Haring Center


The Haring Center began as the Pilot School in 1964. The Pilot School, staffed by University of Washington faculty, focused its work on education, rehabilitation, and family advocacy for children with neurological injuries. From 1966 through 2009, the Haring Center was known by the name of the center’s school, the Experimental Education Unit (EEU).

The center’s first director was Dr. Norris Haring, a pioneer in the field of special education. From its founding, Center researchers, teachers, and staff were committed to using effective teaching practices and researching their use to teach new skills in practical settings. Many instructional and behavioral strategies widely used in the field of special education today, including those based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, were first implemented and studied at the Haring Center.

Throughout its history, Haring Center researchers have conducted critical work in teaching practices for children with developmental disabilities that have shaped the fields of special education and inclusive education as we know them today. Groundbreaking studies and publications include:

For over 50 years, we’ve blazed trails in special education and early learning that have improved the lives of countless children and families. We will continue this legacy of innovation by developing educational approaches that improve achievement for all children. In alignment with the University of Washington’s commitment to sharing discoveries that will change the world, will share what we learn by training generations of education professionals close to home and across the globe.


      • 2019: Dr. Ilene Schwartz and UW colleagues Drs. Susan Sandall, Gail Joseph, and Ariane Gauvreau publish the highly-anticipated 3rd Edition of the best-selling text Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs.
      • 2017: Dr. Ilene Schwartz and colleagues published The DATA Model for Teaching Preschoolers with Autism
      • 2016: The Haring Center celebrated its 50-year anniversary
      • 2012: The EEU Family Support Program, a model based on Haring Center research, launched to provide critical resources and support
      • 2010: The National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL) began through a $40 million grant from the Office of Head Start
      • 2009: The EEU program expanded and became the Haring Center for Inclusive Education, named for Dr. and Mrs. Norris and Dorothy Haring
      • 2002: Dr. Susan Sandall and Dr. Ilene Schwartz published Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs
      • 2001: Project DATA model expanded to include curriculum and strategies for infants and toddlers with autism
      • 1997: Project DATA began as a preschool model demonstration grant from the Office of Special Education Programs
      • 1990: Don Meyer began the Sibling Support Program, a group to share experiences, challenges, and rewards that can come along with being the sibling of a child with a disability
      • 1986: Greg Schell began the Father’s Network in recognition of the critical role fathers play in their childrens’ development
      • 1980’s: Graduates of the first Down Syndrome Program cohort began middle school at Meany Middle School, and became the first students with Down syndrome to ever participate in an inclusive program through Seattle Public Schools
      • 1975: Down Syndrome Program earned recognition as an exemplary program that was worthy of nationwide replication
      • 1971: Dr. Valentine Dmitriev began the Down Syndrome Program
      • 1965: Dr. Norris Haring became the EEU’s first director
      • 1965: Pilot School became affiliated with the UW’s Center on Human Development and Disability, changed its name to Experimental Education Unit
      • 1964: The Pilot School began as a program for children with neurological injuries