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Service dogs and SSD: many ways to help

Disabled people can often benefit from having a service dog. This includes many people who are receiving Social Security disability benefits.

In Michigan, there will be opportunities to learn more about the role of service animals next week during Investing in Ability Week. The University of Michigan Council for Disability Concerns is presenting a series of free workshops and other events. They will be held in Ann Arbor from October 22 to 26.

The disability concerns council is collaborating with University Human Resources and the University of Michigan Health System to sponsor the events. The overall title of the symposium is "The Attitude of Accommodations: The Art and Architecture of Accessibility."

Service dogs are a key resource for people who have been disabled through work injuries or in any other way. For people with visual impairments, dogs can be guide dogs, helping their owners get around despite vision problems.

Dogs are also great company for many people. This includes people with all sorts of physical, emotional and cognitive challenges.

In short, service dogs provide a vital therapeutic presence for many people. In order to do that, the dogs receive considerable formal training. Canines have to go through specific programs and graduate from them before they qualify as service, assistance or therapy dogs.

All in all, then, service dogs of different types have much to offer disabled people. Guidance for the blind or visually impaired is one of several very important ways that such dogs can contribute to the life of disabled people.

Source: "U-M Investing in Ability Week aims to educate the public about service dogs, more," AnnArbor.com, Lorrie Shaw, 10-16-12

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