quarta-feira, 21 de abril de 2010

Claro que é um Pastor Alemão / Of course it's a German shepherd

It was the dog trainer's honesty that won Lisa McMillan over.
When McMillan asked the trainer whether she was able to train a dog to assist with her autistic twin boys, the dog trainer said, "I don't know anything about autism."
The mother did. And Kelli Collins knew how to train dogs. Together, they would train and raise a puppy to be a companion to the then-3-year-olds, Eric and James. Collins would work with the puppy, Caleb, on learning the boys' scent so he could find them when they bolted. He soon would learn to comfort them, almost instinctively, when they needed a friend.
Autism, a developmental disorder, affects one of every 110 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with autism often have social, communication and behavioral challenges, but to varying degrees.

Collins is a trainer for the Georgia K9 National Training Center in Canton, Georgia. Collins, with her partner, Jeff Schettler, started as a trainer for law enforcement and search and rescue dogs. She also teaches obedience to family dogs. She's been training dogs for 15 years.
The pair trained Caleb at the center's indoor and outdoor facilities, the family's home and out in social settings. They fused their search and training techniques for finding missing people with handling a child who can bolt in an instant. They taught Jennifer Fair, who lives with the McMillans, how to give directions and encourage positive behavior with the puppy in the home and on outings.
"You can create physical disability in a training environment, you can't create autism. There's so many varying degrees of autism. Each child is a little different. Even between your own children, they are very different. We can't create that in a sterile training environment," Collins said.
The pair had to learn how autistic children thought and acted. This was their first service dog. They even made a tether for Eric, inscripted with his name and stars, because that personalized the belt and made it his. Soon the training became natural for the trainers, Schettler said.

"The first time we took Caleb out and he was tethered to [Eric], the sense of freedom that child had was amazing. He was happy," Collins said. "And he never tried to really even bolt. One time we were sitting outside at a café and he went to get up and run and Lisa's first instinct was to jump up and I'm like, 'Let the dog do his job,' and the dog stayed. Eric couldn't go. She's like, 'He would've been around the corner and down the street now.' "

The training of puppies -- environmental, obedience and service -- starts at 8 weeks old and continues on for the first 1½ years of the puppy's life, Schettler said. The puppies go with the trainers everywhere -- the grocery store, post office and restaurants. Georgia K9 places the puppies in homes when the puppies are between 10 and 16 weeks old.
"We find the bonding and everything that the dog does at this age becomes second nature to them. It's almost hard-wired in."
For families or individuals looking for a service dog for autism, Collins recommends finding a program that gives not only the training, but follow-ups and continuing guidance to help with the life transition of having a service dog. The training of service dogs for autism can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000. 

As an occupational therapist, Amy Johnson has been working with the brothers on their life skills and challenges. She said Eric and James at first wanted little to do with the puppy but soon grew to embrace him.
"One of the best things is seeing how Caleb helps the boys in terms of safety," Johnson said. "Whether they are tethered to Caleb or tied to him, they can take them out in the community and I think for the boys, Caleb is a sense of security and comfort and it helps keep them grounded, but at the same time it gives Mom and Dad the relief knowing that they are tied to Caleb and can't get away."

Johnson said traditional therapies are still necessary, but one of the most important things is carrying therapy over into the home. That's where the service dog helps, she said.
"I think families [dealing with autism] want to always try anything they can and try anything that might work when you don't have a cure and you don't have any answers. This way it's getting a pet for your family that's a safe pet and a pet that's there to really help with your child and grow with your child."

terça-feira, 20 de abril de 2010

segunda-feira, 19 de abril de 2010

Ai que já não há bacios, quanto mais penicos!

A potes

Pergunto a mim próprio quantas crianças, de norte a sul do País, conhecem o bacio ou penico por pote. Avalio por mim, que, por uns breves instantes, fiquei perplexo perante o título Ruca Aprende a Usar o Pote, mais um título da infindável colecção referente a esta personagem da série televisiva. Tão perplexo como a personagem quando vê o objecto: «O Ruca pegou no pote e colocou-o na cabeça, para imitar um chapéu.»
A ficha técnica ajuda-nos a perceber tudo: o título original é Caillou — Le pot. A tradução e adaptação é de Sara Costa, a quem mando este recado: segundo certos estudos (Rice e Wexler, 1996, e Restrepo e Kruth, 2000, v. g.), a omissão do pronome possessivo é uma marca clínica de crianças com distúrbio específico da linguagem — mas de crianças falantes do inglês e do francês! Os tradutores portugueses devem desbastar, se querem escrever português de lei, os pronomes possessivos, marca sobretudo do inglês. Os revisores devem acompanhá-los ou substituí-los nesta nobre tarefa. 
Assim Mesmo-

sexta-feira, 16 de abril de 2010

Animal eyes quiz: Can you work out which creatures these are from their eyes?

Top row: 1 Bengal tiger. 2 Asian elephant. 3 Zebra. 4 Chimpanzee. 5 Flamingo.
Second row: 1 Domestic cat. 2 Hairless sphynx cat. 3 Grey wolf. 4 Booted eagle. 5 Iguana.
Third row: 1 Macaw. 2 Jaguar. 3 Rabbit. 4 Cheetah 5 Horse.
Fourth row: 1 Lioness. 2 Bearded dragon (a type of lizard). 3 Leaf-tailed gecko. 4 Macaroni penguin. 5 Alligator.
Fifth row: 1 Great horned owl. 2 Mountain lion. 3 Boa constrictor. 4 Pufferfish. 5 African crested crane.

Wanna Suck Face?

The Art of Johan Thörnqvist

Website, and this thanx to Papel de Lustro ;)

quarta-feira, 14 de abril de 2010

Light for Malawi

and it's beautiful ;)

A solar-charged light might seem like just another green gadget to the average American, but for families in rural Africa, it could prove revolutionary.
Product design consultancy Plus Minus Design is vying to replace unsustainable and potentially dangerous lanterns in the homes of off-grid Africans with the Solar Pebble. Engineered with the economic constraints of developing-world citizens in mind, the Solar Pebble will provide one hour of LED light for every two hours of charge, and will cost only $2.70 to manufacture.
Plus Minus Design, based in Leeds, U.K., was founded by three undergraduate students at the University of Leeds. While studying product design and engineering, Adam Robinson, Henry James, and Tom Eales were given the opportunity to work with SolarAid, a charity in the U.K. 
SolarAid, which works to fight poverty and climate change, worked with the students to develop a solar-powered alternative to kerosene lanterns. Those lanterns, commonly used in rural Africa, draw 20 percent of an average Malawian family's income, SolarAid said, and pose respiratory health problems, as well as create fire hazards.
The undergrads spent months researching life in Malawi to design a product that addressed the needs of rural families, but also took environmental, economic, and lifestyle factors into consideration. Local maintenance, potential for the development of children's education, and adaptability to charge other devices were the team's key requirements. 
Though mobile phones and portable radios are common in rural Africa, individuals must travel to locations with mains power for charging. With this issue in mind, the engineers designed the Solar Pebble to charge phones and portable devices in addition to providing light.
Plus Minus Design was also able to address the need for local maintenance with a simply designed product assembled through snap-in parts and repairable with basic tools.
The Solar Pebble provides light and a means of portable charging, but its implications are even greater. The lamp will ship partially assembled, providing jobs for locals who would finish assembly. Furthermore, Plus Minus Design hopes the lamp will increase radio usage, providing rural African families with HIV/AIDS prevention information.
According to Robinson, the Solar Pebble will launch in Uganda and the U.K. by midsummer.

Solar Pebble could light the way for rural Africans

terça-feira, 6 de abril de 2010

domingo, 4 de abril de 2010

quinta-feira, 1 de abril de 2010

Teatrinhos de Papel

coleccionados por Lucía Contreras Flores
(graças ao Papel de Lustro, obrigatório ;)