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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

How Going Back To School With Paw Prints Learning Will Skyrocket Confidence

As millions prepare to go back-to-school this fall, it’s exciting to hear how “Paw Prints Learning” handwriting curriculum will be implemented coast-to-coast to help children with special needs and kids struggling with this critical life skill. This unique program has been proven to transform children’s lives and skyrocket confidence like 7-year-old Ari in this story.

Paw Prints Learning includes three handwriting curriculum books that can be used by teachers in a school, by an Occupational Therapist and/or by parents teaching their children at home. Co-Authors Sarah Appleman and Alissa Alongi are currently helping teachers get ready to implement this program when they go back-to-school. They are also donating books to the National Lekotek Center (non-profit) for their AblePlay library this fall.

Occupational Therapist Sarah Appleman came up with the idea of “Paw Prints Learning” after seeing children with special needs respond positively to animals. Working with OT and childhood educator Alissa Alongi, Sarah developed a program that includes therapeutic devised multi-sensory activities that help children succeed in many ways.

The “Paw Prints Learning” curriculum is now seeing major breakthroughs for pre-k and kindergarten students, along with those with learning disabilities using art, art projects and animals. The parent feedback and Ari’s story below is heartwarming:

During a recent interview, Alysa Kaplan, shared how her son’s life transformed, “Sarah implemented the Paw Prints Learning with my son Ari who was previously diagnosed with ADHD…and within two weeks he was doing things that I hadn’t seen him doing in those two years working with somebody else. He was writing his name. He was drawing. He was drawing pictures of people, which he was really proud of, and animals. He was doing all the things that the other kids were doing, and his confidence went thru the roof. I saw a completely different child in this time.”

When asked about Ari, Sarah shared these observations, “What’s really exciting for me as a therapist is that I watched Ari grow. In just a short period of time, in only a few weeks, he went from not being able to write or visually understand top and bottom and making his letters to being called on by the teacher and coming up in front of the entire class and writing on the board. His teachers smiled. I smiled, and his self-confidence just skyrocketed.”

In addition to parents, Occupational Therapists and teachers are getting ready to implement “Paw Prints Learning” handwriting program when they go back-to-school.

Pam Miscioscia, an OT from New York, who is incorporating the curriculum this fall, describes it this way, “Parents are excited to see something new and innovative, and because of their excitement, the kids are excited as well…This is the perfect fit to add to the current curriculum because not only is it fun and educational, but it fills a void that is not currently being taught in schools these days.”

We need more innovative ways to help children learn, and especially those with special needs. This creative use of art and animals to teach handwriting and social skills is groundbreaking. What a great way to enhance our childhood education programs, and boost confidence in children! You can check out the “Paw Prints” books on Amazon and/or visit

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