Giving 'High Hopes' to Families and the Children that make them Special 8

High Hopes Development Center embraces uniqueness and inspires growth for every child.


As the 1959 Frank Sinatra hit song High Hopes tells us, “Next time you’re found with your chin on the ground, there’s a lot to be learned, so look around.”

This is perhaps a similar sentiment that five Middle Tennessee families felt when, together, they founded High Hopes Developmental Center in 1984. These families each had a child with a special need or chronic disease, and realized they spent a lot of time driving to multiple locations for their children to receive the therapy services they needed. Another realization was that the inclusion model for education was not widely implemented. So together they created a goal to establish a place where their children’s needs could be met, both academically and therapeutically, and where their children could be educated among their typically-developing peers. Little did they know at the time that this was history in the making.

Fast forward to July 18, 2014 – a very special day for High Hopes as it celebrated its 30th anniversary in its first permanent home at 301 High Hopes Court in Franklin. High Hopes Development Center Inclusive Preschool and Pediatric Therapy Clinic has been equipping children and youth to reach their potential for over 32 years by offering a specialized and focused approach to serving children with and without special needs through two integrated programs.

The mission of High Hopes Development Center is to equip children, youth and their families with skills necessary to achieve success through education, therapeutic services and loving support.

High Hopes Preschool

The Preschool at High Hopes educates children ages six weeks to pre-kindergarten in a compassionate environment, with the children separated into eight age-specific care groups. “They provide inclusive education to children with and without special needs in a research-based, developmentally appropriate manner while maintaining a ratio of 60 percent children who are typically developing to 40 percent children with a diagnosed special need,” says Cheryl Dean, public relations and marketing coordinator. “Needs range from developmental delays and behavior struggles to Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy. The belief is that inclusion allows all children to learn about diversity, acceptance and individuality.”

High Hopes Pediatric Therapy Clinic

The High Hopes Pediatric Therapy Clinic provides caring therapeutic services to children and youth, birth through age 21, in an enjoyable, kid-friendly environment where therapy is both fun and rewarding. A staff of highly qualified pediatric therapists offers a multitude of services including physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapies.  “With an average of over 14 years specialized pediatric experience among them, these therapists are trained to evaluate the children and establish individualized goal-oriented therapy programs,” says Dean. “Or, they will work with a child’s existing Individualized Education Program and Individualized Family Service Program.”

As a non-profit entity, High Hopes hosts a number of high profile fundraising events. Its largest annual fundraiser, Hats Off to High Hopes, was held on November 13 at The Ryman Auditorium with Grammy award winner Tim Nichols performing and hosting. High Hopes will also host the inaugural Franklin Celebrates A Season of High Hopes at the Franklin Theatre on Thursday, December 15. Tickets are on sale now at

For more information about High Hopes, call 615.661.5437. For inquiries regarding pediatric therapy, call 615.550.1446. Information is also available online at Tours and consultations about your child’s specific needs are easily arranged.