Island Dolphin Care, Inc. (IDC) was developed to help children with special needs and their families who are dealing with developmental and/or physical disabilities, emotional challenges, and critical, chronic or terminal illness. Island Dolphin Care believes that children with special challenges can and should enjoy the full range of activities that life's experiences can offer, and that every child deserves the opportunity to play, giggle and have fun! Island Dolphin Care, Inc., was created by Ms. Deena Hoagland, LCSW, after witnessing the remarkable recovery of her son, Joe, after he began swimming with dolphins at the age of three. Deena and her husband, Peter, brought Joe to Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, FL in the hope that the dolphins might motivate Joe to use the left side of his body-weakened from a stroke which occurred during his third open-heart surgery. Joe had not responded well to traditional physical, occupational, and speech therapies. At Dolphins Plus, Joe began to make progress physically and psychologically in a natural, non-threatening, fun setting. He took pleasure and satisfaction in completing his exercises, assisted by the unconditional support from the dolphins. Joe responded extremely well to this "new" therapy, increasing muscle tone and flexibility, as well as increasing his self-esteem. With the support of the dolphins, especially his dolphin friend "Fonzie," Joe was able to normalize his young life. Deena hypothesized that if dolphins could help Joe feel better about himself, and motivate him to try new tasks, then the dolphins might also help others. A variety of children with special needs could experience therapeutic success in an environment less threatening than standard medical settings.
Since 1990, Deena has worked with many children from around the world with various educational, emotional, and physical needs. The dolphins are catalysts that provide unconditional love and support. The program also provides unique educational experiences that often allows children to become more expressive and develop closer bonds with parents, doctors, and therapists upon returning home.
Deena Hoagland graduated from the University of Denver with a Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the States of Colorado and Florida. Deena has worked in many clinical and educational settings, and is a psychotherapist and certified hypno-therapist.
Island Dolphin Care is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization, We invite you to meet our therapy staff, learn about dolphin assisted therapy, explore great resources for families, and meet our dolphins.
Island Dolphin Care has appeared on Primetime Live (ABC), ESPN, Frontrunners (KOMO television), King Television, WAMI (The Times), Discovery Channel USA and Canada, ANIMAL PLANET, CNN, Nation Geographic Today, Marcom Japanese Television, Oxygen Network, ABC Discovery Health, and participated in numerous international documentaries about its work and experiences with dolphin-assisted therapy and children. Articles have appeared in numerous publications including Parade Magazine, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Exceptional Parent Magazine, Hippocrates Magazine, Time for Kids, The Miami Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Advocate, The Keys Reporter, The Sunday Sentinel, National Geographic World Kids Magazine, In Motion Magazine, Person Magazine Japan, The Florida Keys Keynoter, The Florida Keys Free Press, The Florida Living Magazine, Good Housekeeping, and The Recorder. In addition a book, Thank You Fonzie, published in Japan.
Key West KeysTV : Home Page