History and Mission

Our Mission statement: Our mission is to enable children with developmental disabilities to reach their full potential and assist their families in providing training and support throughout their journey. We strive to help our children and families through our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, Speech Language Pathology (SLP) therapy, and our charter partnerships. This combination of services allows Harwood to provide more intensive care and support to our families.

We believe:

•   That each child has the right to be educated to the fullest extent.

•   Every child, regardless of the degree or type of disability, is a person with individual needs and developmental potential.

•   The activities in our care should be success-oriented so that each child will have a positive self -image.

•   The process of education involves the establishment and maintenance of valid ties between the child’s home and our therapy services.

•   We must dedicate ourselves to fostering enthusiasm for learning in our children, their parents, the professional staff and our community.

•   That you, as parent(s), are your child’s first and most important teacher(s).

Cultural Diversity Competence Policy

It is the intent of Harwood Center that its employees behave in a manner representative of its ethical and/or moral commitment to provide quality treatment services to its recipients.

It is the policy of Harwood Center to maintain a written Cultural Competency and Diversity Plan that describes how the linguistic and cultural needs of our recipients & employees are met. It is our policy to effectively provide services to recipients of all cultures, age, races, gender, sexual orientation, socio economic status, languages, ethnic backgrounds, spiritual beliefs and religions in a manner that recognizes, values, affirms and respects the worth of the individuals and protects and preserves the dignity of each person. Harwood Center will not tolerate lack of adherence to or non compliance with our equal employment opportunity policy and non-discrimination practices. Harwood believes we each thrive in an accepting environment which welcomes differences so that we can reach our highest potential.


Founded in 1957, we functioned as a United Cerebral Palsy Day Care center until 1970 when we entered into an agreement with the University of Tennessee’s Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities and became associated with UT’s special education department as a comprehensive educational program for children with developmental disabilities. Milestones include:

  • Founded in 1957, we serve children from birth to age five with developmental disabilities.
  • In 1972, we became a 501(c)(3) United Way agency. Today, United Way recognizes us as a partner agency, an honor of excellence bestowed on only a few agencies throughout the state.
  • From 1974 to 1994, we assisted the Memphis City Schools special education department.
  • In 1992, we spread its outreach to a second location at the Memphis Jewish Community Center to serve more children and families.
  • In 1999, the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) designated us as an early intervention resource agency.
  • In 2003, TDOE selected us to help develop a statewide training program on autism for early intervention providers.
  • In 2009, we partnered with Les Passees, Inc. to fund our third location at Hope Presbyterian Preschool.
  • In 2010, we became a private nonprofit and expanded its services by opening preschool classrooms for children age 3 to 5 with developmental disabilities.
  • In 2011, we entered into a partnership with Baptist Memorial Health Care.
  • In 2013, we implemented a center based behavioral services program for children needing intensive one on one therapeutic services.
  • In 2015, we expanded its program to serve children exiting preschool needing a transitional year of school to prepare for kindergarten.
  • In January 2021, we opened our additional space, “The Little Clinic,” at the U of M campus. This new space allows us to provide a hybrid program for our clients to receive both in-home and clinic-based services.