Alternative Social Communication CASSIE
Teaching with Dogs

Which students are currently offered provision

  • Those at risk of exclusion or with poor attendance/refusing to attend school. 
  • Students not accessing mainstream education or are home schooled 
  • Special Educational needs, ASD/ASC, ADHD etc.
  • Young people with physical or mental health conditions, anxiety and well-being issues or dealing with challenging life circumstances. 

What an educationally based session may look like: 

in the first sessions a basic baseline assessment to create a relevant curriculum and areas of weakness to develop

I will then use my extensive knowledge and experience to provide planning and appropriate resources. 

These may include:  

  • Basic Pet First Aid (Certificate provided by me on completion)
  • Read to dog for reluctant readers
  • Encourage writing through activities with the dog, word searches or keeping a diary of sessions
  • Complete classwork that they have struggled with as directed by the class teacher as appropriate
  • Develop posters or games with rules based on animal welfare
  • Encourage non attenders to engage with activities
  • Students can stroke dog if feeling stressed during work part of the sessions

They will also do some basic dog training to develop correct tone of voice and develop giving and following instructions. this can also help with speech and language sessions focusing on initial sounds e.g. s sit, stand, stop instructions

On completion of their work they will have some time to walk, train or play with the dog as a reward for completing the tasks agreed at the start of the session.

There may be a focus on friendships, anger management, anxiety, moving schools etc. as directed by the school. 

You will receive an update on the areas covered in the session before the next visit so that you know what is being covered and how well they are responding. 

Walk and talk sessions are possible either in classroom or on school field or nearby dog friendly park or secure field if requested by school

Whilst the focus of my sessions have an educational bias there are times when a walk and talk session may be requested by the school or student. These can be used to deliver a number of outcomes 

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Enable them to feel safe going outside
  • Student to learn about animal care and safety outdoors
  • Grooming
  • Basic dog training
  • Exercising the dog if they have been inside for a prolonged period
  • To cover agreed areas with student as advised by school
  • CBT sessions as appropriate
  • Teaching of strategies to cope based on individual needs
  • Provision of stress aids as appropriate

Expected outcomes for Students:

Bring learning to life

  • Gain access to hands on animal experiences
  • Pupils gain greater understanding of responsibility and respect
  • Increase motivation and boost self esteem

Improve negative behaviours

  • Increase communication skills
  • Develop confidence
  • Develop empathy
  • Develop social inclusion
  • Develop self-awareness and self-control
  • Develop strategies to control and improve management of feelings
  • Improve attendance
  • Dogs are known to be empathic and attentive which makes them perfect listeners, interacting with dogs can enable young people and adults to develop confidence and self-esteem without realising they are will also be tracked by student questionnaires at beginning and end of programme.