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By Casey Neill

Devon Meadows Primary went blue in a bid to help a special little boy in need.

The school held a Go Blue for Autism day on Monday 4 June and raised just over $200.

Students and staff dressed in blue and made a donation.

“We had this fundraiser to raise money for one of our students’ little brothers who has autism and is attending a special needs school,” teacher Kelly Mayne said.

“They need to buy an autism Smart Pup for this little boy.

“They’re holding a bunch of fund-raisers.”

She said the family, which has one child at Devon Meadows Primary, reached out to the school.

“They were very excited and so appreciative of us helping them,” Ms Mayne said.

“I’m not sure what they’ve raised so far.”

The blue day was an opportunity to speak to students about autism and raise awareness and understanding.

“We spoke to students and sent a note home explaining what it was for,” Ms Mayne said.

Smart Pups Assistance Dogs for Special Needs Children is based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

The group raises and trains golden retriever and labrador puppies to help children aged from 3 to 18 years with special needs.

It costs about $25,000 to train and place an assistance dog with a special needs child, and another $1200 a year to maintain a service dog.

A Smart Pup looks out for the child’s health and wellbeing, keeping them safe and out of harm’s way.

They’re trained to help the child with specific daily routines and can help to reduce anxiety.

The pups also act as a bridge between the child and the rest of the world, easing feelings of isolation and fostering opportunities for social inclusion, friendship and belonging.

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