A small group of parents, concerned about the future of their children with disabilities, began to meet to discuss mutual problems and to plan for their children’s futures. In 1952, this ambitious and compassionate corps organized the Council for the Retarded of Elkhart County Inc. Classes for children with special challenges were established and conducted in the basements of individuals’ homes. The group purchased a home on East Jackson St. in Elkhart and moved all classes to that location in 1955.
At the same time, a group of concerned women who had earlier organized a summer program for children with disabilities through the Episcopal Church began to rally their creativity and energies to create a rehab preschool class. With a focus on providing physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and hearing therapies and preschool for children with disabilities, the Elkhart County Crippled Children’s Society was organized in 1953. Construction of the Rehabilitation Center at 702 Williams Street soon followed.
The Sheltered Workshop Inc. was organized in 1958. The workshop, which was located in leased space on 330 W. Garfield Ave. in Elkhart, provided vocational training and work experience for adults with disabilities.