More Than My Best Friend

I think this would be a great idea for students and schools and should seriously be considered by districts for many reasons. Click here to learn more or read an excerpt below.



Memorial Drive Elementary has their very own Project Chance dog, Ozlow. This special dog works with the special education teacher at Memorial Drive, Mrs. Brooke Thomas. Ozlow is actually a therapy dog, which differs from a service dog in that it is trained to provide assistance to a group rather than a specific individual. This school year is the first that Ozlow has been in Mrs. Thomas’s classroom. Mrs. Thomas reports, “[Ozlow] is able to sense the students’ meltdowns before I can tell they are coming and she will go to them and nudge them and try to distract them.” The dog additionally helps the children with verbal communication. She interacts with the nondisabled students as well, and she is loved throughout Memorial Drive.

There is a wide range of factors that those living with autism may be subjected to, but the good news is that service dogs’ assistance ranges over a wide span as well. Service dogs are able to help autistic children with “language and communication, daily living and self-help skills, reduction of challenging behaviors and an increase in replacement behaviors, play and leisure time, socialization and community involvement, coping skills and self-regulation.”





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