Our past, present and future embrace this vision: The people we serve are the center of all we do and we will dedicate all our resources to help them to develop their potential.
In 1888, Emily Wells Foster formed the nation’s first nursery for blind children in her home in Hartford. Through Foster’s efforts an institution grew and changed forever the lives of hundreds of blind Americans and their families. In time, it would become known as the Connecticut Institution and Industrial Home for the Blind, and in 1893 the Connecticut Institute for the Blind.
By the mid 1960s, important changes in federal law concerning the education of children with disabilities (Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) freed up considerable grant money for expanded special education curriculum. In 1976, Oak Hill began providing services for people with multiple disabilities (Public Law 94-142, Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act) which guaranteed all children free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment possible.
In 1978, Oak Hill opened its first group home in the community. By 1986, Oak Hill School amended its articles of incorporation and bylaws to enable the school to officially serve people with disabilities which did not necessarily include visual impairment. Expanding the school’s mission more accurately reflected the changing needs of society.
Today, it is simply known as Oak Hill, a recognized leader in providing community-based programs: housing, employment training, education, assistive technology, healthy relationships, early intervention (link), and recreation to children and adults with multiple disabilities (including visual impairments) in Connecticut. Oak Hill has 16 distinct programs; 115 program sites located in 55 towns. Oak Hill employs over 1,400 professionals to successfully meet the changing needs of thousands of people with disabilities each year.
Oak Hill will continue to be a leader in the community by providing quality programs and services for people with disabilities. Program and services will expand to meet the changing needs of society.