May 2013

On May 7, Brittany Ammons announced the upcoming Douglas Meeting on her Autism 4 Life blog.

The monthly non-profit meeting in Douglas was canceled for May since Kimberly Duckworth was unable to attend.

Jeannie Bolstridge worked with the non-profit bank representative, the CPA supporting the non-profit, and our non-profit bookkeeper about needed receipts during the past five months of 2013.

Monthly Douglas Meeting – May 2013

On Saturday, May 11, 2013, SFL is having a meeting at the Coffee Regional Medical Center in Douglas, Georgia. The meeting will be held in Conference Room 2 on the ground floor on begins at 11:00 AM.

These monthly meetings are not for members only. Anyone is welcome to attend and feel free to bring your children.

Contact SFL at mrsb@socialprompter.net for any questions, comments, concerns, or just to say hello.

Do You Hope to Tutor Children With Your Therapy Dog?

I have a pile of photos that I took while a child and I worked together in half hour daily tutoring sessions. The Mom of this child supports the public display of these photos with the hope of promoting discussion of therapy dogs and tutoring child with autism. Max the dog and I were written into this child’s IEP for two school years. Sessions took place within the school, and Max’s therapy dog insurance and documentation were in this public school’s files.

Here is an Animoto presentation made during that time for this child’s Mom. You will see both social and academic sessions.

The first step is to train your own dog, which I will fully cover in upcoming posts. There are some good guidelines to accomplish this job. The most widely used list of training goals recognized in all five of the mainline organizations certifying therapy dogs is the AKC Canine Good Citizen Award.

Once you are ready to serve, there is really no preparation for tutoring children in-school with your dog. My advice to beginning therapy dog teams is to bring nothing academic or entertaining into the session. Some folks like to make school therapy dog tutoring complicated, but the schools already have in place their curriculum and state goals. The best help you and your dog can be is to come “empty-handed” and ask which teacher needs your help. The teacher will identify the student in need and you just need to follow the teacher’s lead.

I discussed this at length in mp3 format. If you enjoy listening to audio files while you travel or work, here is a short audio and blog post with more ideas about incorporating a therapy dog into your school tutoring.

Let’s look at tutoring in-school with a therapy dog a bit closer. The success of your in-school tutoring with your therapy dog boils down to one point: obedience. I’m not referring to the dog’s obedience because I’m guessing that after all your dog’s training and testing, that your dog is obedient and hopefully “bomb-proof”. I’m referring to the human’s interest in being obedient. Let’s consider that you are entering the school campus with the intent to volunteer your time with the students. Those students are the responsibility of the teacher and the principal of that school. It is my experience that the following three points resound best with the teacher:

  • Try to sync the teacher’s best time for the child to leave class for your and your dog’s availability to come to the school. You wouldn’t want your tutoring to put the child at a disadvantage because the class was scheduled to cover an important topic when you “pulled” the child out to be with you.
  • Meet with the child in the school location where you are told is the best for your child. If this place is not working for you or the dog, talk with that teacher. You can make suggestions, but don’t tell them that you’ve chosen a better location. Remember, you’re on the teacher’s “turf”.
  • Bring your personal items for the dog and yourself, such as sanitizing wipes for the kids and doggie emergency bags for the dog. Other than these items, do not bring reading books or games with you.

My perspective comes from working with both children and dogs. For this reason, the majority of posts in this blog will be in the Read Dogs” and “Learning Socially” categories.

Jeannie Bolstridge