New Dawg Walk at CCMS addresses student energy, anxiety issues

Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:33 am

Sarah Walks.psd

School started for Clinton County last week and with the start of school, came a whole new concept to begin at the middle school.

It’s called the Dawg Walk and it’s located in the back of the building to the right of the lunchroom.

“We have put in a sensory hallway,” Sarah Wilson Browning said.

Browning is a Behavioral Health Specialist at the middle school affiliated through Cumberland Family Medical which is also a part of the Healthy Kids Clinic.

Browning said they have offices in all four schools which allows her and Behavioral Health Specialist Chris Moons a chance to serve as the school based therapist in the district.

“Last year was the first year we had a full time councilor in the school, so we saw a need for some alternative measures,” Browning said. “We had some kids with ADHD and who weren’t medicated. They were constantly getting into trouble in class. They were trying to sit there in class and figure out the reactions to their body’s over-stimulation.”

Browning said things started to become aware about sensory hallways and it being geared towards elementary school youth.

The main focus of the Dawg Walk is to get those who use it to recognize their bodies and what impact that has on overall wellness.

“Sometimes people forget middle school kids are still kids also,” Browning said. “That got us thinking about other things. Early on we had kids who had to come in here and I have a weighted vest. We would have to put the weighted vest on them. They were so wound tight they couldn’t do anything. We noticed the benefit of wearing their bodies down quick and getting them back on track.”

Browning said discussion began with Lonnie York of York Compressions.

“I told him kind of what I wanted and what I’d like to see,” Browning said. “He did his research and surpassed my expectations in all ways. Kids today need instant gratification. Allowing them to separate and go down to that hallway, they learn to start self regulating.”

The hallway was designed to put the body to the test. While it’s nothing excruciatingly painful, it does get the body and mind moving to where each person has to use energy to complete the walk.

One of the good things about this hallway, is it can be used by anyone.

Some of the things the Dawg Walk does is provide special awareness, promotes cognitive ability, and allows the brain to take in more information.

Browning said since the Dawg Walk is in the hallway where the kids enter the school in the morning, they can complete the Dawg Walk as they come into school.

“There is only one class down that hallway and that’s not until seventh period,” Browning said. “Students can go down there and separate from the distractions.”

Browning said they are taking it slow with the hallway because education about the Dawg Walk is crucial.

“Our teachers have been using it during their professional development days and so they got to go down there and experience what the hallway was like,” Browning said. “As we continue to transition into this school year, we are migrating more kids down there to use it.”

If the hallway goes well this year, Browning said they will try and put one at the elementary school and one at the Early Childhood Center.

Browning said she is working on grants and could see the hallway in the other schools very soon.

“Any kids can use this hallway,” Browning said. “Say I come in one day and I’m super keyed up. I can take a walk down there and get some of my excess energy out before I start my day. Maybe I’m not keyed up enough and I need that movement going and try to get pumped up more.”