Chief Programs and Services Officer
Rod Haneline is internationally recognized for his extensive knowledge in developing advanced orientation and mobility (O&M) instructional programs. He has developed integrated methods for use of canes and dogs as well as GPS in both O&M and guide dog programs. His expertise in guide dog utilization, O&M and GPS has given him an innovative perspective for enhancing mobility and independence for people who are blind and visually impaired.
A member of the Leader Dog team since 1979, Rod currently oversees the O&M, GPS and guide dog training at Leader Dogs for the Blind. Rod also served as director of student services and was a Leader Dog instructor for 12 years. Previously, he was a narcotics detector dog handler for the United States Air Force.
Rod implemented Leader Dog's Orientation and Mobility Training that provides rapid O&M training for guide dog applicants requiring additional travel skills. He was instrumental in developing Leader Dog's location technology classes (centering on the use of a talking navigational tool using GPS) and Leader Dog has become the world leader in the application of this technology.
Rod has developed and implemented an ongoing series of seminars designed for both practicing professionals and university students in the field of orientation and mobility. He also started an intern program for graduate students in blind rehabilitation/orientation and mobility. He was inducted into the Outstanding Alumni Academy at Western Michigan University for his work in the blind rehabilitation field. Rod is currently a board member of Assistance Dog International North America (ADINA).
Rod is a graduate of Oakland University with a bachelor's degree in human resource development, majoring in training and development. Rod also has a master's degree from Western Michigan University in blind rehabilitation, majoring in orientation and mobility. He has spoken all over the world on O&M and guide dogs. He has also authored, published and presented numerous articles and informative literature on the subjects of guide dog utilization, preparation of clients for guide dog use and training techniques and blindness.
“When people experience the loss of their vision, when they experience trauma or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to begin to pose challenges that seem insurmountable. My passion has always been to bring services and healing to people who have been through the loss of their vision. We provide training that is not only relevant but changes an individual’s mindset on how they travel. When we do that, we can help our clients lead a life that is full and complete. In my 38-plus years [at Leader Dog], the ability to build a program that is dependent on a team of professionals who help people find healthy perceptions of themselves as complete, whole and safe has been a blessing and what drives me every day.”