BYU’s The Daily Universe is reporting students having difficulties finding housing contracts and other accommodations due to a lack of understanding for the roles their assistance animals provide to the student.
College is often a challenge for many, as unfamiliar places and stress bring out unanticipated emotions.
“I never thought of myself as a person with anxiety and stuff like that just because of the way I was raised, but growing up and going to college, I started realizing, ‘Oh, I do struggle with some of these things,’” 23-year-old commercial music major Michelle Howard said.
Students have trouble finding reasonable accommodations for their assistance animals.
According to the US Fair Housing Act, emotional support animals due not require any specialized training and help to mitigate one’s symptoms through providing emotional support. A service animal, typically a canine, performs work or a task on queue that is directly related to an individual’s disability, including a physical, sensory, intellectual or other mental infirmity.
“I wonder whether people understand the purposes, training and/or services provided by either animal. That lack of understanding and the associated assumptions makes it hard for all concerned,” University Accessibility Center director Ed Martinelli said.
“Any difference in how the animal is viewed doesn’t have any impact in accommodation determination. We look at the documentation, the request and a variety of other issues when making disability and accommodation determinations,” Martinelli said.
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