Billi and Doug the Pug, PAT (Pet As Therapy) dogs, have been visiting the children at Chiltern Wood Schools in High Wycombe.

The school is described in the welcome message on the school website.

Chiltern Wood School is a special school for 215 children and young people with a broad diversity of complex needs, from Profound and Multiple to Moderate Learning Difficulties (PMLD to MLD). We are located on two sites in the High Wycombe area (Downley and Cressex) and cater for pupils from 3 to 19.

The schools aim is outlined on the Vision, Missions, Values page.

Our aim as a school community is to enable every pupil to achieve their very best. This may look very different from one child /young person to another, and it is important that we recognise individual ‘success’ through a great diversity of achievements, including social communication, physical development, independence and academic progress. Our belief is that for this to be realised, we need to recognise the importance of wellbeing. A pupil is not going to be able to learn to deal with the social complexities of a crowded shop if s/he is not exposed to that environment step by step with trusted adults who can read the anxieties that this challenge creates.

Billi and Doug’s visits are valuable experiences for the children, challenging some to overcome their fears and approach the dogs and interact with them. It is an all round fantastic opportunity to teach the children how to treat the dogs and that you do not have to be scared of all dogs. The children prepare for the visit by making drawings, writing messages to Billi and Doug and discussing how they should behave when they arrive.

The Assistant Head Teacher, Wendy Taylor, creates a plan for the morning visit, each class knows what time Billi and Doug will arrive and are seated in a semi circle ready to greet them. We are greeted by all manner of emotions when we enter the classroom, gasps, laughter, screams, shouting and some no reaction at all. The visits have proven to be just as valuable for the staff as they enjoy watching the children’s reactions. They remarked how they just witnessed a child smiling for the first time in all the years they had been attending the school.

Both Bill and Doug look forward to many more visits in the future.

I just wanted to send you a huge heart felt thank you for this mornings visit. I know all the children enjoyed the visit as did the staff and Su and myself!

Wendy Taylor, Chiltern Wood School