Kathy Marcello & Ruby

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My name is Kathy Marcello. I am a Behavior Specialist at Peaslee Elementary School in Northborough, MA.  In the past 18 years, I have worked with many students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, ADHD and Tourette Syndrome.  My passion is supporting all children as they learn, grow, and thrive in their school environment. I was recently matched with a NEADS dog named Ruby.  My hope is to improve all students’ ability to communicate with peers and adults with the help of Ruby. Research has shown that Social Dogs help with the following:

1. Bullying

Social Dogs are making a difference in teaching students about compassion and fairness.  Children can identify with animals and, with empathy for the dog, can better understand how classmates may feel when being bullied.

2.  Autism

Children with autism typically have trouble sharing feelings and engaging in social interactions in school and beyond. With the help of a Social Dog, students are able to increase their social skills, which in turn benefits them in and out of the classroom.

3. Behavioral Problems

Social Dogs help promote positive behavior in students and decrease unexpected behaviors.  Students’ behavior toward teachers and classmates improves.  Additionally, parents report that children seem more interested in school as a result of having a Social Dog available.

4. Reading

Canine reading programs are doing wonders for young students. Children who might be embarrassed to read aloud to the class or to adults are likely to be less anxious about reading to a dog.  Reading to dogs can be an incentive when students are allowed to read to therapy dogs if they meet their literacy or other goals.

5. Social Development

Social Dogs in school offer an opportunity for improving social development. These dogs are especially useful for teaching students social skills and responsibility. Schools are using dogs to assist students in learning, building self-esteem, and communicating. Social Dogs can also help teach kindness and empower students through dog training programs.

6.  Responsibility

With a Social Dog in the school students have the opportunity to learn how to care for an animal. This includes walking, grooming, and feeding the dog, chores which can be distributed among the classrooms. The students also learn about responsibility, caring, and sharing when helping each other take care of a dog at school.

Since her arrival, Ruby has calmed fears, relieved anxiety, motivated children to exercise and fostered a relaxed learning environment.   

 She is truly an angel on a leash. 

Thank you for reading and considering donating to NEADS on behalf of Peaslee School!