Our Dogs Make Special Connections

IN CLASSROOMS WHERE READING IS NOT THE FOCUS

I teach children with autism in kindergarten, first, and second grade. Even students who feared dogs developed a love for Teddy, our Roxy™ therapy dog, and I noticed a true difference in their language while Teddy was present. Teddy’s visit became a social experience for my students and they benefited greatly. They were eager to grab a book and read to Teddy, or for my students who were unable to read, grab a book and excitedly listen to a story while snuggling up next to Teddy. Teddy and Barb’s presence in the classroom was such a wonderful experience.
— Mary Doyle, Teacher, Buckingham Elementary
 Roxy therapy dog Freya works her magic to help a boy with autism.

Roxy therapy dog Freya works her magic to help a boy with autism.

Program Description

In classes where reading is not the focus, our certified pet therapy teams provide comfort and support for children with special educational and developmental needs. These classes include Autistic Support, Multiple Disability Support, and Life Skills. While many of these children are non-verbal, or have limited mobility, our dogs are able to form special connections with them and help them developmentally and emotionally.

For a child with special needs, relaxation can be more difficult to achieve. This is where our certified therapy dogs come in. Dogs are able to reach these children on a level that humans often cannot. Dogs are also innately trusting and want to be accepted, just like children. They don’t see disabilities or limitations. A few hours a day or even a week with a therapy dog can do wonders for a child with special needs.

Our support for these students does not stop in June. Often, in order to truly continue to develop and not experience setbacks, specialized support is needed all year long. Roxy teams provide this much needed support through the Extended School Year program in Central Bucks School District ensuring that students do not experience any gaps in their education.

Benefits to the Children

Research shows that magical things happen when a child interacts with a therapy dog.  Anxiety levels decrease, heart beat slows, breathing becomes deeper and more relaxed, and fears are forgotten. 

Locations

Elementary Schools in the Central Bucks School District including: Bridge Valley, Buckingham, Cold Spring, Kutz and Pine Run

Director

Phyllis Mikolaj, Director of Schools 

 Freya the therapy dog helps this student with autism read.

Freya the therapy dog helps this student with autism read.

One of our special needs students only calmed down when he was with the therapy dog. We put a lock of the dog’s hair in a plastic bag in his pocket to touch when he needed relief. This got him over a bad patch in second grade.
— Volunteer

Learn About Our Other Programs

Elementary School Reading Inspiration

Secondary School Stress Relief

Courthouse Companionship

Pediatric Comfort

Meet Our Roxy Dogs