Using MGOL with Children with Autism via Karma Dogs


My friend and colleague, Janet Shepherd, has been adapting MGOL for use with children with autism. She is part of the Karma Dogs program, and often attends my MGOL sessions with her dog, Tami.  She says that she has made some adaptations which have worked really well and has given me permission to share them on this blog.

On the “Listen, Like, Learn with MGOL” CD, there is a rhyme called “Kitty cat, kitty cat.” Since Janet has a dog, she says “Puppy dog, puppy dog” instead. This rhyme is used with sticks or with a drum. The first line is followed by a description such as: “Puppy dog, puppy dog. Soft, warm puppy dog.”  When other volunteers are in the session, they use words to describe their dog, such as “Puppy dog, puppy dog, big, black puppy dog.” The children get the opportunity to learn something unique about each dog.

The chanting is fun and the children will also have the opportunity to pet the dogs or touch the part that is being talked about. The entire program will be presented musically, since the chldren learn from hands-on and respond very well to music.  Some of the children who don’t talk will sing and show comprehension.

She also adapted the song: “This is my house” to “This is my dog.” The words Janet uses are: “This is my dog, this is my dog, and we just love to go walking. This is my dog, this is my dog, and we just love to go walking.  I’ll walk her in the sunshine; I’ll walk her in the rain. I’ll walk her in the sunshine; I’ll walk her in the rain.”

I hope to go and visit this program very soon, but in the meantime just wanted to share some of Jane’ts cool ideas!

About Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen

A renowned national speaker and accomplished author, Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen is best known as the creator of Mother Goose on the Loose, an award-winning early literacy program. Her charismatic presentations always include an easily-understandable combination of research and practice. Recognized by the ASCLA Leadership and Professional Achievement Award for “revolutionizing the way librarians work with children from birth to age 3” and the 2018 Vattemare Award for Creativity in Libraries, Betsy’s passion is for helping children and the adults in their lives be the best they can be while sparking a love of reading.