The Childhood League 70th Anniversary Timeline

70th Anniversary Timeline

1838-12-30 00:00:00

Developmental Delays First Identified

In France, Physician Edouard Séguin, trained as a physician, opens world’s first school for children with intellectual disabilities. For the first time, developmental delays are separate from mental illness.

1861-06-01 00:00:00

Cerebral Palsy Defined

Dr. William John Little establishes the classic definition of cerebral palsy.

1866-06-01 00:00:00

Down Syndrome Identified

Down syndrome first officially identified by English physician John Langdon Down.

1907-06-01 00:00:00

The first Montessori Preschool Opens

Maria Montessori opens her first preschool in Rome, focused on children’s environments and their own individual, self-teaching in a carefully prepared classroom. Preschools today continue to use the Montessori methods.

1913-07-01 00:00:00

MacMillan Nursery School in London

Sisters Rachel and Margaret MacMillan open their first open air nursery school in London that focused on a child’s self-care, individual responsibility and educational readiness skills.

1929-06-01 00:00:00

Life Expectancy for a Person with Down Syndrome

Life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome: 9 years.

1932-06-01 00:00:00

The First Folding Wheelchair

First folding wheelchair introduced by two engineers, one of whom used a wheelchair for his own mobility.

1940-06-01 00:00:00

The Lanham Act – Our Driving Force

During the Great Depression, nursery schools were on the rise and utilized primarily by the working poor. During World War II, women from all socio-economic groups enter the workforce to support wartime efforts. The Lanham Act temporarily provides for federally funded daycare centers within local neighborhoods. After the war ended, funding dries up and daycare centers close or are only available to families who can afford tuition.

1945-06-01 00:00:00

Sullivant Gardens Nursery School

With the end of funding from the Lanham Act, daycare centers are closing. In response to the impending need, Marian Fulton – the first President of The Childhood League – writes the Council of Social Agencies to ask how the new Childhood League can best help the community. As a result, The Childhood League continues operations at the Jacob Hare Home and begins operating a community nursery school located in housing projects on Columbus’ west side – the Sullivant Gardens Nursery School located at 871 Coolidge Drive.

1945-06-01 00:00:00

First Meeting of The Childhood League

On May 25th, 1945, the first meeting of The Childhood League was held at Dorothy Carroll’s home. The Childhood League operated a daycare called the Jacob Hare Home.

1946-06-01 00:00:00

Meeting with Experts

The League begins tradition of consulting with child development and education experts to provide the best services possible to the children under their charge.

1949-06-01 00:00:00

The First Merry Go Round

First Merry Go Round held, contributing significantly to The Childhood League’s operating budget.

1951-06-01 00:00:00

Growth and a New Building

The League buys land at 850 South 18th Street and breaks ground on September 25, 1950 to build a new nursery school, which includes design to meet needs of children with developmental delays. At this time, The Childhood League is operating two sites – Sullivant Gardens Nursery School and The Childhood League Nursery School.

1954-06-01 00:00:00

Equal Rights for All

Brown v. Board of Education ruled racial segregation violates equal educational opportunity. The Supreme Court decision led to recognition that all have a right to public education. Consequently, parents nationwide begin organizing advocacy groups for children with disabilities following the example set by the civil rights movement.

1960-06-01 00:00:00

Medical Advances for Infants

First neonatal intensive care unit created at Yale-New Haven Hospital

1961-06-01 00:00:00

Special Education’s path was forged through the civil rights movement

Parents nationwide start organizing advocacy groups for children with disabilities, part of civil rights movement growing throughout society.

1961-06-01 00:00:00

The Beginning of a Movement

President John F. Kennedy began the first national awareness/conversation regarding those with developmental disabilities.

1964-10-01 00:00:00


The Childhood League Center opens the first class for children with developmental delays. Assisting Board VI blaze a trail by expanding education opportunities for children with special needs. Our organization also transitions from The Childhood League to The Childhood League Center.

1965-09-17 00:00:00

Head Start launches

Head Start began as an 8-week pilot program and showed promising results for young children regarding the affect of all factors on a child’s healthy development.

1968-06-01 00:00:00

A New Field of Study

Thanks to a new law called the Handicapped Children’s Early Education Assistance Act, a new field of study emerges—early childhood special education.

1973-06-01 00:00:00

The End of Disability Discrimination

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on disability for children or adults—termed the “Bill of Rights” for those with disabilities.

1975-06-01 00:00:00

Right to Education and the Birth of the IEP

The Education for All Handicapped Children (EHA) requires public education be tailored to meet the needs of the individual—and creates the Individual Education Plan (IEP).

1976-07-01 00:00:00

The Childhood League Center Expansion

The Childhood League Center expands the original building and dedicates the expansion on April 4, 1976.

1979-07-01 00:00:00

Home vs. Institutions

Research shows a stimulating home environment, combined with good healthcare, and a positive, supportive community aids development for children with Down syndrome significantly more than living in an institution.

1980-06-01 00:00:00

500th Child Graduates from The Center

The Childhood League Center celebrates as it’s 500th child graduates to kindergarten!

1980-06-01 00:00:00

Autism on the Map

Autism, once classified as a type of schizophrenia, recognized in the standard reference used by mental health professionals.

1983-06-01 00:00:00

Instrumental Funding

State grants become available to serve young children with special needs, beginning at birth.

1986-07-01 00:00:00


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) passes, building on the EHA of 1975. Expands services for infants and young children with disabilities or at risk. Places focus on supporting the entire family. Services expand to those with autism and traumatic brain injury in the 1990 amendments of the Act.

1988-06-01 00:00:00

Successful capital campaign

The League launches a successful capital campaign and raises $1.2 million for a new state-of-the-art building.

1990-06-01 00:00:00

State-of-the-Art Building

The Childhood League Center moves to new facility across from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and dedicates the building on June 26, 1990 after a successful $1.2 million campaign.

1990-06-01 00:00:00

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act also passes, building on the EHA of 1975. Includes autism and traumatic brain injury, and also services for infants and toddlers.

1990-06-01 00:00:00

Americans with Disabilities Act passes

This landmark legislation extends rights to people with disabilities, including accessibility in public and private sector facilities and prohibits discrimination in employment based solely on disability.

1993-06-01 00:00:00

Early Intervention Program

The Childhood League Center begins its Early Intervention Program, expanding services to infants and toddlers with special needs.

1993-07-01 00:00:00

Coaching Program

Our Parents and Children Learning Together Program launches focusing on teaching parents to intervene. This program later became our home-based Early Intervention Coaching Program.

1995-06-01 00:00:00

50 Years!

The Childhood League Center celebrates our 50th Anniversary!

2000-07-01 00:00:00

Early Intervention Wing

The Marian Mills Fulton Pathway to Early Intervention wing is dedicated on August 24, 2000 in honor of our first League President. Allows The Center to expand programming for children birth to age 3 by 66%.

2000-07-01 00:00:00

The Rate of Autism

The first ever study documenting rates of autism is released. It affects 1 out of every 150 children.

2000-07-01 00:00:00

Royalty Comes to The Center

On October 19, Sarah Ferguson, the Dutchess of York, visits The Center and meets the children.

2001-06-01 00:00:00

Help Me Grow

The Center is selected as one of 12 providers in Franklin County to implement Ohio’s Early Start program for children at risk. In 2004, the program changes to Help Me Grow and focuses on early intervention.

2001-06-01 00:00:00

The PLAY Project is Born

Dr. Richard Solomon develops The PLAY Project interventions for young children with autism—now successfully used at The Center.

2004-06-01 00:00:00

IDEA Amended

Amendments to the IDEA act provide alternatives for children with special needs, with emphasis on inclusion and preventing learning gaps by addressing issues early. Responding quickly and adjusting education on an individual’s needs defined the field of special education as “highly qualified” and professional development opportunities expand.

2006-07-01 00:00:00

The Rate of Autism

The rate of autism spectrum disorders is 1 in 110 children.

2009-07-01 00:00:00

Board of Directors Formed

Official governing of The Center’s Board of Directors begins in the 2009-2010 school year.

2010-07-01 00:00:00

The Rate of Autism

The current rate of autism spectrum disorders in children is 1 in 68. The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in U.S. children increased by 119.4% since 2000.

2012-07-01 00:00:00

The PLAY Project at The Center

The Center incorporates The PLAY Project interventions into our home-based Coaching Program. These interventions are proven effective for young children with autism since parents deliver the interventions themselves.

2013-06-01 00:00:00

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Five subcategories of autism are combined into Autism Spectrum Disorder

2015-06-01 00:00:00

The Center is selected as a Governor's Bright Ideas Ohio site

The Center was chosen as a Governor’s Bright Ideas Ohio site which features “smart solutions for community challenges.”

2015-06-01 00:00:00

70th Anniversary!

The Childhood League Center celebrates our 70th Anniversary!

2015-06-01 00:00:00

Life Expectancy for a Person with Down Syndrome

Life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome: 60 years.

2016-07-01 00:00:00

The New Center

The Childhood League Center will move to the Fort Hayes campus, increasing the number of children served by 57% with future expansions possible.

The Childhood League 70th Anniversary Timeline

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