2017-04-28 / Front Page

School gets a new lab

Contributed by PAALS

Ross and Susan Woodley Ross and Susan Woodley Spring break is over, and testing has begun. Most students and teachers are sprinting to summer break, but that is not Susan Woodley’s focus.

Instead, this innovative preschool teacher for students with autism at Lake Carolina Elementary Lower School has been focusing on new ways to enhance her students’ experiences in the classroom, including bringing in extra reinforcement in the form of a canine teacher’s assistant, a specially trained facility dog.

Woodley spent a week at Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services training school on Grampian Hills Road in Columbia, learning to partner with Ross, a two year old black Labrador retriever.

Woodley’s goals for her classroom and for Ross include increasing motivation and communication with students as well as having Ross help her teach life skills such as patience and responsibility.

Dr. Andrea Berry, principal of LCE (lower campus) has been incredibly supportive of Woodley’s desire to have a PAALS facility dog in the classroom and states, “We are thrilled to have Ross join our LCE family and are excited about the support he will provide our students.” But he is not the first PAALS facility dog to serve in Richland Two School District.

PAALS facility dog Roberta has worked at Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary for six years in a classroom with kids with disabilities.

Both Ross and Roberta completed PAALS rigorous two year Assistance Dog International Accredited Training Program, and PAALS incorporates canine-assisted interven- tion programs into the training.

Service dogs in training participate in Prison PAALS, Summer PAALS, Weekend PAALS, Reading PAALS, Pet-A-PAALS, and School PAALS.

These programs are all designed to bring awareness of ADA laws to the public and to foster community support and a sense of service for those in the community who participate in these programs.

Ross officially begins his work at Lake Carolina the first week in May.

If you have questions, please contact Jen Rogers at 803-920-0042.

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