Distington Community School's very own therapy dog. Buster visits us on a regular basis and he has a large impact on promoting good mental health and well-being in our school. He is extremely well behaved and loves to play with the children. The positive impact that Buster has on all children is clear to see and every child looks forward to his visit. Just a few of the benefits of a therapy dog in school are listed below.
The benefits of having therapy dogs in the classroom include:
Physical benefits. Interaction with therapy dogs has been shown to reduce blood pressure, provide physical stimulation and assist with pain management.
Social benefits. A visiting therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem and focused interaction with other students and teachers.
Cognitive benefits. It has been empirically proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills.
Emotional and mental health benefits. A therapy dog can lift moods in the classroom, often provoking laughter.
Therapy Dogs and children with SEN
As well as the benefits a therapy dog like Buster can have on all children they have have a significant impact on children with autism. While therapy dogs have calming effects and reduced stress levels in most students, children with disabilities can present a unique challenge. The classroom can be a stressful and overwhelming environment due to social challenges and peer pressure. Therapy dogs can reduce the effect of this allowing a child with autism to feel more at ease and open to social behaviour. Researchers have found that children with autism are more social when playing with therapy dogs as opposed to toys. New research offers further proof that animals can also have a therapeutic effect. The kindness and the gentleness of therapy dogs help children with autism simply by being there.