East Coast Assistance Dogs (ECAD)
ECAD’s mission is to provide greater independence and mobility through the use of specially educated dogs. The PDF grant is funding an innovative pilot project called Operation New Initiative, which will explore ways to further assist those with vocal impairments through adaptive technology. In order for a service dog to be successful, it must be issued commands and ECAD is working to give verbally impaired individuals the means to do so. A major demographic for ONI will be those with autism who have hindered speech abilities, but they will not be the only ones targeted for service. They have a perfect candidate for the beta effort, a 60 year old woman who, because of the effects of Muscular Dystrophy, has such weakened vocal chords that she can no longer verbally communicate with her service dog. The goal is to train and place the first successful dog of ONI with Lois to enable her to go back to the independence she once knew.Click here to view their site.