Tag Archives: Disability

Challenge Friendly

(Prepared for the March 1st 2018 Canton of Aire Faucon Newcomer Night.)

How to Treat Service Animals; Choosing Challenge Friendly Sites for Events; and Making Activities Challenge Friendly

Class Objectives:

  1. Teach how to interact with service animals to adults and children.
  2. Start a dialogue of making the SCA more accessible to all.

PART 1: How to Treat Service Animals.

One) Working Animals from period, breeding to task.
A. Herding – Intelligence, loyalty, protective but also capable of attacking to protect, problem-solving, capable of independent and dependent actions. Examples: German Shepherd.
B. Hunting – Senses – sight and/or scent, loyalty to pack group and one leader, attacking – Hunting large game (elkhounds), hunting small game (dachshunds), hunting racing game above ground (greyhounds).
C. Transportation – Riding, pulling – equestrian, bovines, and canines.

Side note: Hybrids – the Mule (male donkey (jack) to female horse (mare)) and Henny (male horse (stallion) to female donkey (jenny)); Have the endurance and disposition of a donkey and proportional strength – with the larger horse size. They also are smarter than donkeys and longer-lived than horses. Hennies are smaller than mules because of parentage. In very, very rare instances female mules (molly mules) are fertile with true donkeys and horses. In general the chromosomes issues make them sterile (horses got 64 and donkeys have 62, and the hybrids have 63).

D.  Food and Manufacturing Industries – activity (plowing, pollination, grass trimming, rodent control); indirect products (milk, eggs, honey, hair for clothing, wax, quills); direct product (meat, leather, vellum)

Two) Economic Animals in Modern Life, trained to task.
A. Herding, Hunting, Transpiration, and Food Industry – Still ongoing.
B. Protection – Police and guard animals. Chosen for scent skills, protection skills – and trained further. Also guard animals like peacocks and geese.
C. Household companions – Highly intelligent creatures about half the size of humans or smaller. Chosen for compatibility around children. Most common animals are dogs and cats.
D. Companion Animals – Animals which provide emotional support for various minor physical and mental challenges. Some of the animals have been trained for several months in their tasks, for example emotional comfort in crowds or a second pair of hands.. A wide range of animals provide the comfort of companion animals. These animals are not protected under the disability laws.

E. Disability Animals – Animals which have gone extensive training from childhood, most at least two years, in their particular tasks. They are trained to work well in crowded situations, be around other animals, recognize the difference between being on-job or off-job, etc. Most disability animals are drawn from the herding breeds of dogs.
1. Children – Children love to pet these highly social animals. If the vest is on, explain to the children what the animal is doing. Explain the rules for approaching and walk them through it.
2. Vests – When the vests are on, the animal is on-the-job. Courtesy is to leave the animal alone so it can concentrate on its job of taking care of its handler. Just like you dislike it when a friend drops by while you are working and just wants to hang out and talk, the discordance between working and play for the animal also happens.

From American Girl (might no longer be available)

3. Approaching the animal – Ask the handler of the animal for permission to approach the animal. Ask if it is okay. See if there is a better time of day, such as when it is off duty. DO NOT GET BETWEEN THE ANIMAL AND ITS CHARGE. Pet the animal, but do not overwhelm it. Let it continue to concentrate on its human.
4. Off duty – Give the animal a transition period between being on-duty and play-time. Find out what it likes and play with it. Understand if it is tired from its day and just wants to relax.
5. Disability Animals at event
(a) Troll – set aside an area for the people and animals to check in. Have water available if possible.
(b) Weekend events – Have a running/play area set aside in the campground for the animals or make arrangements with the animal’s human.
(c) Crowded events – Have area set aside for a small quiet place.

6. Legal rights related to disability, therapy, and emotional support animal.

For Service Dogs – They have the same “rights” as a wheelchair and are considered medical equipment. You can no more separate a blind person from their service animal than a mobility impaired person from their wheelchair. This applies to trained SERVICE dogs only.

Characteristics – from “pleasedonotpetme.com” Service Dog Therapy Dog Emotional Support Animal
Handlers’ rights to be accompanied by these dogs in establishments open to the public are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.      X
Dogs must be temperamentally sound to tolerate a wide variety of experiences, environments and people.      X      X
These dogs may live with their disabled owners in housing with a “no-pets” policy in place.      X      X
Dogs visit hospitals, schools, hospices and other institutions to aid in psychological or physical therapy.      X
Handlers encourage these dogs to accept petting and socialize with other people while they’re on-duty.      X
Dogs are individually trained to perform tasks or do work to mitigate their handlers’ disabilities.      X
Petting, talking to or otherwise distracting these dogs can interfere with their job and pose a serious danger to the dog and handler.      X
Dogs’ primary functions are to provide emotional support, through companionship, to their disabled owners.      X
Subject to state laws regarding dog licensing and vaccination.      X      X      X
These dogs enjoy plenty of off-duty time, during which they rest, take part in fun activities and get to act like a regular, pet dog.       X      X      X

PART II: Choosing Challenge Friendly Sites

One) Types of Challenges – Mobility challenge (wheelchair, cane, balance, limited walking), crowd/anxiety challenge (too much noise, too many thing happening, too crowded), sight challenge (blindness, can’t handle bright lights, limit range), hearing challenge (can’t hear in crowds, no hearing), language challenge (different primary language, cannot read, cannot write).

Two) Mobility Challenge – Many people in the SCA have mobility issues. A lot of them are active in A&S activities. When planning an A&S event, try to keep it on one level – or have elevators between levels. At outdoor events, try to have the activities on flat ground and close together.

Think Ambulance – If an ambulance (outdoor) or gurney with two people pushing (indoor) can’t get to the activity , neither can a wheelchair.

Three) Language challenge – Are directions clear? If in an area with multiple languages, are heralds available in the languages of the area? Can information be shared verbally as well as written?

Four) Sight challenge – Can you make the print bigger on the waivers for poor sighted people? Is braille versions available? Is the light adequate – is more or less needed?

Five) Hearing challenge – Are sign heralds available? Can hazard information be passed on the field in more than just shouts? Can cloth be added to walls to cut down on echoes?

Six) Anxiety challenge – Are activities available in non-crowded areas? Can tasks be given to reduce people-fright (troll and kitchen for example)? Is a room available for quiet – nursing mothers, napping children, and people needing alone time?

PART III: Making Challenge Friendly Activities

One) Big Plus – Making activities more challenge friendly also make several of them more children friendly. Limited hand mobility, language barriers, walking distances, inability to concentrate in crowded, noisy situations all apply.

Two) Color Challenge – For people with color blindness, scribal arts still work.

Three) Planning Classes – Think of how to make it simpler for people with limited hand mobility or control. Bigger embroidery tasks, less detail on scrolls.

Four) Teaching class – is there room for a wheelchair to get in the door? For dancing, how can the steps be modified if one of the dancers needs a walker?