In 1965 John F. Unruh, a specialist in therapeutic exercise and Robert J. Doman, a physiatrist, joined together and opened The Institute for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured in Media, Pennsylvania. The Institute was a place where specialists could come to learn and teach. It was an exciting place where research and exploration of new ideas flourished. We were driven by the need to find better ways of helping children with neurological disabilities and an even bigger need to help to their families as well.
Many great minds contributed to our work and we were honored to have men like Eugene B. Spitz, the neurosurgeon who developed the shunt for hydrocephalus, work with us. Raymond Dart, the South African anthropologist and anatomist helped us develop a scientific understanding of the neurological symptoms the children demonstrated. Carl H. Delacato who authored many books on speech, reading and sensory problems contributed significantly to the work and many others too numerous to mention.
Under the leadership of Dr. Unruh, services were developed in many countries including Spain, Italy, Morocco, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Germany and Belgium. In addition, many doctors and specialists who studied with us went home to provide our methods where they lived.
In 1975 The Institute for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured changed its name to The Center for Neurological Rehabilitation and the pioneering work continued.
Our mission has always been to find better ways to provide effective, comprehensive individualized plans for children who have a neurological disability. These plans are taught to families and through empowerment and knowledge are carried out in the home. By carefully following these plans, children can reach their potential without complicating symptoms standing in their way. It has been our position that if we can strengthen the immaturities of a child’s nervous system, we will reduce physical, behavioral, intellectual and social symptoms. In 1964 this thinking was a significant departure from the classic treatment that focused on treating the symptoms. We have found through successful treatment of the problem, the nervous system itself, you can diminish symptoms.
By the year 1998 many of the members of our group were either retired or deceased. The job of managing such a large facility as well as services in other countries fell on Dr. John F. Unruh who was also getting older. The decision was made to close the Center for neurological Rehabilitation for good but to continue the work under the new name of Neurological Rehabilitation International Consultants. Along with the help and support of Patricia Unruh, teacher and administrator along with former student and specialists like Ignacio Calderon, Dr. Unruh now focuses all of his energy and attention on the work he loves so much, seeing children and helping their families.