Pediatric Therapeutic Services

Everyone Can Give Back

PTS OT, Jodi, talks about her idea to implement interventions that benefit others, including our furry friends!

Everyone Can Give Back

I’ve found that many students genuinely seem engaged and motivated to do their best when working on an activity to benefit others. This was true when students composed letters and created cards for local Veterans. One student, a fifth-grade boy, was so proud of his card he asked if he could take it home to show his mom. Four months later at his IEP meeting his mom still had that card and beamed with pride over his neat handwriting and creative work.

My idea to implement interventions to benefit others has since expanded to our furry friends as well. One very successful activity has been baking dog bones (recipe below) for our rescued four-legged friends at Diamonds in the Ruff and Good Karma animal shelters. This activity was carried out as part of a SPOT (Speech/OT) group session in both upper elementary and middle school Autistic Support and Life Skills classrooms.

These groups contained all of the good-for-you therapy skills – discussion of the project, planning, working in a group, following a recipe, kitchen and food safety, fine motor skills for measuring, stirring, pouring, etc. Students working on typing skills typed a short message and ingredient list which was then attached to tags on each bag. The first group even had the opportunity to hand out the treats to the dogs and volunteers of Diamonds in the Ruff when they visited our school for Community Day!

The opportunity to pair student goals with “giving back” activities is my favorite. I love seeing my students excited as they wonder who might be the recipient of their hard work. I encourage you to try similar projects in your schools!

Dog biscuits.jpg


Homemade Dog Biscuits

Recipe from Kitchen Confidante


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed
  • 1/2 to 1 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats and flaxseed. Mix in 1/2 cup beef broth and peanut butter. Mix well, adding additional beef broth if necessary to bring the mixture together to a thick dough. Form into a ball and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Roll to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out to desired shape. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway. Cool completely, then keep in an airtight container for about one week.

These freeze well and can be thawed in small quantities for treats during the week!

Jodi Gaunt, M.S., OTR/L

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