animals and support animals. It also describes what laws affect each type of animal and provides resources such as the ADA National Network. This FAQ is also available in Spanish.

Further Research:

About Answered Questions

Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned below is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked. This month’s question is: What are service animals, how does the ADA apply to them, and how do they help people with disabilities? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that describe the ten ADA National Network Regional Centers  and the guide it provides on the ADA and service animals, a vest that service dogs can utilize to contact 911 in case their owner is experiencing an emergency, describe research on service animals and animal-assisted therapy, FAQ on service animals and the ADA, describe a review of states’ laws on service animals and students with ASD, that recognize the value of service animals in society, and that describe the psychosocial wellbeing and community participation of service animal partners.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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