What is Joe’s situation?
Joe is 30 years old and has low vision. He lives on his own and works full time. Joe has a goal in his plan to travel by himself on the train to and from work. He currently travels by train at peak times to get to and from work, using a white cane. He needs to ask passers-by for help to find his way through open spaces and large crowds.
Joe can mostly get around in crowded spaces but isn’t confident. Joe and his guide dog mobility instructor look at how an assistance animal could help him and whether it’s suitable for his disability support needs.
What information and evidence do we need to make our decision?
The type of information and evidence we look at to make our decision includes:
- information we already know about Joe
- evidence of Joe’s disability and how it impacts his daily life
- new information we’re given
- assessments and reports
- the dog guide assessment template (DOCX 100KB) that has been completed by Joe’s guide dog mobility instructor.
What information and evidence did we get?
The information and evidence we got tells us:
- Joe has a goal to travel by himself on the train to and from work
- Joe has tried other supports to help him pursue his goals, including a long cane and other assistive technology
- Joe is living independently, he is working and is able to look after the dog
- the tasks the dog guide will do, which include helping him to walk around people, guiding him to the train door, and finding an empty seat on the train
- Joe did some trial walks with a dog guide that included using it at peak times at the train station. During the trial Joe says the dog guide made it easier for him to get to and from work and helped him to make his way through the train station at peak hour. The dog guide increased his confidence and ability to get around in crowded spaces
- Joe was able to cope in open areas and didn’t get disorientated. He moved at a good pace with minimal assistance from passers-by
- Joe tried using a miniguide with his long cane. A miniguide is assistive technology that vibrates to help you know how far away objects are - the faster the vibration rate the closer the object is. Even with the support of a long cane and miniguide, Joe had to get help from passers-by to get through the train station.
What decision did we make and why?
Based on Joe’s situation we decided to fund an assistance animal (dog guide) as it met all of the criteria. An example of our reasons are explained below:
- The assistance animal was seen as effective and beneficial, taking into account current good practice. It was shown to do 3 guiding tasks that reduced the effects of Joe’s disability. This included moving through crowds and finding the train door. During the trial Joe was able to walk on his own in the crowded train station.
- The assistance animal was value for money taking into account the benefits achieved and the cost of other supports. Evidence showed that other similar supports were considered and trialled. These supports didn’t help Joe achieve his goal of full independence as well as using a dog guide did. The dog guide helped Joe to travel on his own to and from work without relying on support from others.