Wilderwood was started in 2018 by Dr. Rebecca Evanko, an autistic Ph.D, equestrian, and educator and Dr. Mark Evanko, an osteopathic physician and equestrian. Committed to making a difference in the live of autistic people, Rebecca and Mark started looking for programs they could adapt as their life’s work. Finding none that fit their ideals and aspirations, they worked with other specialists and professionals to create their own. The result is Wilderwood.
The program continues to evolve, responding to the experience of teaching, learning, and listening to the participants and autistic mentors who are part of it. In all that we do, Wilderwood continues to embrace its mission to provide equine-based and facilitated programs for autistic adults and youth, the broader community, and to educate about horses and autism.
Wilderwood’s programs are designed, led, and delivered by appropriately qualified faculty. This includes personnel trained in osteopathy, cognitive linguistics, Parelli training, basic principles of Légèreté dressage, PATH-certified instructors, physical therapy, and social work. Dr. Rebecca Evanko is currently completing a second Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.
There’s more on our story in the award-winning documentary, Hautism and Wilderwood, which can be viewed below. The documentary outlined Wilderwood’s original program, which was a nine-month curriculum. Though Wilderwood’s programs have now expanded and adapted to the needs of our participants and community, the philosophy of Hautism remains at the heart of our program and all that we endeavor to achieve.