Regulation of Assistance Animal (AA) trainers
Currently the Agency recognises training organisations that are registered under the requirements in the state and/or territory in which the participant wishes to use their AA. Arrangements for co-training (by participants) of an AA currently need oversight by a registered AA training organisation to ensure regulatory requirements are met.
The Australian Government continues to discuss the appropriate regulation for AAs for public access rights authorisation. The Agency will actively contribute to this process and, when a national approach is finalised, the Agency will adjust its approach to funding AAs as necessary.
Issues for use of assistance animals with children
The Agency recognises that timely access to best-practice early childhood intervention is vital for children to ensure that they achieve the best possible outcomes throughout their life course (as reflected in the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention approach).
For many (particularly those with complex disabilities), this involves a multidisciplinary approach with each individual family. Any consideration of an AA would need to be recommended through the appropriate validated evidence as part of the reasonable and necessary plan submitted by the ECEI partner.
The use of ‘safety’ dogs was specifically noted in the La Trobe University Report where this includes the use of practices that are restrictive in the form of tethering the child to the dog. As noted above, such practice is not considered reasonable and necessary, but may be agreed for an AA demonstrating other benefits that make it reasonable and necessary providing safeguarding requirements applied by states and territories to authorise such practice (including documenting in a positive behaviour plan) are in place.
For more information please see the NDIA Operational Guidelines.
If you have any further questions about the information outlined within this document, please talk to your Support Coordinator, Local Area Coordinator, Plan Manager, if you have one, or contact us: