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Our History

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.

Our Past

Photo of Arthur and Antonio, first children in the blind nurseryIn 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.

Our Present

SpringDanceToday, 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.

Our Future

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.

"Oak Hill had an excellent national reputation as a school for the blind, but we must admit that we were nervous when we looked at the challenge our son Peter presented. Peter's disabilities were extensive and his progress would be measured in very small steps. We soon realized that Oak Hill was able to provide a much more complete and consistent program for Peter than we could ever offer him at home. We've always felt quite comfortable with the people who've taken care of him. This is probably the number one hope that parents have and we feel fortunate that Oak Hill encouraged this. Oak Hill is his home."

— Robert and Barbara Cloonan, parents of Peter (resident of Oak Hill since 1976.)

Contact Us

120 Holcomb Street
Hartford, CT 06112

(860) 242-2274
(860) 286-3113 TTY
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Oak Hill sets the standard, partnering with people with disabilities, to provide services and solutions promoting independence, education, health and dignity.