When a Dallas family gave birth to twins on Easter Sunday in 1995, their lives changed dramatically after their infant son was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Since that day, they have been busy raising three active children and at the same time researching what could and should be done for children with developmental disabilities. This research covered hundreds of meetings and numerous trips to determine what vital element was missing. They visited with parents, schools, institutions, doctors, hospitals and homes for people with special needs hoping to find something specific that would significantly improve the lives of these special children and their families.
Finally in September of 1997, this family found that special “something” in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama. It was a program named “Rise” which focuses on the needs of toddlers and preschoolers who have developmental disabilities. Under the long-term leadership and influence of Martha Cook, Ed.D., Rise has developed and implemented an effective early childhood special education approach. A unique component of the program is the integration of children having developmental disabilities with typically developing peers, which has resulted in children’s achievements beyond previous expectations.
With enthusiasm and encouragement, this family proceeded to raise the necessary funds to establish The Rise School of Dallas and Houston both which emulate the Rise Program at the University of Alabama. The Rise School of Dallas began operation at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in April 1998 as an IRS 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. In 2016 The Rise School of Dallas joined the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas making its new home in the Moody Family YMCA, and in 2017 received a generous capital campaign donation from Ashford Incorporated becoming, The Ashford Rise School of Dallas.
The Rise School of Dallas is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a prestigious recognition achieved by only 9% of early childhood programs nationwide.