Seizure response dogs are a special type of service dog, trained to help someone who has epilepsy or a seizure disorder. Seizure alert dogs are no different to guide dogs for the blind. Both help their human companions to get out into the world. Both are highly trained and totally attuned to the needs of their human companion.
Seizure Alert Dogs, also referred to as Seizure Assistance Service Dogs serve those whose disability may be less obvious at times, but is dramatically debilitating to the individual when a seizure occurs.
Epilepsy is a neurological illness. Only 70% of cases are controlled by drugs, leaving the remaining 30% living with the fear of an oncoming seizure which can occur at anytime.
40% of fatalities linked to epilepsy are caused by an accident relating to their condition. These deaths may have been prevented with the assistance of a Seizure Alert Dog as they are trained to:
• Give between 15-45 minutes warning prior to an oncoming seizure
• Enable their owner to find a place of safety
• Seizure Alert Dogs have been shown to:
• Increase independence
• Reduce seizure frequency
Many people with epilepsy or seizure disorders are afraid to leave their homes, and the constant worry of their condition has inhibited their social life so they have few friends or anyone to assist them.
Seizures are socially unacceptable, over-whelming and embarrassing in our culture. This is especially devastating to young disabled children, particularly those in school. The anger and frustration of having to accept less than life should offer, often results in a difficult social environment for people who suffer from any disability.
Seizure alert dogs “forewarn” their owner, which is to signal them before the seizure occurs. This allows the person to move to safe area. This enables the owner to be more independent, and become confident enough to venture out from home. They learn to rely on the dog to help them and to feel a new sense of freedom. The dogs come in a variety of breeds. Many little dogs function exceptionally well as Service Dogs.
Allergy to dogs is sometimes given as a reason to not admit guide and assistance dogs. This is an unacceptable reason, and it is in fact illegal to refuse entry upon this basis. Most first world countries have enacted legislation that requires that disabled people have the same rights to services such as accommodation, restaurants, pubs and cafes as everyone else. It includes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled people can access services. This includes amending a ‘no dogs’ policy to allow guide and assistance dogs.
Being refused access can be a very humiliating and stressful experience to deal with. A lot of service providers are simply not aware of their obligations under the law, so providing initial information about access rights for assistance dogs is the first step. In many cases, when service providers realise they are at fault they are more than happy to help to resolve the problem.