Recently Luke completed a five-day dolphin therapy program with Island Dolphin Care. It was truly an amazing experience. The first day began with an orientation in which Deena, the Executive Director, shared how IDC began when her own son, Joe, had special needs. I was tearing up in the first five minutes thinking, “Great! I’m not even going to make it out of orientation without being a blubbering mess!” Somehow, though, I got through it without looking like a crazy person.
Luke was slightly hesitant at first, but Gretchen knew just how to put Luke at ease, and within minutes, he was all smiles. His favorite moment that first day was when Lotus jumped through a hoop that he was holding. Others even commented to me how much they enjoyed watching Luke because he was so excited that he could hardly contain himself. As we drove away that afternoon, I heard Luke mumbling in the backseat, “It was jumping.”
It was an incredible week – one I wish I could relive over and over again. I’m not sure that I have ever heard Luke laugh that much, or smile that big. It was pure joy. I’m not sure which of us will miss Island Dolphin Care more. I’ll admit that it took me a few deep breaths to hold back the tears as we said goodbye and drove away on the final day.
Now, I’m sure all of you are wondering, “How can I do this for the special needs child in my life?” You can start by visiting IDC’s website and printing out an application here. The program which Luke attended runs at a cost of $2,200; however, if you are in financial need (which we certainly were), you can apply for a scholarship. To apply, include a letter with your application requesting consideration for financial assistance and explaining your need. You will also need to submit a video with your application. You can view Luke’s video below to get an idea of what is expected.