Michigan autistic boy’s therapy ducks upset neighbors


He has autism, but he has special friends that help him cope.

But now town leaders say those friends have to go.

You might find it hard to believe that this is the center of so much controversy.

“I can tell them anything and they just won’t be bothered by it.”

A 12-year-old boy who has autism, and his two pet ducks. His family and his doctors say they help him cope with it.

“These ducks understand me so much. My siblings do as well, but these ducks just trust me more.”

One look at his room and it’s obvious, Dylan loves ducks.

“This is my collection of ducks.”

Rubber duckies, paper duckies, rubber duckies, blanket duckies, rubber duckies, lamp duckies, rubber duckies.

But it’s his two real ducks, Nibbles and Bill, that have upset some neighbors, created a social media frenzy, and made it all the way to the Georgetown Township Hall where officials ordered the family to get rid of the animals, doctor’s orders, no matter.

The family is appealing.

“These ducks are his everything. They’re his whole life.”

Georgetown Township says it has received several complaints. 

“The sight and smell is offensive and embarrassing, it could affect our home values as well.”

Dylan’s mom and dad say they’re prepared to take this fight to court, because of how much the ducks mean to Dylan.

“Having an animal that’s taught him compassion … you can’t teach that.”

“For Dylan these ducks are extremely helpful.”

His doctor says it’s a fight that’s worth it. 

“They provide the opportunity for him to calm down. They provide an opportunity for him to practice emotional regulation.”

“Yes, I believe it would cause significant emotional distress for him.”

Dylan is aware of the back and forth, and the chance he could lose his ducks.

“It just wouldn’t be the same.”

“You live here, we want to get along with everybody as much as we can, but at the same time we need to advocate for our special needs son.”

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