, long before public schools were required to admit students with disabilities, Special Care School was given a charter to provide education and training to children with “mental retardation.”
Seven years later a state-of-the-art twelve-classroom school was erected in Farmers Branch that was fully accessible to young students with disabilities. It received national recognition for its progressive amenities and programs. Again, long before legal mandates.
The late ‘70’s
saw the agency on the forefront once again, this time by being one of the first to be contracted to bring Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) programs to Texas. Simultaneously, a groundbreaking program was being pioneered for high school graduates, which provided vocational training and real job placement. After public schools finally began accepting children with disabilities in the 1980s, the Board voted to close Special Care School believing that full inclusion of children with disabilities had been achieved. Carrollton Farmers Branch ISD purchased the school building, which provided them with a facility to accommodate their special needs students.
Special Care School became Special Care & Career Center offering two programs: ECI and Supported Employment Services. The result was a book-end of support for babies with developmental delays and disabilities prior to them entering the school system and picking up again upon high school graduation when they are ready to enter the workforce.
In Fall 2009
, the agency received a grant to fund a new program—Child Care Champions™ —which taught child care workers how to identify and effectively influence critical developmental milestones in babies and toddlers with both typical and atypical development.
In March 2010
, the board voted to change the name to LaunchAbility® to focus more on each client’s ability rather than the disability helping them reach their maximum potential.
In April 2011
, LaunchAbility® merged with ReadyStart to become one of the fourth largest providers of ECI services.
Now, LaunchAbility® concentrates on Disability Hiring and strategic talent management. Proudly, we are still one of the only programs in North Texas that focus on inclusive employment in the workforce for all adults including specialized expertise with cognitive disabilities including Autism.
, increasing costs to administer health care programs, reduced state funding, restrictive state mandates, and the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act, forced LaunchAbility to exit from the ECI system. Our ECI families continue to be served by several broader agencies focused on children that are better able to capture economies of scale necessary to operate in the new healthcare environment.