pixel img 120 Amazing Years | The Children's Institute

1902-2022Celebrating 120 Years

Upcoming Anniversary Events

Join us in celebrating at these upcoming events!

VIP Reception - Invite Only

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022
6-8:00 p.m.


Join us at our amazing place as we celebrate 120 years of the highest quality care for kids and families in our community. This event is by invitation only.
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Community Open House

Friday, Sept. 16, 2022
4-7:00 p.m.


Join us at our amazing place as we celebrate 120 years of the highest quality care for kids and families in our community. This is a free community event - everyone is invited to celebrate with us.
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Timeline Header

1902

The Start of an Amazing Place

The Start of an Amazing Place
Mary Irwin Laughlin establishes the Memorial Home for Cripple(d) Children.
1919

Polio Rehabilitation

Polio Rehabilitation
75% of our patients were recovering from polio.
1954

Polio Vaccine Testing

Polio Vaccine Testing
Staff and children take part in final testing of Dr. Jonas Salk's new polio vaccine.
1960

Surviving & Thriving after Polio

Surviving & Thriving after Polio
Evolved to create a range of high-level medical, educational, social, psychological, and prevocational programs.
1968

National Recognition

National Recognition
We became the nation's first comprehensive rehabilitation center for children to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
1980

Adapting to Community Needs

Adapting to Community Needs
In response to an aging population, we developed adult inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services.
1981

Becoming The Rehabilitation Institute of Pittsburgh

We changed our name to The Rehabilitation Institute of Pittsburgh to reflect both the emphasis on comprehensive rehabilitation and the inclusion of adult patients.
1988

Creating Solutions for Patients

Creating Solutions for Patients
Designed and published Custom Trunk Support; long-term impact is still seen today in the design of wheelchairs, long sitters, and standers.
1990

Growing our Geographic Reach

In response to migration to the suburbs, we open satellite locations throughout Western Pennsylvania.
1991

First DynaVox

First DynaVox
The original DynaVox, an augmentative communication device, was launched with assistance of our staff, who worked collaboratively with the engineer to develop the first dynamic display.
1998

Becoming The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh

Becoming The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh
Our adult services transferred to UPMC, allowing us to reaffirm our original mission - to promote the wellbeing of children, young people, and their families. We changed our name to The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh.
2002

Amazing Kids. Amazing Place.

Amazing Kids. Amazing Place.
The Children's Institute celebrates its 100th anniversary and launches the Amazing Kids campaign with the "I am amazing" tagline.
2002

GymBop

GymBop
Developed GymBop®, a conceptual model integrating the educational specialties of music and adapted physical education, along with occupational, physical and speech/language therapies.
2003

The Day School Accreditation

The Day School Accreditation
The Day School at The Children's Institute became the first school in Pa. to earn accreditation by the National Commission on Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES).
2004

Pain Rehabilitation and Adoption Excellence

Pain Rehabilitation and Adoption Excellence
Introduced the Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy (RND) program, only the second of its kind in the eastern half of the United States to address chronic pain disorders. Project STAR – currently known as Family Support Services – received the Adoption Excellence Award for support for adoptive families from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
2005

Angels in Adoption Award

Angels in Adoption Award
Project STAR earned the Angels in Adoption Award from The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Angels in Adoption Award
2009

Women for a Healthy Environment

Women for a Healthy Environment
We were selected to partner with The Heinz Endowments and community volunteers to oversee the "Women for a Healthy Environment" initiative.
2011

Nimick Family Therapeutic Garden

Nimick Family Therapeutic Garden
We dedicated the 10,000 square foot Nimick Family Therapeutic Garden, which is enjoyed by patients, families, students, and the community.
2012

A New Space for Kids and Families

A New Space for Kids and Families
We dedicated the Family Visitation Center located on the Squirrel Hill campus.
2013

Remembering Amazing Kids

Remembering Amazing Kids
Amazing Kids television campaign ad honored as "Most Memorable in Pittsburgh's History."
2015

National Recognition for Services

The Day School is named one of 30 International MOVE™ Model Sites for work to help children gain independence and dignity. The New York Times magazine featured an in-depth article on our Center for Prader-Willi Syndrome.
2018

Surviving & Thriving Through Programmatic Changes

Surviving & Thriving Through Programmatic Changes
The Children's Institute closes its inpatient rehabilitation and inpatient behavioral health services.
2020

Adapting Through COVID-19

Adapting Through COVID-19
Like our early history with polio, our team meets the needs of those we serve through challenging times. We continue to evolve to meet the community needs through tele-health and tele-education models during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020

Partnership for Early Intervention Services

Partnership for Early Intervention Services
The Children's Institute forms an affiliation with The Early Learning Institute (teli) to provide expert early intervention services for the littlest of amazing kids from birth to age three.
2021

Applied Behavioral Analysis Program

Applied Behavioral Analysis Program
The Children's Institute launches new clinic-based Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program to provide children between the ages of 18 months to 21 years old on the autism spectrum with comprehensive and holistic services.
2022

Amazing Things Happen Here

Amazing Things Happen Here
The Children's Institute celebrates its 120th anniversary of providing the highest quality care and services to amazing kids and families in the community.

Make a gift to celebrate our 120th anniversary!

Stories

A Legacy Begins: The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh The story of our first patient, Emile Terrenoire

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From "I will be amazing" to "I am amazing," Christopher Wolfendale's iconic words hold so much meaning in relation to his journey as a student in The Day School at The Children's Institute to his adult life.

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Share Your Story!

For the past 120 years, The Children’s Institute has worked to fulfill our mission: To Heal. To Teach. To Empower. To Amaze.

Now we want to hear from YOU! Please share your memories below.

Read Stories from Others

Working at The Children's Institute has always been a dream job of mine. My brother was actually a student here. I think being part of a family that has someone with special needs can be very isolating at times and just seeing the way that this place provided an opportunity for my parents to learn what was best for him and to see such positive change in him in this journey was so inspiring to me; and I knew that I wanted to work here; and I wanted to do the same thing every single day for my students and for their families.
Brittney Wolfendale
occupational therapist
I love the culture of innovation here. In my 8+ years with The Children's Institute, I have always been encouraged to pursue my professional interests and hone my skills. It's rewarding to grow as a clinician - and to to encourage growth in special kids - by having fun with a purpose every day.
Jennifer Brilmyer, P.T., DPT, DHSc
clinical specialist
We were just one little family with a child who was different, climbing this huge mountain of medical complexity and feeling lost, scared, and alone. And then, thank goodness, we discovered The Children's Institute.
Kim W.
school parent
The Day School provides a warm and caring environment structured around high standards and accountability that is customized to meet the needs of each student. They also include the needs of our whole family in Harry's educational care.
Melody L.
school parent
The Children's Institute has done so much for us. I had a feeling they might be our lifeline and they have been...they really have.
Shannon S.
outpatient mom
The Children's Institute has been a part of our lives for so long now, and they keep coming up with innovative ideas using new technologies to help Gabby...The support we've received has been phenomenal.
Tanya H.
outpatient parent

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