My Service Animal Advocacy Experience

Amy Lacosse is an employment specialist for The Arc Baltimore, placed at the UMBC SUCCESS program and UMB’s Project SEARCH. She completed her BS in Psychology at UMBC earlier this year.

I was the first student ever to apply to live on the UMBC campus with a psychiatric service animal. My motive was not to be a pioneer, but simply to cope with my anxiety disorder so I could succeed as a student and member of the campus community. Yet when I discovered that UMBC’s policy on service animals did not afford me all the opportunities guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, I became an advocate. And by advocating for myself, I also advocated for others in my position: people who needed service animals for reasons not covered by older definitions of disability.  After a lot of work with the Office of Residential Life, not only can I say that our policies and forms are up to date, but also that it’s become more common for students to request to live with service animals.

I created the video below as a way of sharing my experience and providing information to others about service animals and and the ways they are able to help people with disabilities.

Contact the author, Amy Lacosse, at lacosse1@umbc.edu.

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Comments

  1. You truly are a pioneer, Amy! And such a great example to other UMBC students. Thanks for being an advocate for others, too:)

  2. Kelly Cyr says:

    Yay Amy! It’s so wonderful that you’ve been able to do this.
    Also, I totally miss seeing you and Honey at intern meetings!

  3. Avanti Mehta says:

    This is truly inspiring! I think it’s great that you are creating advocacy for people and students with disabilities and their service animals. I work with SUCCESS to and I can definitely say that all types of advocacy are very much appreciated!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story Amy! And Honey’s story too. Your hard work will definitely benefit future members of the UMBC community.

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