Hands Up!

Archive for July 2010

Assistance Dogs are not a new concept, we are all aware of Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs. Some of us may even be aware of Assistance dogs for those in wheelchairs, but did you also know that there are dogs trained to help those with Epilepsy, Brain Injuries and even ASD. Many families bring the dogs in from overseas as they are either none being trained in New Zealand or families aren’t aware of those charities that are training and providing such dogs.

ASSISTANCE DOGS NZ TRUST

Is a New Zealand based trust helping with the provision and training of service dogs for children who require assistance and companionship. They mainly help those children with Autistic Disorders but will also help others who would benefit from a service dog but do not qualify for one under other schemes. These dogs are not recognised as being Service Dogs so do not have the same access to Public Areas as the likes of a Guide Dog would. The Trust is working towards having this changed.  They do not receive any government funding and rely on public donations to help with training and sourcing of suitable dogs. This means that applicants will be expected to contribute in some way towards the costs of getting a dog.

MOBILITY DOGS NZ

Provide Assistance dogs to those with some form of physical disability, such as restriction of movement; difficulties walking, grasping or carrying objects short distances.  They do not receive any government funding and rely upon sponsorship and public donations to help with the costs associated with training the dogs.  The dogs trained by Mobility Dogs NZ, while wearing their yellow vests and carrying ID cards are legally able to enter Public areas ie. Malls, Motels, Taxis etc.

HEARING DOGS NZ

Hearing Dogs are trained to alert those who are Deaf or have significant hearing loss know of everyday noises such as Smoke Alarms and door bells etc allowing them to maintain an independent life. The dogs trained themselves gain a new life through this program with many of the dogs coming from the SPCA. They can even train an existing dog in the household to undertake the same duty, so long as the meet the requirements for a Hearing Dog. Hearing Dogs are also legally recognised and as long as they are carrying ID and wearing their yellow jackets they can be taken into Public Areas. They do not receive government funding and rely heavily upon public donations and sponsorship, so that they can continue to provide hearing dogs at no cost to the recipients.

NZ EPILEPSY ASSIST DOG TRUST

Has been formed to meet the needs of those with epilepsy, often uncontrolled to enable them to lead a more independent life. The Trust assists with selection of dog and with the training of the dog only, they do not provide the dog for you. These dogs are legally recognised and as such can be taken into public areas. More information

While not available here, there are service dogs available overseas to assist those with Allergies, in particular severe food allergies. More information on these dogs is available here

The legislation about the rights Public Access of Service Dogs can be found here.

  • IHC evicting 35 yr old intellectually disabled man who is also deaf and mute, because his family have questioned whether he is receiving all the services he is eligible/entitled too.
  • After Hours Medical care is no longer available in North Canterbury, with all those requiring medical services after hours forced to now go into Christchurch clinics. North Canterbury GP’s say this will not put people’s lives at risk.
  • 5 yr old Timaru boy is recovering well after life saving brain surgery for Arnold-Chiari Malformation II a genetic disorder involving the development of the skull.

Here is some information on Housing in NZ.

RENTING

  • Are you eligible for a Housing New Zealand house and are there any in the area you wish to live in
  • If you pay market value rents then you maybe entitled to the Accommodation Supplement from WINZ
  • If the house you rent is poorly insulated then your landlord may be eligible to get subsidised insulation fitted (assuming that you as the renter have a community services card)
  • If you have rented a HNZ house for a number of years you may be eligible to purchase it off them (this is available in some areas of NZ)
  • HNZ can also assist or provide advice with finding a house that meets your particular needs
  • Some councils also have Disability housing, though this is usually target at individuals rather than family groups.

OWNING

  • If you own your own house you may be eligible to the Accommodation Supplement
  • If modifications are necessary to make the house more accessable i.e building ramps or installing a wet area floor, you may eligible for a subsidy/funding through Enable.
  • If your house is poorly insulated, then you may be eligible for subsidised Insulation/Heating.
  • Check and see if you are eligible for a rebate on your rates.

LOOKING TO OWN

  • Are you eligible for a Welcome Home Loan – you maybe able to borrow up to 200k without needing a deposit
  • Find out if Habitat for Humanity is in your area
  • If building a house, checkout the Barrier Free Trust, who provide assistance on building accessable buildings and homes.

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