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Guidelines Regarding Personal Care Needs and the Physical Campus

Personal Care Needs

Students and/or their families have the responsibility of recruiting and paying personal care attendants. Please be aware that a student with a mobility impairment cannot rely on a roommate or fellow residence hall member to assist him/her on a care attendant basis. The student's peers may want to help, but it is dangerous and against the law for them to do so.

Nursing agencies on the island should be contacted to provide assistance in recruiting trained professionals. If a student requires a care attendant as a reasonable accommodation and he/she does not or will not have one, BYU Hawaii Housing has the right to refuse the student residency. The student will need to arrive at BYU-Hawaii with a personal care attendant in place or the means to hire that individual prior to moving into the residence hall.

Assistants

In the past, parents have approached Disability Services and Housing requesting that individuals check up on their son or daughter. While both DS and Housing empathize with parents concerns about disorders such as seizures or diabetes, this service is not offered at BYU-Hawaii. Students who require attention for health and safety during the night should live in an environment where those needs can be attended to and/or hire a personal care attendant.

Physical Properties on Campus 

Students needing on-campus dormitories which are accessible to wheelchairs or which otherwise require detailed attention and preparation should begin making arrangements as soon as they receive admission notification. DS will assist students in contacting housing and communicating special needs for residential living and other adjustments to physical properties on the campus.

Service Animals

To have a service animal, a person must be so impaired as to have a disability. For example, needing glasses for poor vision is an impairment, but being unable to see with or without glasses is a disability. Having a mental illness is an impairment, but being unable to function on a minimal level because of a mental illness is a disability. Service animals are task trained to actually do something which mitigates the person's disability. Their defined function is not to provide emotional support (affection on demand or a security blanket) but to do something the handler cannot do for themselves which allows that handler to overcome or ameliorate an inability to perform major life activities. 

Real tasks for PSDs (psychiatric service dogs) include counterbalance/bracing for a handler dizzy from medication, waking the handler on the sound of an alarm when the handler is heavily medicated and sleeps through alarms, doing room searches or turning on lights for persons with PTSD, blocking persons in dissociative episodes from wandering into danger (i.e. traffic), leading a disoriented handler to a designated person or place, and so on. 

For more information about service dogs, click here.

Emotional Support Animals

An emotional support animal provides therapeutic support to a person with a mental health-related disability. They are often referred to as therapy animals, companion animals, or comfort animals by both the public and health professionals.

While all animals provide love and emotional support, the designation of emotional support animal is only applicable to animals which have been prescribed by a licensed mental health professional. The mental health professional must document the need for their client to have an emotional support animal, which is typically done in the form of a letter.

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