Saturday 29 October 2022

Team Henry ..... School Training

This past week at L's school, we've had two Smart Pups trainers at the school training teachers on how to work with Henry.

While Henry is L's Autism Assistance Dog, Henry cannot be at the school without an additional handler, which up until yesterday was myself. It is simply unethical to have Henry at school without an additional handler.

We are incredibly fortunate in that L's school is so supportive of having Henry at school - they can see the positive impact that Henry has had, and continues to have, on L. So after a few months of organisation, the time came for the teacher handler training to occur.

Prior to the training we were told by Smart Pups, the organisation that trained and placed Henry with us, that his original trainer was not available so we would be getting two new trainers. What Smart Pups didn't tell us was that one of the trainers, Carol, was one of Henry's foster carers and had Henry with her in her school classroom as part of his initial training.

When L found out who Carol was and her connection to Henry, he was absolutely blown away that "the teacher person who taught Henry how to be a good boy at school" came to his school to train his teachers!

At the conclusion of day one of teacher training, we had one very tired puppy and very happy child. Henry was his amazing self, as usual, and the teaching support staff were buzzing from their day learning how to handle Henry at school.

The teacher handler training was a very brief version of what we were taught when Henry was placed. It is important that they use the same commands with Henry that we do. The training only allows them to be the additional handler at school, but it does mean that on the mornings when L is having a rough morning, I don't need to stay at school in future.

Simon and Carol involved L in the teacher training - he spoke with them and the teaching support staff how Henry helps him and showed them some of Henry's task specific skills. L even helped out in his classroom, showing his peers the tricks that Henry does!

 L went to bed that night a very happy camper!!

Day two of teacher handler went just as well as the first day. The teaching staff were able to experience the task specific skills that Henry does for L - the deep pressure therapy laps and overs, and the nuzzling. We use these on a regular basis so it was important that they too saw, and felt, how effective they are.

Simon made L's day by complimenting L on how well he handles Henry. The teacher handler training was the next step in L's independence, he was able to show his peers, Simon and Carol and the support staff just how Henry helps him on a daily basis.

Thank you Simon and Carol for going out to L's school, we are very grateful ❤️

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