We have several projects (with multiple animals) PECS, PICS, AnimalSign, ongoing this year 2014, and a lifetime, longitudinal canine study beginning planning in 2014. We are seeking funding for all. The core techniques are developed by AnimalSign/Sean Senechal. She allows the AnimalSign Institute to use those techniques to test, research, proof and publish findings, using evidence-based techniques. AnimalSign Institute is the research wing of AnimalSign.
I. PICS for ANIMALS:
This unique system PICS for animals teaches animals to systematically exchange picture cards (of things they want) for the real object. This is a multi-species communication project involving DOGS, HORSES, ELEPHANTS to start. It was inspired by a well-known Picture Exchange System used with children who don’t speak nor sign. Using a similar technique (modified for the animals by AnimalSign) we teach it to the animals so they may ask for what they want or need specifically. PECS is an ABA technique originally developed by Frost and Bondy in the 1980′s. PICS is a similar technique tailored for animals by Sean Senechal. We modified this to suit each animals body and cognition. This involves the animal bringing a specific picture to a person, who then gives the pictured actual item (food, toy, etc). As the animal learns to discriminate more object pictures, the more things the animals can communicate about. The goal is to teach the animal to use cards (of all sentence parts) to communicate, and to develop the communication regions of the animal brain. Using scientific methods, we are teaching, studying, testing, and comparing the learning processes and outcomes for each individual and species. Even at this early stage, we have found that the process of working with each species helps us apply and develop better methods for other species, including humans. The animals show eagerness to participate in this process. The preliminary probe process and results are to be presented as a talk at the Animal Behavior Society Convention in Colorado this July 2013. www.animalbehaviorsociety.org. The complete work will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Project PICS for Animals continues for another year. With funding we will be able to provide local jobs for students and the community (research assistants, ABA professionals, Veterinary Technicians, videographers, trainers, and animal caretakers), We hope to continue collaborating with AnimalSign, the elephants at the local Monterey Zoo in California, CSUMB volunteer students, and other zoos (hopefully, the DC National Zoo where a young elephant resides). With funds, we can offer collaborators compensation for their animal enrichment programs, staff involvement, and help their organizations too!
II. PROJECT Starlight is the first of its kind, a longitudinal, developmental study examining the effects on behavior, neuroanatomy, communication, and well-being of Border Collie dog,s who are provided with intense daily communication training in various forms: AnimalSign, Tap, PICS (Picture Swap), Vocal lessons, and alternative communication devices. There will be control and experimental groups. A very large project team will be required to prepare, raise, care for, exercise, document, and educate these dogs with fun, intensive language training.
We are hoping by Spring to obtain a larger, perfectly integrated site for all projects related to AnimalSign and AnimalSign Institute. Help us get that property by donating or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
*Please help us fund these projects by emailing funds directly or through PAYPAL to email@example.com. (Let us know how you would like to be listed as a supporter.) See our crowd funding site on www.indiegogo.com (to be available in 2014)*