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Creating a template of nonverbal cues for immobile recipients to use in communicating with service dogs

By Marisa B. Laudau

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Abstract For people with physical disabilities, it is often frustrating and embarrassing to have to constantly ask for assistance with everyday tasks. Service dogs not only provide constant companionship, but they also act as the arms and legs of their disabled owners. By performing tasks such as opening and closing doors, pulling wheelchairs and retrieving various items, they provide their owners with independence and confidence. I made this observation when I worked for 6 months on coop at Canine Assistants in Alpharetta, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. However, for the more severely immobile people, such as those with Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral palsy, and Duchennes Syndrome, communication with their dogs can be difficult if not impossible, due to their hindered mobility and lack of vocal ability. If these people cannot rely on gestures or speech to give their service dogs commands, the only form of communication they can utilize is that which is nonverbal.
Submitter

Stephanie Schaffner

Date May 2007
Location of Publication Boston, MA
URL http://iris.lib.neu.edu/honors_projects/10/
Language English
Report No. 10
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Canine
  3. Communication
  4. Developmental disabilities
  5. Immobilization