The Center’s story show a history of over 55 years, serving the Central Florida community.
The Children’s Rehabilitation Ranch opened in a donated, small, two-room frame house.
During the first year, the unpaid staff served 60 children. Speech therapy was provided for 25 cents per half hour. Lois Searl was elected the first volunteer President/CEO.
In 1967, the Center built a 2,500 square foot building on East Bella Vista Street. We began our partnership with United Way of Central Florida, allowing us to provide services to patients who otherwise could not afford them.
The Center was gifted its first mobile unit by Sertoma Clubs around Polk County. The mobile unit was used to provide services to preschools, hospitals, public and private schools, industry, and retirement centers.
In 1985, we added the Jeanette Chiles Ruthven Memorial Therapy Wing to provide additional space for speech and language services and a pre-school classroom.
The Center opened a satellite facility at Lakeside Medical Center, offering a complete range of speech-language and hearing services.
In 2000, through a gift from Reva P. McClurg, we purchased and refurbished the building next door. This new space provided the A.C.E. Charter School classroom and expanded hearing conservation services.
After five decades, the Center moved its clinical services into a state-of-the-art facility in the Highlands Plaza on Lakeland Highlands Road.