Five-year-old Devyn Pereira doesn't speak, but her smile speaks volumes.
She has Angelman Syndrome. That's a genetic disorder that includes autistic behavior and epileptic seizures.
She requires 24 hour care but has been able to attend pre-school in Gates with her service dog Hannah by her side and an aide to guide the dog.
But that could change when Devyn starts Kindergarten in a few weeks. The Gates School District will allow the dog to be with Devyn, but not an aide to instruct Hannah and give her commands.
It's a complicated story and the district tells us it is following the guidelines set forth in the Americans With Disabilities Act.
But for Devyn's mother, the answer is more simple than what is written on an Individualized Education Plan, required for every student with special needs.
Heather Pereira says her daughter cannot handle Hannah by herself. She needs a trained aide who knows how to work with a service dog.
In a recent statement, the Gates School District spelled out just what it has done to meet the needs of students like Devyn.
The District says it never "banned" the dog, but also clearly states that it is not required to provide an aide to accompany the little girl and her service dog to school.
So what is a mother to do? Heather Pereira hopes to gain support for her fight through her Facebook page, A Dog For Devyn. She vows to take her fight to the national level, if necessary.
She wants to give her daughter the tools she needs to live her life, succeed in school and most of all, experience what should be the most special time of her life--Kindergarten.
Seeing Devyn interact with Hannah is heartwarming. The dog not only keeps the five-year-old company at night, she wakes Devyn's mother if she senses the child is having trouble breathing or about to have a seizure.
This is not a story about a girl and her dog. It's about a mother's love and desire to give her daughter a chance, the same chance every other five year old has.
We don't know yet what will happen on the first day of school, but we know what we'd like to see happen: Devyn and her dog, and hopefully a trained aide, will be boarding a yellow school bus bound for a very special first day of school and many more to come.