Poppy – Our Autism Service Dog

Update: 05/01/17

Happy New Year from Poppy!


Poppy update.

Poppy had a very relaxing holiday and really enjoyed the cool but dry and foggy weather.

She went for long walks and played hide and seek in the fog.




Poppy continues to have a regular timetable where she visits classes, works with individual learners or goes out with groups in the local area. Poppy is still unsure of public transport and much prefers to walk.

Poppy enjoys listening to the children read to her at story or library time. Some children really enjoy sharing their progress by reading to her.

Poppy is very popular as a reward for some pupils and they go to Margaret’s room to visit her if they have chosen this as a reward. (Supporting purposeful communication and making choices, having preferences)

Poppy has recently been involved in an assembly where she not only behaved impeccably but the interaction between her and a pupil made for a real ‘WOW ‘moment. Pictures from assembly can be found on this website on ‘My Class, My Learning’ page within ‘Events’.

Update: 22/04/16

Just a short update on Poppy (our Autism Life dog).

Poppy received her formal training as an Autism life dog (therapy dog) over the Easter break.

Danielle (her trainer) said that Poppy was a perfect student and she has rarely trained such a calm and ‘happy’ dog.

Poppy has a regular timetable where she visits classes, works with individual learners or goes out with groups of learners in the local area. Poppy is now becoming more familiar with public transport and although she is still unsure of the getting on and off of public transport, and the noises and people, she will do so with familiar adults and groups.

Poppy’s training included her being taught some games she can participate in with learners. Danielle will be coming into school to train staff to play these games with our learners and Poppy.

These games are especially designed to support purposeful communication of a child and we are very excited to see how children enjoy and engage in these.

Poppy took part in a charity night walk on 2nd April in central London. She was part of a team of five and together they raised over £500 for the National Autistic Society.

The relationships between Poppy and the pupils, and their engagement with her, continue to amaze us as we see that she is not only supporting their therapeutic needs but also many pupils write about her and communicate with intent as they ask questions in relation to her care or talk to her during the school day.

Poppy with her medal


Please click here to view a sample of Poppy’s training!


An introduction to Poppy our Autism Life Dog

Poppy is a very different dog from the one that arrived in November 2014 and we can’t believe how well she has become part of our school environment, especially with our therapy team.

Poppy is a very calm dog and we feel that she has benefited from growing up in our school environment and is very familiar with the sounds of children and routines of groups transitioning around school.

Over the last year Poppy has been a regular visitor to classes. She goes on walks in the local area with class groups and reports are that she is well behaved and all appear to enjoy this exercise.

Poppy has an innate ability to relate to even our most complex learners and it can be amazing to observe how Poppy has such a positive impact on purposeful communication for our learners.

Children come to visit Poppy numerous times a day and she is part of a reward system for some learners.

Our School Vision is to Love, Laugh, Learn and Poppy supports our learners to do this every day.

As well as the numerous therapeutic benefits of having a trained dog permanently at the school there are also the added educational benefits of passively teaching children about responsibly and the needs of another living creature.