Some fantastic research has shown that the benefits of dogs can go beyond being good friends – they can help kids learn how to read. This article goes into detail about how, but a University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine did research on kids reading to dogs vs. kids not reading to dogs, and overall effect on reading. I think it would behoove us adults to learn from the techniques used by the dogs, so that we can be as effective (or better) than our four-legged friends.
The reasearch showed that kids reading to dogs had both improvements in both fluency and speed of reading. How did this happen with kids? The children reported:
- The dogs made them feel more relaxed
- The dog didn’t care or judge them if they made mistakes
- It was more ‘fun’
Kids reported a boost in self-confidence, worth, and esteem. So while this is fantastic research about dogs and the benefit of animals on health and wellbeing, I think it also should serve as a lesson to other kids or adults teaching reading or other life skills; be patient and non-judgemental. Perhaps the dogs in this study are not just teaching kids how to read – they are teaching people how to treat kids learning to grow up in this world. In any event, enjoy!
Our wonderful advisory board member, Kirsten Straughan, was kind enough to let iFred present to the students in UIC’s Human Nutrition program, preparing students to become registered dieticians. Students interested in volunteering and learning more about depression took up the topics of exercise, nutrition, and the brain, and we are so thankful that Ann Haibeck researched and compiled these common questions and answers about depression and exercise. THANK YOU and keep up the great work!
General clinical depression
Why should I consider exercise as a way to alleviate depressive symptoms? How does exercise help?
Exercise provides a distraction or “time out” from the stresses of daily living. Most people also feel a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem, and increased self-efficacy as a result of exercise.
Suicide is such a mystery. Sometimes there are signs, other times there aren’t. No matter how hard we try, we can not save another person. The bottom line is they must want and know how to save themselves.
The unfortunate thing is that most people don’t know how to ask for that help – don’t feel comfortable asking for it. Instead they act out, running from the pain, in the end making it only worse because usually that acting out has negative consequences.