About Us

Our Philosophy

The Developmental Center for Exceptional Children (DCEC) was established in 1974 and is the only preschool that serves children with special needs and disabilities in Pickens, Oconee, and Anderson Counties. We pride ourselves on providing a loving and caring environment where these children can maximize their potential and build on their unique strengths. DCEC, along with our partners and supporters, knows that with the appropriate instruction, encouragement, and opportunity, every child can lead a full and dignified life.

Our Students

Children, aged birth to five years old, receive year-round, full-day care and services. Our child-centered curriculum focuses on each student’s individual strengths and needs. The goal is for our students to have the skills, capacity, and self-esteem to transition to elementary school upon graduation from DCEC. We serve children with varying conditions, including Autism, Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Cerebral Palsy, seizure disorders, neuromuscular conditions, traumatic brain injuries, developmental delays, genetic disorders, medical conditions, dietary restrictions, severe allergies, and physical/visual/hearing impairments.

Our Staff and Facility

Our staff to child ratio is intentionally kept to a minimum so that each child is safe and receives individualized attention. Each member of our team has specialized training and offers appropriate instruction levels in social, language, and preschool skills, as well as fine and gross motor skills. We partner with Tri County Therapy – Upstate, whose team provides on-site occupational, speech, and physical therapy.

Our Community

We believe that children with special needs and disabilities are best served by a broader community of care and we coordinate with parents, guardians, teachers, therapists, and doctors. A valuable team of volunteers and mentors from the local community provide additional enriching care and attention. Ultimately, with the appropriate instruction and a safe and encouraging environment, these exceptional children have exceptional futures.

Mission Statement

To serve Anderson County children with disabilities and special needs or those who are at risk of developing delays in a therapeutic setting designed to meet their individual needs.

Vision Statement

A future where all Anderson, Oconee and Pickens County children with disabilities can thrive.


We value all children regardless of walk of life
We value all children regardless of disability
We value a community where all children with special needs and disabilities can thrive
We value all children regardless of race, color, religious beliefs, or gender