Barber National Institute

Barber National Institute Logo

Basic Information

Address: 136 East Avenue/ 100 Barber Place Erie, PA 16507
Phone Number: 814-453-7661
Fax Number: 814-455-1132

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Barber National Institute

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Additional Information

Executive Director: John Barber, J.D., President and CEO
Service Description: The Barber National Institute offers a complete range of services that includes early intervention for infants and toddlers, an inclusive preschool, an Autism Center of Excellence, an approved private school, job training and placement, residential options including community housing, Lifesharing and supported living programs, in-home services, specialized therapies and behavior therapy, a creative arts program, and a retirement center.
Area Served: Erie, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh regions
Services Offered:
Services for children/youth, adults, seniors, residential and clinical services, family and community support services

Shillelagh Golf Tournament, Garden Party, Ladies Only Luncheon, Community Art Show, Christmas Ball, Cleveland Indians Caravan, other events planned throughout the year.

Support Groups: Grandparent Autism Support Group, 21+ Club, Down Syndrome Support Group, Northwestern PA Autism Society of America, Parent Telephone Support Program

The Barber National Institute was founded in 1952 by the late Dr. Gertrude A. Barber. An educator and administrator in the Erie City School District in Erie, Pennsylvania, Dr. Barber, along with a small group of local teachers and parents, opened a one-classroom school in the local YMCA for children with developmental disabilities. As programs expanded, the City of Erie leased its former communicable disease hospital to the Barber Center in 1958. The first permanent location for the programs, the site has formed what has become the main campus in Erie. Construction began in 1968 for new Administrative offices, a medical suite, cafeteria, and classrooms for middle and high school aged students. In 1969, a facility was opened in Corry, Pennsylvania to provide services for individuals in southern Erie County. The Barber Center’s first group homes were opened in 1973, after the closing of an institution in Venango County, PA. A satellite center was also opened in Girard, PA to accommodate those living in the western portion of Erie County. The Barber Center expanded to other areas of the state by opening group homes and support services in Philadelphia in 1990 and a day support program and residential group homes in the Pittsburgh area in 1999. In 2003, the Barber Center name was changed to what is now the Barber National Institute.

Detailed Organization Information:

The Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute is a nonprofit, multi-faceted organization that provides services to more than 3,500 children, adults, and families who are faced with developmental disabilities, Autism, learning delays, and mental health disorders. This institution’s central facility was founded in 1952 and is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Barber National Institute now employs more than 1,800 staff members throughout the state.






·         In 2008, was named as a Pennsylvania “School of Excellence” by the National Association of Special Education Teachers

·         Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

·         Approved Private School, Pennsylvania Department of Education

·         Member of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys To Quality (Keystone Stars Program)

·         An Autism Center for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism

·         An approved private school, which includes the eleven modern classrooms housed in their Elizabeth Lee Black School

·         Bright Beginning, offering early intervention for infants and toddlers in their homes or child care centers that include physical, occupational, speech, and behavioral therapies

·         Happy Hearts Child Care and Preschool, featuring “inclusive” classrooms for typically-developing children and students with disabilities

·         A preschool program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing

·         A Mental Health Partial Hospitalization Program, which integrates mental health services into a child’s educational program

·         A summer camp for children and teens with Asperger Syndrome and high functioning Autism

·         Employment services including an Employment Opportunities Center, which trains and places adults with disabilities in jobs in the community

·         Adult Day Services – Assists in vocational, recreational and social skills

·         Production Services – Employs adults with disabilities in packaging, assembly, light manufacturing, and mailing services to businesses throughout the region

·         Retirement Center

·         ESO (Expanding Social Opportunities) – Recreational program in conjunction with typical peers at area colleges

·         Adult autism service that provides diagnosis, treatment and medication management

·         Forty-six group homes throughout Erie County, Pennsylvania, as well as 25 homes in the Philadelphia area and six homes in suburban Pittsburgh

·         Supported Living, where individuals reside in their own apartments or homes with staff support

·         Life Sharing through Family Living, a program administered through the PA Department of Public Welfare which enables an adult with a disability to reside with a family provider.

·         Several types of therapies, psychological and behavioral services, for example, its Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Program, family-based mental health services and targeted case management for children with autism and their families.

·         Facilities are located in Erie, Corry, Girard, and Warren, PA; Residential group homes and adult day services are located in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions.

Slogan: Making dreams come true.