Saturday, 15 November 2014

Braille and a Black Lab

Our Five Senses Unit is coming to a close, and we have learned so much! This past Friday, we had an opportunity to learn more about what people do when their senses are impaired. Several special guests visited!


Our first special guests were from down the hall! Mrs. Cooper is an incredibly talented Educational Assistant who has become very skilled at Braille. Joining her was a student with a visual impairment who was learning to read Braille. 

Braille is a set of raised bumps that you run your fingertips over. The bumps stand for letters, punctuation, or even whole words. A person would learn to read Braille if they their sense of sight was impaired or if they were blind. 

We were amazed that our special guests could read with their fingertips! We were treated to a story, read entirely in Braille!

What an amazing way to read! Many thanks to Mrs. Cooper, who also Brailled our names!

Dogs With Wings

Mrs. Montgomery, a former Holy Redeemer teacher and close friend of Mrs. Beliveau's,  generously set up a special visit from Dogs With Wings. Dogs With Wings is an assistance dog training organization that supports individuals with various disabilities, from visual impairments to mobility challenges. Mrs. Montgomery used to train puppies and still volunteers with the organization!

We welcomed in Susan and a 2 and a half year old black lab, Oakley! 

We saw several of Oakley's special skills that can help people be more independent and capable.

Here is Oakley helping Susan take off her shoes, coat and hat:

Oakley knows how to help someone cross a street or navigate a busy mall. Here is Oakley getting ready to help Susan cross a pretend street:

Labs are an especially focused breed of dog. One of our students was asked to distract Oakley by stepping over her several times. Do you think Oakley payed any attention to this little girl?
Look at how Oakley's attention remains on Susan

We learned that when we see a service dog out in public, we are not to pet it, talk to it, or distract it. We can identify a service dog because it wears a vest. 

Can we pet this dog? NO WAY, JOSE!

Can we pet this dog? YES!

Once a service dog's vest is removed she can be treated like any other dog. We all jumped at the chance to get in some puppy cuddles, too!

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There are many ways to support Dogs With Wings. Susan said the organization is always looking for foster families to train the puppies. Of course, donations are always appreciated, as clients are only charged $1 when they receive their service dog. Susan even invited us to visit the dog training facility with our families so that we can play with the puppies!

Susan left our library with a new book, A Dog For Uncle Peter, written specifically for Dogs With WingsThank you, Susan, Oakley, and Mrs. Montgomery! Dogs With Wings is truly a blessing for so many!

There are so many ways that people with sensory impairments can be independent and successful. What an amazing day filled with learning!

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