The fourth week of our Summer Program was phenomenal! This week our campers did lots of physical activities, and experienced the unconditional love of a dog in Pet Therapy!

Staying Active and Having Fun! 

20140731_143303FOCUS understands the benefits of physical activity for children on the Autism Spectrum. Not only does it have a myriad of health benefits, such as decreased stress and increased brain function, but exercise provides a structured venue to practice social skills!

During Week 4, our campers had another canoeing adventure at Burr Pond with the Wilderness School. Then, on Thursday, they took a field trip to Salmon Brook Park in Granby!   This 116 acre park provided many ways for our campers to be physically active. They played basketball and kickball, played with hula hoops, and swam in Salmon Brook. It was a wonderful time!

Pet Therapy with Petals and Paws!

20140731_111745That same Thursday, many of our campers visited Petals and Paws in Canton for Pet Therapy!  In a previous entry on our FOCUS blog, Four Legged Therapy, we mentioned the positive effects of participating in Pet Therapy; including decreased anxiety and increased social engagement. When our Day Program visited Petals and Paws, the children practiced their reading skills by reading to the dogs. Lead Teacher Erika Davis mentioned that the children were very motivated to read to the dogs, and that “by the end of the session, each child took a turn reading aloud to a group of peers. There was a big boost in confidence that day for each child.”

Each camper that participated in our Pet Therapy session got a chance to interact with three dogs from Petals and Paws. They pet their fur, hugged them, and some even allowed the dogs to give them kisses! Our campers’ faces were full of happiness, contentment, and joy. They loved this experience! 

What will happen during Week 5? Keep checking our blog to find out!