My brother and family have been coming to the therapy program for over twenty years. Each year is just as magical as the first. Words cannot describe the love and energy that you feel as soon as you walk through the doors of IDC. The Island Dolphin Care mission, program, staff, dolphins, and all of the families have a very special place in my heart ❤️ My family and I are forever indebted to IDC.
My son Andrew has been to IDC every year for 8 years and his brother Aiden started joining in 3 years ago. This place means so much to our family and has done so much for our family. The skills that Andrew acquires each year during our time at IDC, the confidence Aiden has gained, and the relationships we have all built with the wonderful staff and the dolphins keep us coming back. It is truly our favorite week of every year and we look forward to seeing what our next experience brings. I highly recommend IDC! The experience will change you and your family for the better!
This amazing facility and the people involved are a true blessing for our family. Our daughter has grown tremendously in speech, fine motor skills, core muscle strength, and most of all happiness! IDC has helped our daughter in ways we could never imagine. We are truly thankful for IDC and the amazing IDC staff, the amount of happiness, hope, and smiles they have given us are priceless!
Our experience was life-changing for our entire family. We are incredibly thankful for the experiences we have had at IDC ❤️ It helped our shy, terminally ill, disabled child develop into a strong confident independent young adult. She will never drive a car, ride a two-wheeled bike or read a book with her eyes - but she graduated high school and is one of only two Nationally Certified Lifeguards who are Visually impaired in Canada. That is directly linked to her visits to Island Dolphin Care
I was an intern many years ago at IDC. Through months I followed the incredible work done by IDC therapists, and saw the importance and the difference it made for many children and their families. The experiences I gained participating in the intern program, I will take with me forever, and much of what I learned, I use in my current work with special education. I will be forever grateful for my time at IDC.
My boys have been swimming at IDC for years. Every year is better then the one before. The staff takes the time to learn about each child and truly love my boys. It’s a little slice of heaven on earth. We can’t wait to see you soon !
Island Dolphin Care is the most magical place on earth!!! This one of a kind therapy program is a must! It's the perfect blend of therapy and fun for the entire family. The pure happiness my child feels here, with her dolphin friends is priceless. They are so accommodating to all special abilities and truly make you feel like family.
A MUST! IDC is absolutely everything their website claims it to be! It’s magical, incredible, special, and the most special place you’ll ever experience. Please consider IDC if you have a child with a disability, if you are a veteran or if you want to support this incredible place that is changing families lives every single day.
IDC is by far my son’s favorite experience in his life. The staff is fun, caring, knowledgeable, and supportive.
As a police officer (from Holland) with ptsd I was looking for a therapy which can give me something extra. I was tired of talking about my illness/problem.
Here I found a family who gave me my smile back after a year without happy feelings.
I hold on now because I know a place on earth where it is possible to feel good 'without' the ptsd. Here I am like evertbody else. The team is professional, respectful and kind to everybody. They love their dolphins also. I felt at home from the beginning and go back soon.
The pictures say more than words ever can! Our experience at IDC was beyond amazing! From the time in the classroom to the time with the dolphins, our experience with the staff, dolphins and program was incredible. I came home saying I’ve never seen Branson more in his element. He was doing things that are normally more difficult for him with a huge smile on his face and was so motivated. He loved giving the dolphins commands and still uses them when playing with dolphin toys at home. It was therapy in form of play and dolphins which he is so passionate about. As a Mom my heart was exploding from the time we walked into IDC and I had tears when we left. There isn’t a week that goes by that Branson doesn’t mention the dolphins and his time there. You know the impact was made when four months later he threw a penny in a fountain and when I asked him what he wished for he said “to see my dolphin friends.” I can’t recommend IDC enough as a place to visit or support through donation!
In March 2019 our daughter Nena was able the best time of her life! She was doing a 7 day dolphin based therapy program at IDC.
Nena has had a kidney transplant 3 years ago, suffers from a muscular dystrophy and several other health problems.
After the time with the wonderful people and of course the dolphins her motorical skills, her speech and her ability to solve every day tasks have improved in an astonishing way!
Her teacher at home could‘t believe her progress.
But not only my daughter had a great time, but for all of our family it was a time of healing and spending time together. To see her laughing deep from her heart made us all very glad.
The team of IDC also was really great with Nenas older brother Samuel! He was treated in a very special way and felt welcome and included all the time.
We will nevet forget this special week and always be grateful for the time at Key Largo.
We certainly try to come back one day with our kids‘
This place is amazing. They work with children with disabilities and our military veterans. They work with kids from the make a wish program. The story of how they got started is truly inspiring. I highly recommend paying a visit to Island Dolphin Care if you ever get the chance. And you can tell the staff really cares, and are passionate about what they do.
I have to commend the team at Island Dolphin Care.
I attended a therapy session with a group of veterans from Operation Outdoor Freedomon Feb. 5, 2019. It was amazing how from the time we arrived until the end of the day, all our needs were met. The time I Spent with Sarah was one of the most tranquil times in my life, and was more than I could have ever expected. Thank You for all you do.
Great team! We felt like home! Best experience, great specialists and just wonderful people! Taylor is a very talented specialist, my son enjoyed therapy there! I absolutely recommend to all my friends and family!!! It’s a great experience, unbelievable memories and fun!!! Dolphins are adorable and very smart! Thank you for all your hard work! It’s has been a pleasure to visit your place!!!
This facility harbors some of the greatest animals and staff that Iv'e had the pleasure to work with! The therapy speaks for itself and the guests always walk away with smiling faces. Could not be happier as an employee for Island Dolphin Care!
My life is forever changed since working for Island Dolphin Care. The joy I receive from this job is indescribable! Lives are being changed here not only for the child/adult with special needs but for their family as well. My background is clinical-based occupational therapy. I have seen children make more therapeutic progress at Island Dolphin care in 5 days than many children make in months of traditional therapy. In my short 6 months of working here I have experienced a young adult saying hello to her parents for the first time ever using an eye gaze computer, a teenager with ASD learning a fun, efficient way to tie his shoes, some first words and an amazing increase in vocabulary. We provide joy to families with no hope, we provide love to families who may not have a support system, we provide motivation and self-confidence, and lastly we become a second home to all people who enter our facility. I love this place and everyone who enters our doors!
My granddaughter Sophia has epilepsy and is a make a wish kid we were fortunate enough to spend time at dolphin care I cannot say enough about the staff and the experience she had there I have never seen her so engaged and happy the staff are incredible they have a remarkable bond with the dolphins and were absolutely wonderful with Sophia it was such a magical time I hope they continue to do their good work and make a difference in people’s lives Dee Abbott
It has been my pleasure to volunteer with Island Dolphin Care. I have had the opportunity to meet a plethora of diverse families and Veteran's groups throughout my time here. Children and adults alike express big smiles when swimming with the dolphins. It gives me so much joy to be able to experience the moment with each of them.
The classroom aspect provides a foundation of how to use the water session in the classroom. It has been exciting to see many families bond over the classroom session via various therapeutic aspects in creative methods of crafts, games, and other artwork.
I have learned more about marine life education while being here. I plan to use my knowledge to help educate my community when I return as I plan to run for my city's board to help make a difference. Island Dolphin Care has taught me about real issues we daily face in regards to the many dangers marine-life encounters and how we as individuals can work together as a team to be more aware of products we use , to help eliminate waste, and recycle and reuse more. I am so thankful for my experience at Island Dolphin Care as it has personally helped re motivate me to play a bigger role in my community.
I was an intern at IDC for three months. Every single day was another amazing experience!
IDC is a wonderful facility dedicated to serving those in need. I am very grateful that I was able to see some very touching milestones and breakthroughs during the dolphin swims and classroom session. It was the most wonderful thing in my live to see these kids laugh and smile (sometimes even for the very first time in their lives)!
I would always do this internship again!!
Gesa (from Germany)
Island Dolphin Care gave me the opportunity to experience a unique internship as a therapy assistance. I study Psychology so it was super interesting for me to work with different people with special needs such as autism or cerebral palsy. The team is evidently passionate about their work and is doing an amazing job. I would love to come back and volunteer for a longer time!
I've had an amazing time interning with Island Dolphin Care. The staff has taught me so much about different therapies and about how the dolphins live and aid in therapeutic assistance. The dolphins are so much fun to see every day. There are always fun times to be had when coming to Island Dolphin Care between the weekly barbecues getting to know more about the families and the art activities we do with the kids, we always end up having a great time. Can't wait to come back to visit!
I volunteered for Island Dolphin Care for 6 weeks and it was an awesome experience! It was breathtaking to see the benefits of this unique therapy for every single client I worked with. The Team at Island Dolphin care is great and very thoughtful. I immediately felt welcome. You can see that the Dolphins are happy and comfortable!
I had the privilege to intern for Island Dolphin Care. It is a great organization made up of compassionate individuals who are professionals in fields such as special education, psychology and therapy. I got to experience first hand the therapeutic benefits animal (dolphin) therapy has on children and adults suffering disabilities and illnesses such as autism, cerebral palsy and PTSD. As an aspiring special educator and animal lover myself, this was a truly amazing experience, and motivated me to continue my studies and find ways to incorporate animal therapy into my own professional goals. I would love to come back to IDC and continue working with dolphins and special needs individuals in the future!
Island dolphin care gave me the opportunity to intern and observe a unique therapy environment. The staff is qualified, and personable. I walked away from the
This is an incredible facility and program! The staff is dedicated to providing the best possible for both dolphins and clients! Amaziand facility where the dolphins live a life of purpose - providing Therapy to individuals, veterans and families with special needs, Mtion and research.
Where to begin! I was told about Island Dolphin Care by a upstanding and well known resident of the Florida Keys. When he found out that we had a home of adopted children that came from hard places, he immediately sent us there. I met with Deena and we became fast friends. She understood where I was coming from and wanted so desperately to help our family. We attended our first week long program in 2011 and I can't even begin to tell you the difference it made in our family. We went on to experience some additional trauma the next year, so IDC invited us back. We have been a few times and plan to return this May. We are beyond grateful and blessed to be part of the iDC family. Deena, Pete, Joe and the rest of the staff are simply amazing!
My son was diagnosed with ASD at 2 1/2 yrs. He's had 4 visits and seems to be more alert after his visits. The instructors have made great breakthroughs with him and the dolphin are a joy. Thank you for being there for our kids! XOXO
I was a volunteer at IDC in 2007! The experience I had was incredible because I was given the opportunity to see incredible things happen. To this day, I tell stories about the amazing changes I saw in kids, in only 1 week at IDC. What an amazing place to get away and not forget reality but face it with some extremely welcoming arms (and fins)!
It was an amazing day for me. I suffer from a spinal cord injury from the military. That day my left leg was in excruciating pain do to my nerve damage. I was to be pushed by both dolphins one on each foot. I was hesitant not letting that happen. So when I dolphins swim around to start pushing me, I noticed that the dolphin on my left side was barely touching me and the dolphin on the right side was doing all the work. So I asked the trainer if they would do it again the same to set of dolphins came over and i had the exact same reaction. So I ask the trainer if we can get two different dolphins and tried again. When both Dolphins so I'm around it happened a third time. The put a smile on my face and made me laugh a little bit. It goes to show you the intelligence of the animal and sensing what was wrong. When one animal shows compassion to another animal it shows that we can all get along in this world. I left there that day knowing that my life would be different from that point on I do look at things differently now. The affections about the Dolphins have showed me and the affectionate with the staff has showed me at Island Dolphin care will forever be ingrained in me.
To Island Dolphin care and to the staff I thank you for what you have shown me. I am forever grateful for that day.
Island Dolphin Care is an amazing place. Many of the families that come here have never seen a dolphin or interacted with one! Their lives are changed forever after they spend time here.
It is truly amazing to see the joy and happiness that they experience here and the fact that they can forget their problems for just a little while. The staff is wonderful and most of the families come back every year, making it their annual vacation. I am very lucky to be part of such a wonderful organization and able to contribute to it's success.
I am amazed by how attentive everyone is to clients, to people coming in from the general public with questions, to the volunteers. They really do care here. And beyond that, the work they do is simply awesome. I look forward to seeing more happy families doing their program.
Island Dolphin Care is the place I found after I retired. The dedication and peace that the staff and volunteers gave to the children, families, the military is what makes it magical. Thank you'
I was an intern here years ago. The staff was built up with some of the most caring and patient people you could find. The children were always so overjoyed to be there, whether in the art class or swimming with the dolphins. Animal assisted therapy is a tough road to maintain and IDC does it brilliantly.
I started to volunteer with Island Dolphin Care (IDC) in March 2017 and shortly realized that this was a "dream come true" organization. It combines all my loves in one place...children, families, people, and dolphins! I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) from Pennsylvania and have experience working as a children and family therapist as well as recent experience with animal (dolphin) care and training. I believe in this organization and what they are accomplishing through animal (dolphin) assisted therapy to help children and adults with special needs. They also have a unique and very special veterans program that helps support our troops. Overall, it is a great place that does a lot of good for a lot of people all over the world as well as locally in the community. They are now offering tours to the public, so call to schedule a tour or stop by today to see this amazing facility!
Island Dolphin Care is by far one the best not-for-profit organizations I have had the privilege to work with. Their team is made up of many compassionate, driven people focused on the same goal: to provide an extraordinary therapeutic experience. It is a client-centered and family focused organization that provides week-long therapy programs to individuals with special needs, as well as day programs for U.S. Veterans. I have seen first hand how motivating the therapy sessions are for these individuals and how rewarding the experience is for the whole family. Island Dolphin Care is definitely a must see place in Key Largo. Please consider stopping by for a tour of the facility, and to hear the amazing story about how it all began. I also urge you to consider donating to this worthy cause. Your money will be making a world of a difference to these families.
Transformative healing experience walking around the center. You can see and feel clients healing with their interactions. You must take the opportunity to experience the magic. The dolphins are also neat, the staff great!!!!…..PLEASE HELP IDC WORK THE MAGIC…..
I am so blessed to volunteer at Island Dolphin Care. I get to personally see how the classroom and Dolphin therapy affects both the special needs clients and the families/caretakers of them. I am retired US Army and seeing the Veteran programs that get our veterans in the water with the Dolphins holds a very special place in my heart. If you know someone who has a special needs family member, please refer them to Islanddolphincare.org and check out the program. If you don't know anyone but still want to help please donate so we can continue to change lives..
I am a current volunteer and I have to tell you that this is a very spiritual place to me. To see how the staff interact with the children and families is amazing. I have seen children do amazing things during the therapy that they hadn't done before. I am retired US Army and the veteran program has a special place in my heart. The entire staff is amazing and I love going in and helping with programs. If you haven't donated before or even if you have please help them continue the very special work that they do.
As a volunteer at Island Dolphin Care I enjoyed eight years interacting with special needs children and wounded veterans. It has been an uplifting experience for my soul to be able to contribute for this wonderful cause. It is a happy place to go, where people with special needs find comfort, joy and love.
Island Dolphin Care is an amazing place filled with wonderful people who are all striving to make the world a better place. I have seen first-hand just how meaningful this experience can be, and to see a smile on the face of a child who has been through so much is simply priceless. This is a non-profit worth donating your time and money to, and I can assure you it is all going to a wonderful place. IDC is one of the best places on earth!
Island Dolphin Care is a magical place. As soon as you walk in the door a warm feeling and relaxed atmosphere greets you along with smiling faces from staff. There is no second place like this one and I would never like to miss a single minute I got to spend there!
We love IDC! When you have a child with a disability you are always looking for something that motivates them and makes them be the best they can be. That is what happens at IDC! We love it so much we created a nonprofit to send other children there! The smiles that happen there are infectious!
One of the best places in the world. I did an internship in 2004 and it was a great experience! The whole team does a great job. It was a wonderful time with lots of unique moments.
Nurturing and selflessly supportive, the staff and volunteers amazed me every day of my five-day Art, Dolphin and Pilates therapy. As a veteran with invisible disability issues, I not only felt unconditionally accepted, but also challenged to let myself enjoy and explore the depths of the healing programs. As often as possible, I continue to urge other veterans to seriously consider participation. Whether alone, as I did, or in a group; this unique opportunity offers the anticipation, participation and reflection that builds positive memories. Plus valuable tools, for an emotionally healthy future. Semper Fi, Rebecca Johnston. U.S. Marine, Retired
"Call it what you want, i call it love..."
I can still remember the warm and sunny spring day in 1988 when our Michelle was born. As time went by doctors diagonised her with Microcephalie. She won`t be able to sit or to stand without help. She will never be able to eat by her own or even talk. On a late February evening in 1996 i had some time to kill and turned on the television. The presenter even announced a documentation about dolphins and disabled children. During the whole program i had this feeling that someone was pulling my arm saying to me: "Go on. Do it."
On October 28. in the same year Michelle touched dolphin Squirt the very first time. I never heard her laugh like that before and her eyes were beautifully glowing in the sun.
After two weeks of Dolphin Therapy Michelle was like brand new. Not only her hands, her whole body was relaxed. She could hold up her head and this way it was easier for her to focus and with her hands open she could easily hold things with her fingers. And.... she was trying to stand up with my help. Michelle seemed to enjoy herself. It was very difficult to leave Key Largo and the dolphins, but we knew we will come back. We have kept the promise up to now. This fall it will be our 20. return to IDC. Dolphin Therapy is a zest for life. Seeing Michelles eyes lighten up and experience her happiness is such the greatest gift for us.
The therapy center is a magical place. Everyone who goes there finds a wide open door and is welcome wholeheartedly. The time that we spend there is such great precious family time.
This is our own personal story. It might encourage someone out there to fight for change. One thing that I know for sure is that, some of the things happen to our lives had to happen, because they happen for a reason. Some might call it destiny, others bad luck or fate or maybe "bad cards". But even with bad cards you still have a chance to play smart.
That is exactly what Deena (Director of IDC) did. We are so thankful, to have known this wonderful awesome person with the big heart. She let us, together with IDC be a part of her life story, always giving us new impulse and strength and to realize the possibilities we have in us.
I heard about Island Dolphin Care years ago while working at a non-profit development center for infants and toddlers with disabilities in Seattle, so when the opportunity to help at IDC as an intern during their therapy programs came up, I was thrilled. It was an amazing experience for me, which started a wonderful relationship with them and many clients. They have an amazing, gifted staff, and awesome volunteers. Families from all over the world benefit from their program, many on scholarships. Animal assisted therapy can make a huge difference in those with challenging lives, and one of the great things about this program, as compared to other programs I have experienced, is the way they include the whole family, not just the child or adult with challenges. The dolphins are loved, and appear to love their work as much as families love interacting with them and the therapists. This is not simply feel good fluff, this is serious, valuable therapy that has improved many lives.
I was an intern at IDC this past summer! It was the best part of my year, and by far the most amazing place I've had the chance to intern at. This is truly an amazing place and I hope it continues to bless as many people as possible for many years to come!
Best place for dolphin assisted therapy ever.we've been there four times with autistic child from Germany and loved it.
My grandson, Logan, has been going to Island Dolphin Care for 17 years. He is so happy with the dolphins. The amazing dolphin, Fonzie, brought him sea beans and we still have them. It is a very special place that has brought motivation and fun to the boy and then the young man who is not mobile or verbal. We see more smiles in five days than we do all year. The entire family finds joy and peace in this experience. The facility and the people are truly beautiful. I met a lovely lady from England there in 2000 and we still correspond.
We were one of the first families to visit IDC. (2001) They were still in the DolphinsPlus location.
Our son was in a vegetative state, and Deena and the staff did a remarkable job with him. This experience changed our whole family forever. I am forever grateful to Deena and Co.
Our son has since passed (2003). We have formed a charity for Brain injury, and now send or help to send families to IDC, for them to have the wonderful experience we had.
I really cannot say enough about this non-profit organization.
These pics are a little grainy because they are so old. But I do treasure these pics.
We have been taking our son, Jack, to IDC since 2002. He has swam with Squirt 27 weeks of his life! For a child who cannot talk, walk, or sit up on his own, he has developed a very special relationship with Squirt, his therapist, Eli, and the entire staff and has trulyl changed his life for the better. We have met children , young adults and their families from all over the world and IDC is a unique and wonderful experience for everyone . Not only do they help special needs children or children with serious illnesses, they also have a wounded warrior program! Simply the BEST!
IDC truly is the Fun Factory! It brings nothing but joy and smiles into everyones lives who are touched by this magical place. The compassion and love that is shown by the staff and the interns is something that has to be experienced to understand. And being with the goofy and lovable dolphins is the cherry on top of the cake. I completed my internship in 2013 and consider it to be one of the most unique experiences I've ever had, and believe it is a once in a life time opportunity! I love everything about Island Dolphin Care and love to spread the word about it so others can share in this experience!
This is an amazing place with amazing people! Genuinely caring and loving staff who goes the extra mile to make sure needs are met. Staff members are trained in the areas of special needs and work with children from around the world. Nothing is overlooked as each person attending receives individual attention. Every day at Island Dolphin Care is like Christmas day, filled with love, joy, and wonderful surprises!
My son has received dolphin-assisted therapy at Island Dolphin Care over the last two years and our experience has been nothing but stellar. The facility is superb, the staff is excellent and the commitment by all to providing a welcoming and loving atmosphere for special needs children to engage and interact in ways that they otherwise find challenging is remarkable. We are huge fans of IDC and are grateful for all it does for the communities it serves.
Island Dolphin Care is truly an amazing and one of a kind of place! I have interned at IDC twice and learned new things each time I was there. I have completed 7 other internships and this place is truly me favorite! The staff are absolutely amazing and know what they are doing! I have never seen them say no your family member can't do this, but instead let's find a way that your family member do do that desired task. I have seen children that were told they can never use augmentative communication devices by home therapists learn how to use it in a 5 day period of time. The therapists do whatever they can to do to help their families as well as their interns from around the world. Each one of the staff walk around with a smile on their face each day and will take time out of their busy schedule to talk to you. To me that is a tell tale sign of how a facility is, based off of their employees happiness. Each family I worked with was happy with their experience and have said they hope to return in the future. As someone that just finished their master's in occupational therapy, I will continue suggesting Island Dolphin Care to families that I meet throughout my career.
I spent at IDC a couple of months, back in 2002, as intern, researching for the final thesys for my Magistral Degree in Clinical Psycholgy. Top amazing time ever. And wonderful staff, too. Couldn't be less, as Deena is a great person, and she surrounds her with great persons. Stunning healing energies. Clinically very suggested.