A Bit of History
At one time, Linwood Center stood apart from all others. We treated children with autism exclusively; no other program anywhere provided these services. It didn’t much matter that our building was a 200-year-old stone mansion. It didn’t matter that we were overcrowded and underfunded. It didn’t matter that our roof leaked or that our founder, Jeanne Simons, a middle-aged Dutch woman, treated these children in a not-yet-identified method (now, notably referred to as The Linwood Method). There were no federal mandates for children with disabilities. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHC), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) would not come for years. Mainstreaming and inclusion were concepts of the future.
Within the four walls of the historic stone mansion that housed the Linwood program since its inception in 1955, was a treasure trove. Linwood was a haven for children with Autism – children who had no other place to go. Jeanne Simons directed a small staff whose compassion, caring and willingness to learn her methods set the stage for the decades of treatment and education that would follow.
Read more about Linwood’s history.
There is a community of legislators, lawmakers, public and private agencies, advocacy groups, grass roots organizations and people like you and me… an entire community associated with and dedicated to causes that support people with disabilities. The language we share includes a vocabulary with words like fundamental rights, respect, dignity, self-worth, and self-determination. These were not words used by Jeanne Simons, but they were most certainly the concepts that defined Linwood. In 1955, long before federal and state regulations mandated these fundamental concepts as standard fare, Miss Simons, in her thick Dutch accent, stated the following in a simple and descriptive manner:
“And that’s why we walk behind the child. He feels your protection when you walk behind. If you give him a chance to go any direction, he may be wrong when he goes this way or that. Just follow him. If it’s a dead end, pick him up gently and bring him to the main route. But never think that you know the answer, because you are dealing with an individual who may want to go very different routes, which for him may be better. That’s why I feel more comfortable behind the children so I can see where they are going.”
-Jeanne M. Simons (1909-2005)
Imagine a program where compassion is paired with teaching, where rewards and privileges flow logically and easily, where control is replaced by gentle guidance, and where children look forward to coming to school each day. Within the first three seconds of a new encounter, we are evaluated. First impressions often turn into long-term perceptions and reputations.
Linwood has a very strong and viable school program employing an ageless philosophy and methods that have been tested and retested through time. For those who do not know our program, we simply ask that you forego your first impression; look past the imposing walls and the historic structure and look at all that is happening inside. Our old school building has created challenges for us and we have purposefully kept our enrollment low to ease the conditions under which we operate. For those accustomed to state-of-the-art facilities for their children, at first glance, as that first impression is made, it may be difficult to appreciate the quality of services we provide.
We now look forward, with great anticipation, to implementing our program in one of these state-of-the-art buildings. Having recently acquired from the Howard County Government an additional acre of land extending our existing property in Ellicott City and State grants signed by the Governor two years in a row, we are well underway with our plans to construct a new school that will have enough space to double our current enrollment. Our plan is to build ten classrooms where we will use Koegel and Koegel’s Pivitol Response Treatments as a model to teach functional academics and vocational instruction. Our new building will also house a large physical education room, a dining room, a reception area with plenty of office space and much more. Thanks to the Jack Lulie Memorial Fund, we will also build a new playground. We will renovate our old mansion making plenty of room for administrative offices, conference rooms and a vocational training site. A new and bright beginning for Linwood is approaching…
Help us build our new school, Donate Today!