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by Abigail Van Buren

Baby Sitter Needs More Than a Moment's Notice

DEAR ABBY: I have a special needs daughter who is currently on a waiting list for a service dog. She has been moved to the priority list, and I'm hoping she will receive her dog within the next two months.

While I'm thrilled about the opportunities the dog will provide her, it has also raised a concern. What do I say when people ask what her disability is?

I know that legally no one is allowed to ask that question -- per the Americans With Disabilities Act -- and I would have no problem telling nosy strangers to keep their questions to themselves. But there are people -- like my co-workers and my daughter's classmates -- whom we can't avoid.

If you see my daughter on good days, you might not notice anything "different," although she has a number of significant health and emotional issues. What is the correct way to respond to the honest questions without revealing my daughter's medical history to people who have no need to know? -- MOM IN IOWA

DEAR MOM: Always be polite, but do not allow yourself to be pressured into giving specifics. Respond by saying, "Oh, I don't want to bore you -- the dog helps my daughter." Then change the subject.