The Occupational Development Center is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1948, eventually being renamed the Child Development School (1950) and the the Child Development Center (1951). The concept for establishing the Child Development Center, was to provide tutorial instruction to children with developmental disabilities in an attempt to assimilate them into the community culture. The founders were Marian R. Headrick, whose son had developmental disabilities, and Olivia Stoner, whose nephew also had developmental disabilities. These two women rejected the agonizing alternative of institutionalizing these children, while also refusing to believe that the boys were “uneducable.”
By 1955, the demand for facilities necessitated the decision to undertake a building program. The location was chosen and the Center was arranged and equipped to accommodate the needs of small children. When the facility opened on May 13, 1956, 66 children with developmental disabilities under the age of 16 were enrolled in the program.
In 1958, State legislation passed a law requiring public school systems to provide for the education of children with developmental disabilities until they reach the age of 16.
Since a state program was now going to be providing services which were the initial objective of the organization, the directors responded to the change by recognizing a need for a program to continue vocational training and personal development of individuals with developmental disabilities.
An Occupational Development Workshop was organized and a Federal Sheltered Workshop License was obtained. The organization’s objective then became an endeavor to provide specific vocational training in an effort to rehabilitate individuals with developmental disabilities, so that under constant supervision, jobs would be provided which would guarantee them continuing income in the hope that someday they could be become completely self-sufficient.