We just wanted to share with you some of the new exercises we’re doing with our students since they are a bit more advanced than those we did last year. That’s a good sign of progress then so that’s a good thing. For those of you who are new to the blog, welcome! Here’s a little background so you know where we’re at in the pet therapy conversation. We work with children/some now young adults, afflicted with Autism Spectrum Disorder ranging in ages from grade school through 21! They run the gamut as to the extent of their disability; some have motor skill challenges, many are non-verbal; some have both motor skill and cerebral deficits. In any case, we love to visit and play with them in hopes of helping these kids lead happier lives that allow them to interact more freely and socially with their friends, family and the people they meet along the way!
One of the new games we’ve introduced is bowling. The pins are made of soft cushions with bright numbers and colors on them. The participants first have to set the pins down according to number or color. This helps, obviously, with number and color learning. It also helps with motor skills because the kids have a chance to get up, walk, focus on a task, hold on to the pin until it’s set in place. THEN, here’s the fun part! They get to take a “Nerf-like” ball and roll it down to hit the pins. Everyone takes turns but our favorite is when we get to go since we knock the pins down with our noses. Instead of rolling a ball, we look for a treat that is hidden near or under a pin. Everyone thinks it’s funny to watch us do it. We just like the treat.
In the first pet therapy post of this school year, we talked about having pictographs with commands on them that the kids can use and point to or speak out to us. Well, now, we’ve added a twist: we COMBINE commands, so, for example, instead of a kid asking us to “sit” they may now have to add 2 more to the sequence like “sit” “stay” and then “come.” Pretty neat, huh?
So, now we’ll do this for a while because people with ASD like routine so we want them to get used to this.
In case you didn’t know, our mission at Brandy and Val, LLC is “to do good where good is needed.” Not only do we participate in pet therapy programs in our community but we also have a series of children’s board books and toys that look like us. Profits from the sales of our products help animal rescues and children’s causes throughout the country!
We encourage EVERYONE to participate and contribute to our blog and give us new ideas that we can do in pet therapy or add to the causes that make a difference in the lives of others.