When we decide whether to fund an assistance animal, we think about what support is reasonable to expect your family, carers, informal networks and the community to give. We think about whether it’s reasonable for them to give the type of support that an assistance animal would give you.
For example, we usually expect parents to look after and care for their children. We think about how much extra support the child needs because of their disability compared to other children of a similar age.
For children, we need to know:
- whether the tasks the assistance animal will do are tasks we would usually expect the child’s parents to do, taking into account the child’s age
- whether the child’s needs are a lot more than those of other children the same age because of their disability
- if there are any risks to the family’s or carer’s wellbeing if they give you support
- whether the assistance animal will help the child to do tasks without support.
We know how important it is to get early therapy and supports for children. Early childhood intervention helps a child get the best functional outcomes for life. A child and their family usually work with a team of allied health professionals. They’ll help you try supports which have been beneficial and effective for other children in similar situations, before thinking about an assistance animal.
For adults, we need to know:
- whether it’s suitable for family members, carers, informal support networks and the community to give you the support you need
- how much support you need, and whether your family members and carers can manage this, depending on how old or able they are
- whether there are community supports available to support your family and carers, and if there are any risks to their wellbeing
- if there are any risks to your wellbeing by having to rely on your family for support
- whether your informal supports help you be more independent or not, compared to an assistance animal.
We know it’s important to support and develop informal supports for both children and adults. Our Guideline – Informal supports has more information on how we can help you to do this.