Disability Services of the Southwest (DSSW) was organized in 1991 by a group of individuals who recognized that many of
the needs of those with disabilities were not being met by the current state programs. Founder Brenda Seawell, a physical therapist,
along with advocacy groups and members of the legislature authored the Community Living and Support Services program, known as CLASS.
DSSW, as one of the first participating organizations, experienced both the joys and stresses of building a statewide company
to meet the needs of those who qualified for the new waiver program.
But success brought its own challenges and in 2004 there was recognition that DSSW’s growth had strained the organization.
A new team of leaders on both the Board of Directors and the executive staff made their priority the modernization of management
systems, better communication with clients and their families and investment in modern information systems: All with the goal of
maintaining the growth and capabilities of the corporation. Fortunately, success came quickly as each reform was implemented.
Today the DSSW family is made up of the following:
Since 1991, DSSW has expanded to ten locations across the state. Along with the CLASS Program, these sites participate
in other Medicaid waiver programs. We serve a population that ranges from the very young to the very old.
DSSW acquired LifeSpan in 2005. LifeSpan is a Medicare certified home health care agency with its headquarters in San Antonio.
They serve not only the senior population, but pediatric and adult as well. In 2009, we opened LifeSpan branch offices in all
of our current DSSW locations. This allows us to offer a more diverse portfolio of services to clients in need across the state.
CDS in Texas
In 2004, DSSW’s consumer directed services (CDS) department represented a minor portion of our business. Because
the State of Texas wanted this option for CLASS clients as well as other state programs, a commitment was made to elevate
the importance of CDS in the overall DSSW corporate planning. From 130 clients in 2004, we grew to be one of the largest
state-wide providers. In 2008, CDS in Texas was formed solely to provide dedicated support for these programs.