The year was 1957 when The Hope School opened its doors in a modest house in Springfield. Hope’s founders Dr. and Mrs. Charles E. Jordan had searched the world for a place to educate their daughter who had multiple disabilities. They wanted Judith Ann to have the chance to reach her full potential, but no school in the United States could serve her. So the Jordans created a school. They created Hope. The Jordans had a vision and took action. The Hope School brought hope to many families who also were searching for community services.
Hope gained the attention of President John F. Kennedy and ignited change in disability policy and services throughout the United States. President Kennedy named Dr. Jordan to the President’s Council on Disabilities and other governmental councils, where Dr. Jordan helped shape a new reality for children and adults living with disabilities. At about the same time, the Special Olympics were founded in Chicago. Illinois was the forefront of change and The Hope School was squarely at its center. The Hope School emerged as a provider of educational and residential services. It became a place where children facing extraordinary cognitive, physical and emotional challenges could learn and thrive.
Today Hope – now known as The Hope Institute for Children and Families – has become more than a school. It is leading the development of new methods to educate, treat and care for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities.