HISTORY OF Lonoke Exceptional Development Center

The Lonoke Exceptional School, Inc. began on September 5, 1972 as Lonoke County Exceptional School.  The beginning of the program originated from the concern of local community members who recognized a need for a program to serve children who were not served in the public school system and were not able to obtain the educational opportunities that they legally deserved.  As the service area grew outside Lonoke County to include other counties the County was dropped from the name.

The school began with two classrooms in Carlisle serving 25 clients.  Soon, it was obvious that there were many more children who needed this service.  In September 1974, two additional classes were added in Cabot and England.  In 1975, preschool and adult components were added to the school-age program.  In 1977, the early intervention program which serves children from birth through age 3 was added to the existing programs.  In 1978, the program was consolidated into one program in Lonoke at the "old skating rink".   Between the years of 1979-1982, the local school districts began to mainstream special education students into the public school system.  The school-age program was phased out and the program began serving preschool children and adults only.

In October, 1991, a new building was constructed at the current location at 518 NE Front Street.  The 11,600 square foot building was quickly filled with 48 preschool children and 51 adults.  In 1996, an additional building was added to accommodate growth of both the preschool and adult programs.  In February, 2001, Lonoke Exceptional School, Inc. expanded to a newly renovated building located in a convenient and quiet area of Cabot, AR. 

Lonoke Exceptional School is a non-profit organization licensed by Arkansas Developmental Disability Services.  The program is governed by a volunteer local board of directors with 12 members.  Direct supervision of program operation is provided by the Executive Director, Janie Sexton.   Lonoke Exceptional School is designed for service.  The programs offered are designed to provide skills and opportunities for individuals that have developmental disabilities that will enable them to increase their ability to make choices that will lead to a useful, purposeful, and self-sufficient life.  Our goal is to continually provide the best and most current services to each and every client regardless of their disability or their needs.

We currently serve 4 counties (Lonoke, Prairie, Pulaski, and White) in 2 locations.

Our Lonoke location serves 70 preschoolers and 75 adults.  Trained staff provides services for both age groups.  Supervision for the preschool consists of teachers certified in Early Childhood Special Education.  Occupational, speech, and physical therapy are provided to both the adult and preschool clients as recommended by licensed therapists.  Transportation to and from the center is provided by 11 buses and vans.  Hot meals are served in our fully staffed cafeteria.  Nursing services are available by a Licensed Practical Nurse.  Our adult clients enjoy work opportunities provided by MKT, Arkansas Graphics, and many other local businesses.  As part of their work activity program, our adult unit also operates a greenhouse which is open to the public year round.

Our Cabot location now has the capacity to serve 84 children.  We have a new 15,000 square foot building that has just opened in Cabot.  The supervision and services including therapy offered are the same as the Lonoke location.  Four vans and 1 bus are used to transport clients to and from the center daily.  Nursing services are provided by a Licensed Practical Nurse, and hot meals are prepared each day.  Our former Cabot preschool building has been remodeled and can serve 30 adults with developmental disabilities that live in the Cabot area.  The adult program is modeled after our adult program in Lonoke.

We operate our Outreach program through the Cabot center.  The outreach program offers services to children and their parents in the home or in typical daycares.  The Outreach Department offers in-home evaluations, occupational, physical, and speech therapies, as well as developmental therapy.  We are excited to be able to offer the option of center-based or home-based services.

Our newest service option is Medicaid Waiver.  This service is to provide an alternative to institutionalization placement so that individuals with developmental disabilities can live in the community as independently as possible.  Through this program, case management, waiver coordination, integrated supports (supportive living, day habilitation, and alternative living), adaptive equipment, and consultation are available.  These services are provided in the home.  

As of January 31, 2009, we have added a dba to our name so that we do not get confused as being part of the public school system.  Our designation as a developmental treatment center is more appropriate to the services that we offer.  Our Lonoke location dba is Lonoke Exceptional Development Center and our Cabot location dba is Lonoke Exceptional Development Center-Cabot. If you would like additional information about the Lonoke Exceptional School, Inc. programs, please contact either location at the numbers above.  We invite you to visit our centers for a tour at any time.