Teacher Creates Innovative Program for Students with Special Needs
Denise Knight is an innovative life skills coach, special education teacher, job coach, jack of all trades who uses all of her skills to teach and create programs for clients with special needs. She started the Dog Biscuit Program almost five years ago with Sam Russell, an adult in his mid-twenties who has an autism spectrum disorder. The vision for this program was presented to Denise by Anne Bramlett, Sam’s mother. Anne, who is the owner of Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas thought this would be a great way to combine Sam’s interest in cooking as well as his love of dogs. Sam makes dog biscuits, packages and sells them at local businesses and churches, donates the proceeds to charity and walks dogs.
This process enables Sam to learn and practice life skills to cover a variety of domains. Food preparation, marketing, charity and getting a good workout, as some of those dogs are fast! Denise has noticed that Sam’s skills to initiate have increased as he has learned that he owns certain roles in the dog biscuit making process, such as rolling out the dough, pushing in the cookie cutouts (in shapes of dog biscuits) and using the spatula to move them to the tray. Denise utilizes visual schedules to assist Sam with the process from start to finish.
Sam has not been the only client beneficiary of the Dog Biscuit Program. Over the years his roommates at his group home and friends at his day- habilitation program have all gotten involved. Kathy Hooper was a supporter of the program, buying dog biscuits. Her daughter, Megan, was one of Sam’s friends who helped to make the dog biscuits at the day-hab. Kathy said how much she enjoyed supporting the program that makes products she can use and which gave meaning to the lives for individuals with special needs. She also endorsed the quality of the product “My dogs love the dog biscuits!” she said.
Dog’s love the biscuits and Sam has many repeat customers!
If you too would like to support the program by buying dog biscuits, call Denise Knight at 972-971-1014 or stop by Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas’ east Plano location which is located at 1410 14th Street in Plano. Call ahead to be sure there is a supply! 972-424-0148. Sam also sells his dog biscuits at Grace Bible Church in Dallas. He has been known to make delivers to friends and neighbors and the dogs love to see him coming! Dog Biscuits are great value at only $1 per bag of 4.
Denise Knight works independently in a private practice with clients of all ages at their home, day-hab job or community. She tutors clients to become independent in activities of daily living, at their job, and in one-of- kind programs, like the dog biscuit program. For more information go to www.denise-knight.com or call Denise at 972-971-1014.