Facility dogs engage students in special education classes by providing motivation, feelings of safety, and increased opportunities for constructive fun.
Deuce is a facility dog at the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center. The students take him for walks, help groom him, and read to him. He attends their PE classes. A student reports, “It’s a lot more fun to run the mile if Deuce is running beside me!” They visit with him as a reward for working hard.
Deuce demonstrates how “sitting quietly” looks. Or what the words “next to” or “behind” look like. In the Occupational Therapy gym, after Deuce leads the way, a child is willing to crawl through a play tunnel for the first time. As the ultimate reward for the school, the parents, and the child, he encourages language development in many students, who have begun using vocal language when calling Deuce by his name.
Sweet, happy and easy-going, the children love being around Deuce!
Saint Francis Service Dogs is a non-profit organization that helps children and adults with disabilities to become more independent and self-sufficient through partnerships with professionally trained service dogs.