Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) have demonstrated to be strong support for those who encounter stressful, emotional issues. Health practitioners are recommending ESAs for their patients on a more frequent basis than in the past. Postsecondary students find themselves included in the increase of recommendations for ESAs.
If a student believes an ESA may be appropriate for them while the student is living in the dorm, now is the time to talk with a health care practitioner concerning the issue. A student’s prescription of an ESA will need confirmation for the school’s counselor. The school will be expecting verification from a licensed health care professional who has a relationship established with the student and is knowledgeable of the student’s needs. If a student waits until “the last minute” to locate a doctor who may be able to make a credible determination of the need for an ESA could be daunting, and perhaps not achievable by the start of the school year.
I strongly support the use of animals with disabled students. I have a Norwegian Elkhound service dog to assist me in gaining access to the community. However, such animal use needs to occur in conjunction with licensed professionals. Yes, animals are not for everyone, either. We will talk more on the subject in later posts.
George Fuller, MPA, MA CEO, Daniel Jonathan Fuller Memorial Fund