In 1963, before public schools were required to admit children with disabilities, Special Care School was chartered to provide education and training to children with mental retardation. A state-of-the-art twelve classroom school was erected in 1970 in Farmers Branch that was fully accessible to people with disabilities. It received national recognition for its progressive amenities and programs long before legal mandates.
In the late ‘70’s, the agency was instrumental in bringing Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) programs to Texas and was one of the first agencies to be contracted to provide services. At the same time, The organization also pioneered a ground breaking program for its juniors and seniors providing vocational training and placement in good jobs.
After the public school system began accepting children with disabilities in the 1980s, the Board voted to close Special Care School because they believed in and supported full inclusion of people with disabilities in school. The school building was sold to the Carrollton Farmers Branch Independent School District, providing them with a facility to accommodate special needs students. Special Care School became Special Care & Career Center offering two programs: ECI and Supported Employment Services. The result is a continuum of support for babies with developmental delays and disabilities before they enter the school system and again when they become adults upon high school graduation and are ready to enter the workforce.
In 1999, the Board of Trustees changed the name of the agency to Special Care & Career Services, which more closely reflects our method of service delivery, not at a “center,” but within the community where individuals with disabilities live, work, and interact.
In Fall 2009, we added a third program, Child Care ChampionsTM in collaboration with Brookhaven College and Childcare Group to improve the quality of child care across Dallas County by teaching child care workers how to identify and effectively interact with babies and toddlers with both typical and atypical development.
In March 2010, we changed our name to LaunchAbility® to more accurately reflect the work we do. More than a name, it embodies our mission to focus on programs that expand and develop the abilities of our clients, helping them to reach their maximum potential. We are focused on continuing our tradition of innovative and pioneering programs that provide more opportunities for adults and children to be truly independent. Achieving this goal allows us to inspire hope and confidence in our clients and their families.
In April 2011, LaunchAbility merged with ReadyStart. Both agencies are major providers of ECI services in the greater Dallas area, and both agencies share a commitment to the delivery of the highest quality ECI services. The combination of the two entities will give families of current ReadyStart clients access to a broader array of services, enhancing their ability to plan for the future after their children graduate from the public school system and want to find a career path that will help them achieve independence. The merger also allows us to direct a higher percentage of total dollars to direct service and other client benefits which will allow us, ultimately, to become even more efficient and effective in meeting the needs of all of the clients that we collectively serve.
To help children and adults with developmental disabilities achieve their maximum potential and lead fulfilling lives within our community.
Our name is new, but we have served the community for nearly 50 years, enabling clients to become more self-sufficient.
We invite you to join us as we launch into a new era of inspiring hope, confidence, and independence for adults and children with disabilities.