While therapy dogs seem like relatively recent additions to education settings, their effectiveness has been noted for the last few centuries. For context, Florence Nightingale noticed dogs’ abilities to ease anxiety and improve recovery in adults and children which inspired her to further explore the idea of Animal Assisted Therapy. Famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud also used his dogs to improve his communications with patients, citing that they had an innate ability to sense non-verbal tension and anxiety. By definition, Therapy Dogs are pets that improve your health by giving emotional support. However, the dogs that are based at schools across the Trust are much more than that.
The long-awaited SEND and AP green paper recognises the many challenges the sector currently faces. From inconsistent, overly-bureaucratic processes and long delays in processing EHCPs to a national shortage of SEND professionals including educational psychologists and speech therapists – these are common issues that our own SEND and AP schools are dealing with every day.