Educated Dogs Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD)
ECAD’s mission is to provide greater independence and mobility through the use of specially educated dogs. The PDF grant will be funding an innovative pilot project called Operation New Initiative which will explore the use of modern technology (i.e., iPads or Tablets) to enable adults and children who have impaired verbal abilities, or who are non-verbal due to Autism, to communicate commands to service dogs via images that are sound activated on the iPad. The PDF grant will fund the acquisition of the iPads and the software necessary, and the training of instructors to train the dogs to respond to commands generated on the tablet. 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 through ONI with Lois to enable her to go back to the independence she once knew.