Taking the Lead, Inc.

aka 2018   |   Freeland, MD   |  Www.takingthelead.org

Mission

Taking the Lead, Inc. teaches individuals with disabilities the skills to be independent and successful at home, in the community, and in the workplace using animal-assisted therapy and activities. Taking the Lead, Inc.’s goal is to use trained animals to provide inclusive opportunities to empower and engage people of all abilities. Many of the animals used are rescued and re-trained to serve our mission. Taking the Lead, Inc. has developed three programs: Animal Assisted Therapy, Recreational, Vocational, and Community Inclusion Opportunities, and Service Animal Training.

Ruling year info

2018

President

Conchita Whitaker

Main address

21000 Slab Bridge Road

Freeland, MD 21053 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

81-5053328

NTEE code info

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

Rehabilitative Medical Services (E50)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Animal Assisted Therapy

Taking The Lead, Inc. provides animal assisted therapy utilizing trained horses and dogs during occupational, speech, or physical therapy sessions provided by licensed therapists and staff volunteers.

Individual Hippotherapy. The term “hippo” means horse in the Greek language. During Hippotherapy sessions, therapists utilize the movement of a horse to increase balance responses, postural control, social participation, and motivation during individualized sessions to meet participants' therapy goals. The licensed therapists at Taking The Lead Inc. are also PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Riding) certified.

Hippotherapy benefits a wide range of disorders such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, and Cerebral Palsy. These sessions are private and tailored to the specific needs and goals of each individual.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding. Therapeutic horseback riding benefits clients with mental and physical disorders during individual and group treatment sessions. Sessions are carried out by therapists who are licensed and certified through PATH and/or Eagala (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association). The workshops are done while working with the horse on the ground; not while riding the horse. Clients learn to overcome challenges, to address individual and group therapy goals, to gain social skills and to overcome sensory challenges in order to function more effectively in their school or workplace and to effectively transition into the community. These sessions address individuals diagnosed with PTSD, cognitive defects, Autism, and similar diagnoses.

Dog Theragility. Theragility is a program unique to Taking the Lead, Inc. Four to six individuals will work with trained agility dogs to gain balance, strength, and social skills as they become a team. The team will guide the dog through the canine agility obstacles like an A-frame, balance beam, and see-saw. This program will be run by a licensed occupational therapist and a dog handler. Theragility will give individuals the ability to plan their movements, communicate, and interact with others to improve participation at school, work, and play.
Animal Assisted Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy helps clients meet goals related to self-care, community tasks, and jobs in order to live as independently as possible. Through Taking the Lead, Inc’s Animal Assisted Occupational Therapy services, individuals will meet their goals while participating in therapeutic tasks with trained animals.
Recently Taking the Lead, Inc worked with a client with autism. We will call him Joe. Joe’s goal is to be independent with grocery shopping. However, the shopping experience elicits feelings of anxiety and sensory overload that lead to meltdowns in the store and sometimes aggressive tendencies. With the support of the occupational therapist and the trained dog, Joe gives the dog commands to successfully navigate through the grocery store. The dog was specifically trained to give sensory input when necessary and listen to a variety of handlers. With the dog at his side, Joe successfully shops and checks out. The occupational therapist utilized Taking the Lead, Inc.’s’ trained dog to keep Joe safe in traffic, focused in the store, and successful in checking out in a grocery store without any meltdowns. Joe’s family reported an improvement in grocery shopping even without the dog present. Taking the Lead, Inc.’s occupational therapists can use trained animals to work with clients on addressing various goals, such as grocery shopping.

Vocational Program. The goal of our vocational program is to teach individuals 13 and up with and without disabilities the skills they need to gain meaningful employment in animal-related industries. Our vocational skills program is so successful because students explore jobs and learn functional skills for employment on a real working farm with live animals rather than in a classroom setting. This program can benefit those diagnosed with Anxiety, ADHD, Autism, Depression, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, PTSD and other disabilities affecting focus, strength, balance, cognition, and social dysfunction.

Dog Training. Service dogs can assist with balance, safety, and sensory needs. Service dogs are commonly used for those diagnosed with Autism, Anxiety, Cerebral Palsy, Depression, Multiple Sclerosis, and PTSD among others. Our lead occupational therapists holds consultations with individuals thinking about purchasing a dog to train as a service dog. It’s very important to match a dog’s natural skills and interests with the type of service it will be trained to perform.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Financials

Taking the Lead, Inc.
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Operations

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Taking the Lead, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/13/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gary Robbins

Director, Veteran

Term: 2018 - 2019

Mary Reithlingshoefer

secretary