The Therapeutic Animal Assisted Activities project combines specialised practitioners, companion animals, physical activities and fun with the aim to improve several aspects of a young person’s life from improvements to self esteem and self confidence to developing coping strategies and pro-social attitudes.
The project works to assist young people who display challenging behaviour, SEBD, ASD or have additional complex needs.
Based on the trauma recovery model and its work with young people who have experienced ACE's (Adverse Childhood Experiences), the project uses the PACE (Play, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy) framework and Thrive Approaches to aid in optimal social and emotional development.
The project starts with rapport building, laughing, joking, playing etc, continuously building on the relational work and once a suitable level of rapport has been achieved we will have a better understanding of young persons needs and we are in a position to work with them.
The project works primarily in schools, however due to budget cuts and funding restrictions it is becoming increasingly difficult for schools to implement the project. We are crowdfunding to raise money to significantly reduce the cost of the project to schools, allowing us to help as many children as possible.
Therapeutic Animal Assisted Activities cannot change the past, but we can help build a more positive future.
Dave and Baxter have been working with pupils from our school for half a term and we can see the difference they make. We have pupils who present challenging behaviour who have had varied experiences in life. After three sessions we saw quiet and reserved pupils open up to Dave and Baxter. Dave’s calm manner and allowing children to have an opportunity out and about with Baxter has helped pupils communicate in full sentences when they often don’t usually. We’re looking forward to having them back next year to continue their work.
Dave and Baxter have been working with us for approximately half a term on a trial basis. The pupils with whom we work have complex and significant barriers to learning and many have experienced a significant amount of trauma in their lives. Dave and Baxter have worked closely with these children and have very quickly developed excellent therapeutic relationships that have resulted in the ‘opening up’ and building rapport and trust through Baxter the dog. The trial has certainly worked and I am delighted that Dave and Baxter will be returning to work with us in September on a long-term basis. Thank you Dave and Baxter and we look forward to building on the outstanding work you are undertaking with our pupils – have a nice summer!
It is my great pleasure to endorse the work of David O'Driscoll and Look Who's Walking. He has worked with the pupils in the SEBD Local Authority provision within our school, building up strong relationships with them. Our pupils face huge challenges, developing relationships and boundaries. Dave has quickly made connections with the young people and they look forward to working with him and Baxter the dog. For each individual, one hour session, the pupils return positive, happy and fully involved. Even our most withdrawn pupils have negated with the project. Dave's expertise, professionalism and patience with the pupils is paying dividends and I would highly recommend him to organisations who work with challenging children.
Thank you Dave, for your excellent service.