Editorial: Take time to visit new children's institute during open house Tuesday

While Dalton has many points of pride, perhaps most famously being the Carpet Capital -- or should we say Floorcovering Capital -- of the World, there's another area in which we are gaining stature.

That's in health care.

With the opening earlier this month of the Anna Shaw Children's Institute, Dalton moves into a new leadership role as a continued top health care provider in northwest Georgia.

The institute isn't a place to go with a cut finger or a broken leg. The institute provides services to children with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and other developmental disorders. The services are for children through age 11 as well as support services for their families.

It is named and dedicated to longtime Dalton resident Anna Sue Shaw and has been made possible in part by the Anna Sue and Bob Shaw Foundation in affiliation with Hamilton Healthcare Systems.

The institute, a 54,000-square-foot building, sits on a six-acre site at 1201 Burleyson Road just west of the main Hamilton Medical Center campus. The institute opened as scheduled on April 1 and on Tuesday will be open for all of us to tour during a community open house. The open house is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with a sensory friendly session from 4:30 to 5:30.

We'll get a look at the unique design -- inside and out -- that sets this building apart from the usually uninspired and septic feel of many health care facilities.

Its design inspiration? A tree house.

The institute is "designed to be considerate of children's differing abilities to tolerate light, sound and texture ... a unique environment with the overall goal to blend calming color and fun play for children of all abilities," according to Hamilton Healthcare Systems.

Predominate colors of browns, greens and blues are used to reflect the surrounding north Georgia mountains and give the design the look and feel of our local forests.

We encourage you to drop by and tour this new facility that we predict will not only bring prestige to our area, but will help so many in the region grow into better-adjusted adults.

It is our hope that this institute will become not just a regional center but a national one for the treatment of autism and other developmental disorders.

An open house for the Anna Shaw Children's Institute is Tuesday with a sensory friendly session from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., and a community open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The institute is at 1201 Burleyson Road, west of Hamilton Medical Center.

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