The Gladys Program

Neurodiversity-affirming animal assisted activities & therapy offerings for children, teens, and older adults.

The Gladys Program is focused on supporting a neurodiverse community and empowering autistic teens and children and older adults with Alzheimer's disease or dementia to live their best, most autonomous lives. We meet the person where they are. We encourage, promote, support, and collaborate with individuals as each person is always their own expert, knowing best about what it is, what it looks like, what it means, and how it feels, to be themselves.

We meet the person where they are.

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Children and Teens
Social & Emotional Support

Your child or teen with will partner in a personalized and goal-directed one on one session with an appropriately identified and specially certified therapy dog.
Sessions may include: Practicing initiating interaction with others, collaborative game play, recognizing and responding to emotions in others, and individualized activities in a sensory-friendly, neurodiversity-affirming environment.

Benefits to Your Child and Teen Include:

  • Practicing social skills in a positive, sensory-friendly environment

  • Reducing stress and anxiety and feeling comforted

  • Building trust and understanding and bonding with a canine friend

  • Enjoying fun activities catered to individual skills and desires

  • Learning and developing emotional understanding in a safe, open, loving, and non-judgemental space

Dementia & Alzheimer's Support

Older adults and caregivers will spend time interacting with an appropriately identified certified therapy dog team. The AAP team will create a tailored session based on the preferences and strengths of each unique individual. This can include memory activities, game playing, or simply spending time with a compassionate therapy dog team.

Benefits to Older Adults Include:
  • Enjoying one-on-one time with a certified therapy dog

  • Fun, stress-free activities that engage fine and gross motor skills

  • Reducing stress and anxiety in a quiet, calm environment

  • Social engagement, social interaction, and conversation

  • Accessing comfort and support in a loving, open, and non-judgemental space

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Sign up today! Our staff will reach out to schedule an introductory session at our facility in Adel, IA.

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We are always learning and do our very best to remain open and active listeners. The language we use and the programs we develop are guided by those we serve, first and foremost, and our wonderful team of professionals. As we learn and grow we must be sure our clients always have a voice in what we do.

These offerings are not meant to replace or act as complete alternatives to medical, physical, or mental health intervention or treatment. These activities are not licensed medical therapy or counseling.

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Gladys' Story

Gladys, or Glads or Gladie to the many that loved her, was a brilliant star of an Irish Wolfhound. From the moment Hayl brought her home she knew there was something special about her; she excelled at learning new skills and loved interacting with every.single.person she met. She shined, bright and big, everywhere she went. The moment she saw a familiar face her huge tail would circle around in chaotic joy, her body would wiggle with happy anticipation. She didn't care if she knocked over glass vases with that gigantic tail or if her wet beard left smudges on every surface. She was always her amazingly authentic self and she was more concerned about making someone smile (and getting pets) than the state of the decor in the room.


 

Gladys was a friend to all.

Gladys was a friend to everyone, literally everyone, and this inspired Hayl to create a nonprofit devoted to therapy animals and the human-animal bond. Gladys showed Hayl that the love from a dog can be truly life altering. Over the years as a therapy dog team, Gladys and Hayl provided animal assisted activities and therapy to hundreds. Gladys was the ideal partner because she loved interacting with each person as an individual, making them feel confident, taking away their stress, comforting them, and always encouraging each person to be true to themselves. She was Hayl's greatest teacher.


Gladys adored children and was the perfect reading buddy, the ideal confidence booster, and an excellent partner in social skills building. She loved older adults, reminding them of their past dogs, encouraging them to share memories, to laugh, to have long conversations, all while petting her long, scruffy back or scratching her big ears.

 

Gladys passed away in March of 2020. Her loss was immense and her big paws can never be filled but the brightness of her star has not faded and with this program, we can ensure that

Gladys's legacy helps others to shine.

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