This beautifully written article in our local newspaper the “Fremantle Gazette” explains the visits by therapy dog “Angus” who is specially trained in interacting with children who have additional needs.
The interactions with Angus have been transformative for both boys. Their social connections and speech have improved beyond measure.
Both boys know that Friday is “Angus” day and were devastated when “Angus” had to take a “holiday”.
Angus’s visits to school were funded by a one year special grant but that has not been renewed. We are fundraising for funds to continue the program so that both our children and others in the school can continue to benefit from Angus. (We are told even the school admin look forward to an “Angus” visit).
Comments from the School;
“Most days at Winterfold Primary School are action packed, educational and filled with moments to chill out with friends but Fridays in Semester Two last year were extra memorable for some of our students.
This was due to our weekly visits by “Angus”, a beautiful Therapy dog, and his wonderful trainer Kay from Wagamuffins. Together they travelled each Friday from Gingin to work with some of our higher needs students bringing companionship, friendship and that something extra special to look forward to on Fridays.
We were lucky enough to access “Angus” and Kay through a grant from a More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative, however, this source of funding has now ceased and we are seeking support from our school community to enable Kay and “Angus” to continue to visit in 2017”.
Comments from Aidan’s family;
“For five years we have been asking Aidan” what did you do at school today” and he has never answered. On the day that Angus first came Aidan answered ‘Angus’. He then spoke about him all weekend”.
Comments from Georgie’s family;
“Georgie looks forward to Friday's at school as he knows he will be spending time with his favourite therapy dog Angus. Georgie has ASD (Autism) and deals with high anxiety in his everyday life, but with Angus he becomes a different little man.
He walks Angus, gives commands and loves playing chasy with both Angus the dog and his best friend Aidan. The joy that Angus the therapy dog gives to my son is priceless. I thank Winterfold Primary School for introducing this wonderful therapy to my son Georgie, and hope it will continue with great success”.
Some of the benefits from Angus for the two boys include:
· Gives them the ability to have control.
· Become more aware.
· Enriches their social and psychological health and wellbeing
· Be more dynamic in their interactions.
· Improves conversational ability,
· Improves spatial awareness
· Improves fine and gross motor skills.
· Gives a sense of accomplishment.
· Sensory needs – patting, grooming, taking for walks, cuddles
· Motivation to complete tasks before visit
· Communication – listening to Kay
· Playing games and learning about interactive play
· Giving commands to Angus and Angus responding
· Taking Angus to visit classmates, school office and principal
· Wonderful, warm fuzzy memories of primary school to cherish for staff and students
Up close and personal
Mmmm ….whose turn is it to pick it up?
Just waiting for our Friday morning meeting with Mr Berry (the Principal).
- Rosanne Scott
- Astrid Ferreira
- Lesley Lings
South Fremantle, WA