I spent the majority of this past school year with a Kindergarten classroom helping a SPED girl in her gen-ed class. She left for vacation the last 6 weeks of the school year, and I was moved to another school to help with a visually impaired student.
My service dog was finally ready to start working with me– he’d passed public access, CGC, CGC advanced, and CGC urban dog, and our task work was solid. We had to go to an accommodation meeting with HR and then wait for their lawyer to approve it.
Our first two days in the school together, we would show off tricks and tasks, letting the kids see what he actually does for me, then we moved on to giving rewards to the kids who ignored the dog, or told others what was going on with the dog in the school. The kids adapted beautifully.
One day, the kiddo I was paired with was having a melt down on the stairs. Pooper-dog just laid down and calmly waited it out. This was great for us, as we don’t have any practice working with kids, crying, melting down, or just being generally unpredictable. Eventually the kid calmed down, and did what I had told him from the beginning he could do– stuck out his hand said “touch” waited for the dog to nose his hand (so he knows where the dog is) and he was ready to get going to breakfast.
Another day, my heart melted. A girl in our classroom, who I never had direct conversations with, left a note all rolled up and tied with a piece of string on my desk. I unwrapped it, and tears filled my eyes. She drew a picture of the dog, and had little word bubbles coming up “I help people” “I’m a service dog” “I don’t go in my owners kitchen” and the bottom said the truest sentence I’ve ever seen from a second grader; “I am important to you”. I had to ask who the student was, and man, I hope she understands some day what that note truly means to me.