In conjunction with Make Studio’s Autism Acceptance Month online gallery, we’re highlighting some partnering entities who, if 2020 gave us a *typical* April, would have joined us for an in-person gallery event. Our last post featured the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism. Today, we’re featuring Taking the Lead, an organization that also shares our goals of centering supports for people with autism and other disabilities on strengths, and providing customized training to build lasting careers.
Some of TTL’s vocational participants were planning to demonstrate their dog training skills at our event and, although we’re disappointed that couldn’t happen this spring, we’re pleased to (re)introduce you to TTL in the virtual realm.
(You might recall that the Partyman himself made a visit to the TTL Timberbrook farm last fall, to serve as unofficial Ringmaster at their circus-themed participant showcase!)
Taking the Lead provides an array of services and experiences including therapeutic horseback riding, hippotherapy, service animal training, animal adoption, a nature and sensory trail, and the aforementioned vocational program, all on their beautiful 80 acre farm in Baltimore County.
Their inclusive vocational program provides folks aged 13 and up with the skills they need to gain meaningful employment in animal-related industries. Participants explore jobs and learn functional skills for employment on a real working farm with live animals, rather than in a classroom setting. Their program is unique in that an occupational therapist identifies the specific needs of each participant and breaks down their individual objectives into achievable short- and long-term goals, and the curriculum is customized based on the individual participant’s interests: “Levels of training range from pre-vocational life skills to an advanced program with an internship component to meet each student where they are and help them be as independent as possible on their journey to employment.”
We’re pleased to share this farm status report, about how they are faring as a nonprofit during this time of COVID-19, from TTL’s founder and COO, Chelsea:
I have had to suspend programs, but I will be doing virtual storytelling programs with the farm animals. Additionally, I am raising broad breasted and heritage breed turkeys to sell pasture raised turkeys. People can follow them on our Facebook page!
Stay tuned, as we hope to soon share a “life drawing with animals” virtual farm field trip that we’ll be offering online with TTL, that all are welcome to take part in. Perhaps you’ll see some of these animals amongst the life models!
We hope you’ve been able to join us throughout this Autism Acceptance Month as we’ve translated some of our planned events online! If you missed anything, you can easily access all our special content, as well as other information and resources, on our Making it Work During COVID-19 portal.