Lift the Ban of Aiden's Autism Assistance Dog at school.
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Aiden Davidson, 7, has a right as a child with a disability, to request that his Autism Assistance Dog, Cobolt, attend school with him. The Principal of O'Sullivan Beach School in Adelaide, South Australia, has BANNED Cobolt from entering the school buildings due to allergy concerns. Whilst allergies of students and teachers is a serious concern, we believe that The Principal needs to agree to a solution that includes the importance of having Cobolt close enough to Aiden for him to access education in the classroom.
We propose that Cobolt be allowed to sit at the classroom door close to Aiden and that a portable air purifier be placed in the classroom. The peer with the condition can be seated far away from Cobolt. Cobolt will be groomed thoroughly every morning by Jodie Davidson, Aiden's mother, before school.
The Education Department wrote to Jodie Davidson, that "animal hair can be a trigger" for anaphylaxis and is concerned about the medical condition of another peer. Research shows that it is not dog hair that is the cause of people's allergic reactions but dander; flakes of dead skin. A dogs saliva, urine and dander cause the allergic reaction.
The Principal needs to be informed that an Autism Assistance Dog has the same legal rights as a Guide Dog for deaf and blind children. The only places an Autism Assistance Dog cannot go are; a Burns Unit and Intensive Care Unit within a hospital and a Zoo. Under the Disability Discrimination Act, 1992, a school must make reasonable adjustments for a child to access education. Under Section 7 of the Act, discrimination is unlawful where it occurs because a child with a disability is accompanied by an assistance dog.
Aiden is in Grade 2 and has autism. His life has improved significantly since getting Cobolt 18 months ago. Cobolt has encouraged Aiden to be more independent, stay calm in situations that would normally result in him running away. Aiden loves his best friend Cobolt and needs to be with him 24/7. That is the purpose of having an Autism Assistance Dog. The Principal should not take Aiden's one saving grace in this world away from him in the one place he desperately needs his mate. Cobolt keeps Aiden safe. Aiden won't be bullied with Cobolt around. It is a great learning experience for students to learn to be more tolerant of children with disabilities. The school is really letting us all down with their intolerance to change. It's time we as ordinary Australians say, 'No. This isn't right. We will not be bullied and silenced with government red tape. Autism is a real disability. We want children in our society to feel safe and thrive. We will speak up for and protect our fellow disabled Australians because they are vulnerable and we will not stand for you targeting them.'
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