Gracie is now a fully certified service dog! It has been a while since we have updated her page, but she has been one since the Spring of 2017! Gracie accompanies Ms. Brieann to the offices to help out our AASL friends. She’s also taken one trip out of state and flown on an airplane when the hurricane came through in 2019 and was a champ! Gracie fills a special role here at AASL and comforts not only our clients but also the entire AASL team! We are so proud of Gracie and all she’s accomplished in the 5 wonderful years she’s been with Ms. Brieann!
What is a Service Dog?
Service dogs are dogs that have undergone an in-depth level of training to learn and perform a specific job reliably in all settings and environments. A service dog is not the same as an emotional support dog. While service dogs can help from an emotional standpoint, their main purpose is to provide independence and security for a disabled individual, by performing specific assigned tasks. Both types of dogs, though, provide their handlers a side benefit of complete cuteness and companionship…that’s an added plus!
The presence of animals in therapy can help support a handler toward his or her therapeutic goals. Dogs can help physical and occupational therapy become even more productive and motivating. Physically speaking, a service dog accompanying a child to therapy will be able to help the child accomplish certain tasks, for example, walking and standing up. What’s better is that a service dog can make therapy “work” feel less overwhelming or challenging. When a Rover is along for the ride, what used to be a therapy session becomes a time of bonding that may feel more like “play”. This can do wonders for a child’s motivation and can quicken progress as a result!
Dogs can also assist with communication development, especially speech and language, because they often encourage children to increase their vocalizations. A service dog in therapy or even the home setting may become a partner for a child to purposefully communicate with more so than another individual. It is common for a child to say words about or directly to a furry friend, and dogs can help promote other skills along the way. For some children, the presence of these companions may help to encourage speech and language skill development.