Whats Right With Schools

What's Right With Schools: Inclusion & acceptance at Daniel Hand High School

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) - Inside Daniel Hand High School in Madison, like many high schools, special relationships are made. 

After a long wait of over two years, a couple of new friends are heading to class. 

“I think he really likes it, he follows me everywhere,” said Maeve Miller. 

High schoolers can have their fair share of stress, but Miller, a person with autism, has anxiety that can cause her to avoid social interaction and isolate.

“Before him, I just wanted to go home and not do stuff,” said Miller. 

“Scott,” her service dog, has brought comfort that has opened up a whole new high school experience for Miller. 

"Seeing it with your own eyes is absolutely remarkable - seeing her become a different person almost - more outgoing,” said Madison Schools superintendent Thomas Scarice. 

Also remarkable is the sense of inclusion and acceptance at Daniel Hand High School for Miller and Scott. 

“People are very good about pretending that he is not there,” said Miller. 

After all, Scott is a service dog with a purpose, covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

"This is a story of how a school becomes a welcoming environment for all kids,” said Scarice. 

Scott, with his puzzle piece vest, also unknowingly serves another role, creating autism awareness. 

“Since I've had Scott, people have been more understanding about autism,” said Miller. 

Catch the pair at lockers, in libraries and even on the field hockey field where Miller is a player. 

“I made a deal with them. If they win the state championship, I'll take the vest off and they can love on him,” said Miller. 

Scott’s role started in service, but has grown into much more. 

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