I know that on the outside it may not look like much has happened here, but I have been doing a bit of work behind the scenes and am trying to get everything put together in a more logical format. This FAQ is quite a beast to try and tame.

And there's something else.... I just learned that you can only have a maximum of 20 'Pages' on Blogger. So now I have to rework the plan that I had just been working on. Blah.

3. Who is disabled?

(1) Disability. - The term “disability” means, with respect to an individual-
(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
(B) a record of such an impairment; or
(C) being regarded as having such an impairment (as described in paragraph (3)).
(2) Major life activities
A) In general
For purposes of paragraph (1), major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
(B) Major bodily functions
For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
(3) Regarded as having such an impairment
For purposes of paragraph (1)(C):
(A) An individual meets the requirement of “being regarded as having such an impairment” if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this chapter because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.
(B) Paragraph (1)(C) shall not apply to impairments that are transitory and minor. A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.
(4) Rules of construction regarding the definition of disability
The definition of “disability” in paragraph (1) shall be construed in accordance with the following:
(A) The definition of disability in this chapter shall be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals under this chapter, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of this chapter.
(B) The term “substantially limits” shall be interpreted consistently with the findings and purposes of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
(C) An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.
(D) An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
(E)(i) The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as—
(I) medication, medical supplies, equipment, or appliances, low-vision devices (which do not include ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing aids and cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies;
(II) use of assistive technology;
(III) reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services; or
(IV) learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.
(ii) The ameliorative effects of the mitigating measures of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses shall be considered in determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity.
(iii) As used in this subparagraph—
(I) the term “ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses” means lenses that are intended to fully correct visual acuity or eliminate refractive error; and
(II) the term “low-vision devices” means devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise augment a visual image.

2. What is the difference between a service-dog-in-training versus a full-fledged service dog?

According to prevalent service dog training custom(s) in our country, a dog isn’t labeled as a service dog in training until it has completed basic obedience training using verbal commands and hand signals, both on and off-leash, and has passed (or is capable of passing) the Canine Good Citizen Test. This is the juncture at which one normally begins public access training with the dog. This is also the time when one usually puts a cape or harness on the dog and begins taking it into places of public accommodation where dogs aren’t normally allowed to go.

Try to resist the temptation of prematurely labeling your service dog in training a fully-trained service dog, when he/she is not yet fully trained. All service dogs in training make mistakes at one time or another. Fully trained and mature Service Dogs rarely do. Thus, if you are in a public setting and your dog does something wrong, such as bark inappropriately, it is better to have your dog labeled as a service dog in training rather than a service dog. Most people will understand and be tolerant of a young dog in-training, so long as you correct the offending behavior immediately. There is less tolerance by the public when such a dog is identified as a fully-trained service dog. What may at first seem to be an officious restriction, can in fact be a saving grace when your service dog in training makes his/her first mistake in public.

In the context of owner-training, it is usually the handler’s decision as to when a dog will ‘graduate’ from in-training status to full-fledged service dog. A reasonable benchmark for service dog ‘graduation’ is passage of the Psychiatric Service Dog Society's Public Access Test (provided that the dog has already been trained to assist with the mitigation of disabling symptoms).

Note: Many federal laws grant access to a disabled person with their service dog but these laws do not apply to service dog in training. Some states have implemented laws to bridge this gap in coverage, so that trainers working a service dog in training can enjoy full access to places of public accommodation for the purposes of training. Unfortunately, few of these laws are consistent with the language of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that the law in your state may be written in such a way that it pertains only to certain types of service dogs and not others (i.e., guide dogs but not seizure alert dogs, for example). Or, the state law may specify that coverage only extends to service dogs from state sanctioned service dog training facilities or trainers who are credentialed by a state sanctioned training authority.

1. What is a Service Animal?

Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

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