Sophie the Golden Retriever Is an Excellent Social Skills Teacher!

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This school has a special program for children with autism and related disorders to help them learn social skills. The idea is to promote academic education through the teaching of real-world skills the children will need to get along well in life and in the classroom. And now they’ve found a way to do that more effectively than ever before.

Sophie is an exuberant and delightful 5-year-old golden retriever who is a trained therapy dog. Her owner brings her into the children’s class once every two weeks, and the children offer her food and water, pet her, and play games with her. Through their games and interactions, the children are able to learn what appropriate social behaviors look like, both with animals and with other people.

Sophie loves her job, and the kids love having her around. Their teacher says they always look forward to her visits.

Watch how Sophie helps students with autism deal with social anxiety. Thanks, Sophie!

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?