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DoNoHarm-TakeNoShit212 karma

Sure. It's actually one of the easier mediums to make a living with because there are so few schools that teach it.

You can be the head artist, who's making and coming up with the designs, or get a job assisting a head artist in creating their work and caring for their studio.

There's jobs making custom lamp shades, science equipment, and so forth.

There's jobs teaching, the sort of class where someone comes for a day to make a paperweight are really common in tourist area's. Of course there's also teaching at the university's or the additional education glassblowing camps.

There are also jobs at tourist places and amusement parks to make glass while people watch.

I think that I would most enjoy being an assistant or a shop monitor.

DoNoHarm-TakeNoShit91 karma

So I'm diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

I have some sort of seizure disorder, possibly caused by a chiari malformation type one. I also have chronic back pain which I originally thought was due to the poor posture and binding practices I used to obscure my breasts at a young age. Now I know it is also do to the malformation. So are issues I have with hearing.

I haven't been diagnosed with Autism because the diagnosed would not aid in getting the assistance I need. However, my doctor does agree I have it.

I am also severely dyslexic and read almost everything using text to speak. It is not uncommon for me to go through a day reading a total of less than 100 words.

The scars are from a surgery to remove a non cancerous tumor when I was ten and eleven years old. They used skin expanders and it required 4 surgeries.

I shave my head because I think my scars are beautiful and I want to show other people that they can be confident about the things they've survived and the marks it left. At this point it feels weird if my hair gets too long.

Here is a self portrait from when I had my skin expanders. It was drawn while I was in high school as part of a larger exploration of identity.


DoNoHarm-TakeNoShit69 karma

Bongs? Sure, we're not banned from making them or anything.

So far my interest has mainly been hot sculpting, not specifically blowing, so I couldn't really make a good bong with my skill set.

They do well on Etsy though.

DoNoHarm-TakeNoShit68 karma

Real quick, from my AMA last night which was taken down because I did not provide proof of my disability,

/u/noshore4me asked

"What services do you train dogs to perform?"

my response, edited for spelling and grammar

He his currently proficient at

  • blocking and posting (where he comes to stand between myself and someone walking toward or behind me at a hand queue.) This task is useful for me because I have an intense panic reaction to people invading my personal space. I have also used it to get away when someone was threatening and trying to corner me. I signaled Storm to step between me and this other person, forcing the aggressor to keep stepping back until I was out of the narrow aisle and free to leave.
  • clearing my airway in the event of a seizure or other episode of impaired consciousness and vomiting, such as an extremely negative reaction to a drug (he does this by eating the vomit from my mouth, because it was easier to train than having him push me into recovery position as well as being more reliable.)
  • deep pressure therapy (Storm or Branka lies in my lap on queue or occasionally when self directed by them as an alert that they think I'm anxious) I already use deep pressure therapy in the form of a weighted blanket, but being able to feel the dog's respiration and heart beat is an additional source of calming stimulation which I can use to time my breathing and other calming exercises to. Storm is not as skilled at this task as I would like, as he only preforms it while I am sitting and not when lying down and he is not as comfortable and adjusted to the position as Branka is.
  • pick up dropped items This is useful because I have chronic back pain and it eases my pain significantly to not have to bend over to pick things up. Also, I have memory issues where I will drop something and forget about it. This is how I lose my wallet and phone. Storm will pick them up and give them to me so I don't lose them.
  • alarm clock Storm will wake me up when he senses a certain level of awareness from me and will not allow me to return to sleep until after I have fed and given him a walk. This helps greatly with my depression, as he can also sense when I am ill or am experiencing drug induced drowsiness and will leave me alone to rest. I have seizures triggered by sound which is why I do not use a traditional alarm clock. When I did I did not find them helpful during my extremely depressed days.

tasks Storm is currently being trained in but has not yet mastered

  • retrieving my medication from a set location as I will often get up to take my pain medication and then forget why I am in the room I am in, or am in too much pain to move from my location.
  • retrieving my water bottle a similar issue to the medication. It might also be possible to train this where the queue is not a signal form me, but Storm sensing that I am dehydrated, which I chronically am.
  • help handler to an exit is useful post seizure or during other episodes of cognitive impairment.
  • lie down in front of door on command PTSD related
  • check room or apartment for intruders PTSD related
  • assist handler into more upright posture post seizure
  • and bracing handler post seizure when mobility is impaired

I am also fiddling with training seizure detection itself. However, that's tricky for multiple reasons, including that it is unknown how dogs detect seizures. I'm going to try to use saliva samples but if the dog is not detecting the change in the saliva than it will not work. It is possible he may pick up on the change by himself which can be reinforced in training, but that's really up to chance.

DoNoHarm-TakeNoShit38 karma

[/u/SxeRpw saw this and sent my this private message:

I saw your comment about your service dog and saw your ama got removed so thought I'd just ask here, how do you train a dog to do all the things it does for you?](http://imgur.com/2C4j8uC)

The Basics

The first thing I was taught in my service dog training program was CAMPER. It's the structure used to communicate with the dog.

  • Command - the handler gives the command, either a word or hand signal
  • Action - the dog preforms the action
  • Marker - the handler marks the action as correction
  • Praise - the handler gives the dog it's reward, which takes the form of praise, pets, food, or a favorite toy, depending. The reward depends on what the dog finds more rewarding and the level of reward the handler wishes to give. For example, once a dog understands it is meant to sit when the handler tells it to, the handler should not reward with food every time because the uncertainty of the reward is more reinforcing than certainty. However, other forms of praise are still given so the dog knows that it did preform the correct action.
  • Release - A release queue is given telling the dog that it is no longer expected to continue to follow the current command. In early training an additional reward is given for waiting until the release.

I am currently having problems with Storm because I stopped relying on my release queue part way through our training, instead giving him the next command right away. This means that when I put him in a sit or down he does not relax into the posture I have asked, instead, it is like he is at the edge of his seat, waiting for the next thing I am going to ask of him. To correct this I just need to use the release queue much more reliably and practice in exciting environments that make him more prone to that edge of the seat feeling, then rewarding for calm behavior and waiting to change posture until I give the release queue.

For my task of clearing the airway, I will want to later use the sounds I make while at risk of aspirating on vomit a release queue as well as the queue for Storm to clear the airway. This isn't too tricky, but it's an example of a situation where the dog is expected to "break" posture, even when the breaking is trained. It is also an example of intelligent disobedience should the dog pick up on it on its own.

As for training the basic tasks themselves, we mostly use luring.

  • Sit - most of our dogs will sit when shown that the handler or trainer has a treat, even when they have not been introduced to the command before. I'm not sure if this is because of the temperaments we choose in our dogs or something else. So we show the dog we have the treat and say, "sit". Then, and this may take several seconds, the dog sits. Follow the rest of CAMPER.

  • Down - when the dog is in the sit, we put our hand with the food toward the ground, close to the dog, luring it into the down position.

  • Mat - we throw the food on the mat and then tell the dog to sit and down once it has eaten the food.

  • Under - when the dog is in a down beside the handler's chair, the handler holds food under the chair on the opposite side the dog is. This one took Storm a long time to understand.

And so on.

Self Taught and Reinforced Tasks

Some dogs will naturally alert to seizures, sounds for the deaf, panic attacks, and other useful things that are considered work and tasks under the ADA. However, the dog doing this by itself is not enough to consider it a service dog, the tasks the dog teaches itself have to be shaped (adjusted) and reinforced.

For an example we can look at Storm's alarm clock behavior (his leaving me alone when I am sick or drugged is another good example of intelligent disobedience). When he started sleeping in bed with me, he would lick my head, jump off the bed, run around the house, and jump back on when he sensed I was waking up. When he first started this he would give up relatively quickly if I decided I wanted to go back to bed. And if I put him in my bedroom and went to sleep on the sofa for a few more hours, he wouldn't complain at all.

Now, after he has received the reward (breakfast and a walk) as well as an aversive (waiting a few extra hours to eat, sometimes in a different room than me) he is much more persistent. I also did not reward consistently. Sometimes, I would get up and shower before feeding him. Or I would listen to the news over the radio.

After some time of this he's gotten to the point where he will stand in the door way and whine at me continuously for half an hour (that's as long as I could stand trying to ignore him). He will refuse my attempts to try to get him to go back to sleep. When I am more awake but not yet ready to leave my bed he will jump on me and try to lick my face. He will jump on and off the bed. He will even sometimes bark at me.

This is all behavior that takes considerable effort on my part and which he would not exhibit if I hadn't reinforced it.

** Other Tasks **

There are multiple ways to teach each of these tasks, but here's how I did it.

blocking and posting. I use a "touch" command which is a hand signal telling Storm to press his snout to my open palm. When Storm is in a heel position at my side I show him my palm, and before he can complete the touch, I move it across my body so he has to move with it to complete the command. I am hoping he will come to see the queue for preforming this action being someone walking straight toward me or walking up to me from behind.

He has shown some promise in this area. However, he is also struggling with being reactive to people who invade both our personal space (by vocalizing). So I'm continuing working to counter condition this negative response to the stimuli to help him feel calm enough to be able to face away from the stranger that is causing him anxiety and instead show them his side.

clearing my airway. I have a video for this one. It's the link for the word "training" in the sentence "evidence of dog training." To summarize, Storm is a very mouth focused dog. If you blow air at him instead of shying away like most dogs, he will come closer and sniff the air for as long as you blow it at him. He also prefers to manipulate things with his mouth and face (I did not train the touch command by telling him to press my hand with his face, he could have used his paw but quickly decided he preferred using his face) instead of his paw. So when I put food in my mouth and rewarded him for investigating (by spitting some of it out for him to eat) he was able to pick up on the exercise quickly and eat the vomit directly from my mouth.

Now, if I clear my throat of flem he will come running, and, well, because the noise that makes is a lot like the noise of my aspirating, I reward him by letting him eat the flem. (Sorry, I know it's really gross.) He picked up on this amazingly quickly, and, as shown in my early comment history, saved my life.

DPT. I also use the touch command for this one, asking him to touch in such away that he has to rest his upper body on my lap. I would then use a treat in the hand when asking for the position and show it to him, but not let him have it, to increase the duration he will spend on my lap. Because he is an incredibly bony dog I don't think I will be able to have him do DPT while I am lying down.

Dropped items - we started by training retrieve which took him a while to understand, but once he did he was all over it. I would drop something and say "get it" and he would get it. I'm starting to phase out using the word and having the dropping of the item be the queue.

Exit - I put peanut butter on a door. He eats the peanut butter, I tell him "good exit!" and give him another treat. We back up and repeat and repeat and repeat. At some point I stop using the peanut butter and just tell him "exit". We are very early on in training this one.

We also have not really started training the rest of the tasks so I'm going to stop here.