Is Animal Instincts Australia a NDIS Registered Provider?
AIA works as an unregistered NDIS provider. This means that we can service NDIS participants that are Self or Plan Managed, but we cannot invoice to NDIA Agency managed participants. We can also take on clients who privately fund.
How do I book in?
If you contact us via email or phone we can take your details and arrange an over the phone intake meeting. This meeting is free of charge. We can discuss your goals and requirements in sessions and find out your likes and dislikes so that we can ensure the sessions are catered to you as an individual. We can also answer any questions you might have about our animals and programs.
Must I have previous experience with animals/equines to attend?
NO! In fact many of our participants haven't ever been up close to many farm animals or horses in the past and our programs are a first for them. We teach you everything you need to know with safe well trained animals. Our Head Trainer has 20 years experience in coaching and mentoring so know that you are in safe hands.
Are there any age restrictions on the programs?
No! Our team have extensive experience with both adults and children and we have no restrictions on age in our programs. In our small group programs we do prefer to keep the younger children within their own age group where possible (under 12's). Please keep in mind our minimum booking for Individual programs is 1 hour.
I have myself and 2 friends interested in attending a program - can we form a group of 3 ourselves?
YES! As our program also facilitates social interactions and engagement we can ensure you and your mates continue in a group together if you would like to stick together. Part of the programs here are to have fun as well as personal development so we love seeing you enjoy yourself with your animal loving friends.
I'm a bit nervous about being around certain animals!
That's ok! We have a number of horses, dogs, cats and farm animals, as well as we foster animals through local rescue organisations so there are a number of different animals that you can interact with and it's your choice what animals you do or don't interact with. Our coaches are highly experienced in choosing the correct animal for each participant to build their confidence step by step so we won't overwhelm you with something that frightens you. We also work with our participants in 'protected contact' so you don't actually have to be right in there with them to begin with.
Are the animals trained?
For the most part the animals at AIA have had a lot of training and socialisation. Our Head Coach/Director holds many qualifications/certificates in equine and canine training and has spent her whole life working with animals and people. We do foster some animals from local rescues so some animals arrive here without as much training or socialisation - that is why they are here! We provide the perfect environment for these animals to learn and grow, just like our participants do. We also teach you about how to adjust your energy and create calm for the animals that need a little more help, whilst we have some animals here that will create calm for you. Hayley (Director) is also a Registered Trainer with Verndogs Australia (Assistance Dogs)
I get nervous in groups and don't like to leave my house much...how can you help?
We can easily bring one of our friendly dogs or small animals to you! We have a wonderful mentor who has lots of experience and can bring a dog to your home. With time as you feel comfortable she can even accompany you on a dog walk from your home or pick you up and take you to a local park to interact with the dog, and then drop you home. Our Animal or Canine Interactions can be catered to suit your requirements.
We also provide Individual sessions on site if you feel you are ready to move on from home visits.
I love animals and have had a bit of experience, I'd love to work in the industry one day - can you help?
YES! We have not only enough experience to help you in this area, but also a huge amount of contacts to facilitate work experience and volunteering opportunities. We can even provide a special 'Animal Employment Support Worker' to accompany you to work places and work/volunteer alongside you. She can give you as much or as little help as you need, increasing your independence and capability to get into the big wide world of employment. We can provide course information and help you decide which path is right for you within the pet/animal/equine industries. Our ACHIEVE and our GOALS programs are the best fit for your needs.
Is there a time frame I need to commit to? Or any lock in contracts?
We encourage our participants to stick to a regular weekly or fortnightly routine to get the best benefits from Animal or Equine Assisted Activities and Learning, however we have no lock in contracts so you can continue to attend for as long or as little as you like.
Is the venue wheelchair accessible?
We run from our own private property on the outskirts of Toowoomba and one of our training areas is suitable for wheelchairs or participants with limited mobility during dry weather only. Sometimes during wet weather the venue becomes unsuitable for wheelchairs however we will let you know if this situation arises.
Please note we do not have a specialized disabled toilet facility on site so please keep this in mind if you are booking into sessions.
Is the venue an 'all weather' venue?
For the most part - yes. We have an undercover training area and a secure enclosed smaller training 'room', and already have an open air space for animal interactions and training. We run sessions is most weather events however if sessions are canceled for any reason we will send out text messages and emails to you and your contacts as soon as we can. Our 'off site' sessions generally run in any weather unless we advise otherwise.
Is there horse riding involved?
Animal Instincts Australia does not offer horse riding lessons. Our sessions are based on 'ground work' and connection only.
What should I wear? And what should I bring?
We encourage our participants to wear long pants and sun safe clothing, including bringing a hat/sunglasses as required and long sleeve shirt so that they avoid sunburn.
All participants MUST wear closed in footwear ie; joggers, boots etc.
Please bring a water bottle. For our longer sessions we suggest participants bring a healthy snack.
Are you Allied Health workers or therapists?
We have three qualified counsellors on staff and 2 of our coaches are student counsellors completing either Bachelor or Diploma's in Counselling. We also have one Life Skills Coach. We encourage you to build a good relationship with other qualified therapists or health specialists as part of your regular support team and we are happy to discuss any concerns with you or your specialist as required.
Do I get a choice of what animals I work with? Can I work with just dogs or just horses?
Yes! As a general rule we work with a variety of animals, however if you have a preference we can certainly cater the session to your requirements. We have horses and dogs of all sizes and 'animal-analities' so we can find what fits your needs at the time so that you have a positive experience.
Should I bring a Support Worker? Is it necessary? And can I if I wish to?
Whilst we encourage our clients to be independent where possible, we respect that many people would like the extra support and comfort that their SW can offer, especially in situations where you have a great reliable SW that you've developed a trusting relationship with.
However if you are already quite independent and would rather attend your booking without a SW that is certainly something that we are often able to facilitate. Many clients start off with bringing a SW along for the first few sessions until they feel comfortable with us, and then decide if they are happy to go it alone after that. Feel free to discuss this in your intake meeting.
Please note we are not support workers ourselves and are unable to provide services such as lifting, providing personal care support or administering medication.
What about COVID-19?
Animal Instincts Australia follows all Government and Mandatory rules, regulations and restrictions. As most of our sessions operate in an outdoors environment and in very small groups we are rarely affected by closures and lock downs HOWEVER please stay in touch with us and follow our Social Media pages for any updates. We always recommend you adhere to physical distancing as per Government guidelines.
Please advise prior to arrival if
- You or any guests returned from Overseas in the last 14 days
- You or any guests have been in contact with anyone who has returned from Overseas in the last 14 days
- You or any guests have come in contact with someone who has had a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the last 14 days
- You or any guests have Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath or sore throat