Prior to 1960, individuals with intellectual disabilities had very limited options. They either lived with their families or in state-run institutions. There was very limited access to schools or other activities that would allow them to live as included members of their home community. This situation was reflected in communities all across South Carolina. In 1960, a group of dedicated Rock Hill citizens created a sheltered workshop to start providing work and socialization opportunities for their family members and other folks who may be interested in participating. The program grew quickly as interest about services for people with special needs grew in this area.
In 1962, the York County ARC was formed. The ARC provided services, and even more importantly, community education about the needs of this special group of citizens. As a result of changing mindsets and greater education, more people became involved in these efforts. Other programs started to enter our community:
Betty Smith Kindergarten
The York County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs was created June 24, 1980, through a 1978 state statute, to provide services to individuals with intellectual disabilities in York County. York County Council then passed a county ordinance naming the York Board of Disabilities and Special Needs the agency to meet the state statute for the county. These services are contracted through the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (SCDDSN).
In 1993, the scope of our services was expanded to include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and autism. From 1980 until now, the Agency has developed a wide array of community services for eligible individuals. There are services that span from birth through retirement. In the years since its creation, the YCBDSN has assisted numerous individuals in accessing needed services and developing fuller, richer lives in their home community.
In 2016, The Board decided to rebrand its name to put the agency’s mission front and center: MaxAbilities combines the two keywords in the agency’s mission statement: Maximize Abilities. In 2017, the Board made the decision to formalize the brand name as the new name of the agency. The county was petitioned and the ordinance was amended making MaxAbilities of York County the formal agency name. Now our mission statement and our name are one and the same.