I love my work. It’s such a pleasure working with the children at my learning center. They all have different personalities and different learning goals in place but one thing that everyone here shares is their LOVE for Violette and Chou Chou : our therapy dogs!
The bond between children and animals is so beautiful. When a child is non- verbal and is just starting to learn to communicate but absolutely lights up when he or she sees a therapy dog, it is just downright magical! (Tear-jerker moment, you guys!)
Violette and Chou Chou are yorkshire terriers. Violette has just turned 6 in February and Chou Chou will turn 6 in May. They’ve been together since they were puppies and already have 5 (yes, 5 children!). They had them all at once in one litter – which is very unusual for such tiny dogs.
Here are some fun facts about Violette and Chou Chou, our therapy
monsters (I mean yorkies)!
Female, yorkshire terrier, x-small, weighs 2.2 kilos.
Birthday : February 28th.
Favorite foods : cashew nuts and apple and organic, oatmeal and apple biscuits.
Favorite place : the French countryside in Picardie.
Favorite activity : chasing the chickens around my mother-in-law’s garden.
Therapy match : Violette is very outgoing and playful. She is a wonderful therapy match for children who have a lot of energy and move around a lot!
Super powers : Making the kids laugh, getting children who have motor difficulties to walk and move more quickly to keep up with her when she’s running around the room!
Meet Chou Chou!
Male, yorkshire terrier, extremely tiny, weighs 1.2 kilos.
Birthday : May 25th.
Favorite foods : plain yogurt and organic, oatmeal and apple biscuits.
Favorite place : Paris.
Favorite activity : Being carried around in his carry bag and sitting on our laps in cafés.
Therapy match : Chou Chou is timid and so sweet. He is a great therapy match for children who are timid as well and who may have a hard time coming out of their shells.
Super powers : Getting the kids to mand (request) and say “dog” and “Chou Chou”.
BOTH dogs LOVE : long walks on the beach (no, seriously!), cuddles, kisses, attention, playing, lying on the couch and watching movies and traveling and most importantly, all of the kids at Le Chemin ABA! ♥
Here they are hard at work in one of our therapy rooms :
We use a lot of visual guidance at my learning center, to help improve the children’s communication skills. I make homemade photo key rings that I use with the kids as visual prompts for verbal communication. Each photo represents a fun activity or toy and helps the children learn to request that activity or item. Guess who the kids ask for all the time? You guessed it : Chou Chou and Violette!
Visual guidance, communication photo ring :
Have you used one of these with your child? If you are interested in using visual support to inscrease your children’s verbal communication skills, you may be interested in my post “Experience Books” to build communication and language skills.
Sometimes we are really silly here at my learning house. On those days, we like to take the dogs out and pretend that they’re taking “selfies” of themselves. This makes everyone laugh… a lot!
Chou Chou taking a “selfie”:
Violette taking a “selfie” :
These photos were taken at the Canal Saint Martin with a Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Camera. Recently, the Mairie had emptied out the canal to give it a thorough clean so we decided to go for a visit!
We took lots of pictures that day! If you are interested in photography and photographing children with special needs, I hope you enjoy my article 6 tips for photographing children with special needs.
When I first became interested in animal-assisted therapy, I ordered the book Golden Bridge: A Guide to Assistance Dogs for Children Challenged by Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities (New Discoveries in the Human-animal Bond). It is a wonderful resource if you are thinking of getting your child a therapy dog or if you are just interested in learning more about how dogs can be therapy aids. I devoured the book and was sure that I wanted to include animal-assisted therapy with the ABA and VB-based, Montessori and Waldorf-themed services I was already offering at my learning house.
If you are interested in learning more, I have also written about animal-assisted therapy for the Autism Daily Newscast. You can read my article, “Autism and Animal-Assisted Therapy” here. Get ideas to pamper your therapy dog here.
Please also follow my Pinterest Board : ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY.
Some other posts you may enjoy :
Happy Friday, my friends! ♥
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