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THE LIFESTYLE MANUAL FOR THE MODERN MOM

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meet the

EMPIRE CHEERLEADING SPECIAL NEEDS TEAM!

AVA CHIPMAN HAS SPIRIT!

Autism Awareness Month

RAISING TWO SONS ON THE SPECTRUM & AUTISM INTO ADULTHOOD

EASY EASTER CRAFTS FAMILY-STYLE FARMERS MARKET SALAD


why should I get a checkup every year? because I’d rather get to know my doctor while I’m healthy it makes my parents happy I was taught an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure it’s covered by my insurance I want to stay healthy enough to travel the world because together we’re healthier

Even if you’re perfectly healthy, it’s smart to get an annual wellness checkup. Not only will it keep you up-to-date with immunizations and tests, you’ll have a doctor who knows you in case of an illness. Let us help you find a doctor today. Learn more at chistvincent.com

Primary Care | Specialty Clinics | Urgent Care | Hospitals | Home Health | Rehabilitation | Surgery Centers


FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1959! There are many brands of beef, but only one Angus brand exceeds expectations. The Certified Angus Beef brand is a cut above USDA Prime, Choice and Select. Ten quality standards set the brand apart. It's abundantly flavorful, incredibly tender, naturally juicy. 10320 STAGE COACH RD 501-455-3475

7507 CANTRELL RD 501-614-3477

7525 BASELINE RD 501-562-6629

www.edwardsfoodgiant.com

2203 NORTH REYNOLDS RD, BRYANT 501-847-9777


APRIL 2017 MODERN MOM 14 MAMA SAID PARENTS NEED TIME-OUTS, TOO

16 MIND, BODY & SOUL WINE WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY ...

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SAVVY FAMILY 18 SAVVY STYLE GRAPHIC CONTENT

20 FAMILY-STYLE FARMERS MARKET SALAD CREATE A HEALTHY, COLORFUL MEAL AT THE FARMERS MARKET

25 FINDING ADEN'S VOICE A MOTHER RAISES TWO SONS ON THE SPECTRUM

28 AUTISM INTO ADULTHOOD EDUCATION AND CAREER OPTIONS

32 AUTISM RESOURCE GUIDE LOCAL RESOURCES TO HELP NAVIGATE THE SPECTRUM

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34 SQUAD GOALS A BRYANT CHEER COACH INCLUDES SPECIAL NEEDS

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 EDITOR’S NOTE 10 NEWS & NOTES CALENDAR, CRAFTS & MORE!

40 BAG CHECK CORRI BRISTOW-SUNDELL

ON THE COVER: (FROM LEFT) EMPIRE ATHLETES AVA CHIPMAN, ANNA SPARKS, INDIA STEWART AND GABRIEL WATTS. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW MARTIN.

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Wherever the need is, we’re already there.

Wherever the need is, we’re already there.

person on the Autism Spectrum or intellectual disability.

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your son or daughter.

ARE THE

ARE THECheck our website for details on Mudbug Madness (April 23rd)

www.fccare.org

www.fccare.org

and Destination: Camp R.E.E.L. for families of children with Autism.

on Mudbug Madness (April 23rd) R E G ICheck O N Aour L website O F F I for C Edetails S

and Destination: Camp R.E.E.L. for families of children with Autism.

RIVER VALLEY

EAST ARKANSAS

NORTH WEST ARKANSAS

NORTH ARKANSAS

CENTRAL ARKANSAS

(479) 967-2322 ext. 352

(870) 680-2483

(479) 304-8331

(870) 504-1475

(501) 690-7351

REGIONAL OFFICES


THERE’S SO MUCH GOING ON IN APRIL. All the flowers and trees are full-steam-ahead producing blooms, which means the farmers markets are ready to open for the season! Central Arkansas is lucky to have accessibility to so many great farmers’ fresh produce, flowers and meat. You could walk down any market stand and create a fresh, healthy, colorful dinner for your family. In our April Good Eats, Kerry Guice does just that by creating an enormous familystyle salad comprised of a medley of farm-fresh ingredients that won’t leave you hungry. If you’re tired of the same old Easter ham (and all the work that goes into it!), this dish would be a great alternative for Easter lunch! Kerry gets cooking on page 20. Kids love the magic of Easter. It’s a time for celebration, family, candy, games and crafts. You’re never too old to help with an Easter egg hunt, and most of the fun comes in creating your own, unique eggs and crafts. Try something new this year and help your kids build their own bunnies out of yarn. If they love plush toys, they’ll love making their own furry cottontails to celebrate the holiday. Find the instructions and bunnies created by my stepdaughter, Lilla, and myself (hers, named “Cocoa,” was much better!) on page 12. April is also Autism Awareness Month, and Central Arkansas has so many resources to help families on their journeys with autism spectrum disorder. We met a local mom raising two sons on the spectrum. Her youngest, Aden, stopped talking and interacting at 18 months. She found a solid treatment plan at Allied Therapy to help get their family back on track and Aden moving forward. Read her inspiring story on page 25. Our cups were filled with inspiration at Empire Cheerleading in Bryant, where members of the organization’s special needs squad posed for our cover shoot. These athletes of ranging abilities find encouragement, motivation and a way to put a little pep in their steps as members of the Inspire squad. Meet their coach, Brooke Plack, who started the program and cheers them on beginning on page 34. We hope you’ll find something within these pages to make your April more fantastic. From crafts to food to inspiration—we’ve got a little bit of everything.

Amy Gordy Editor, Savvy @SavvyAR

Make your own Easter bunny!

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Join Us For Our Annual

EASTER EGG HUNT AND SKATE! EASTER EGG HUNT Saturday, April 15th 10am-12:30pm

The Hunt starts at 10:15am. After all the eggs are found, we start skating.

Ages 8 and under $5 Parents $2

Scooters, Skates, Big Wheels, Tricycles, Strollers, Etc. Welcome!

EASTER SKATE

Sunday, April 16th 2-5pm • All Ages Participants may wear any sort of bunny attire and receive FREE skate rental!

ARKANSAS SKATIUM

1311 Bowman Rd. • Little Rock, AR • 501.227.4333 • www.arkansasskatium.com

ICE SKATING AND ROLLER SKATING

Beautiful Smiles, Happy Children... That is Our Goal. Services include: •ORTHODONTICS •CONSCIOUS SEDATION •HOSPITAL DENTISTRY

501.868.3331

14114 Taylor Loop Rd., Little Rock kitchenspediatricdentistry.com

Pediatric Dentistry THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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Bring in this Magazine and Receive 30% off of your blowout and 1 product!

BLOW DRY | EXTENSIONS & TREATMENTS | PACKAGES | PARTIES

17819 CHENAL PARKWAY (CHENAL PROMENADE) LITTLE ROCK • 501-817-3969

MON-SAT: 10AM-9PM • SUNDAY: 12PM-6PM BELLECHEVEUXLOUNGE.COM

PUBLISHER BLAKE HANNAHS | blake@arktimes.com EDITOR AMY GORDY | amy@arktimes.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR MANDY KEENER | mandy@arktimes.com ART DIRECTOR KATIE HASSELL | katie@arktimes.com

501-315-4414

EDITOR AT LARGE REBEKAH LAWRENCE | rebekah@arktimes.com SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE LESA THOMAS | lesa@arktimes.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE SHERRIE BUTNER | sherrie@arktimes.com ADVERTISING TRAFFIC MANAGER ROLAND R. GLADDEN | roland@arktimes.com

Visit our website for information on services, upcoming events, and access to our resources! Kidsourcetherapy.com Services We Provide: •First Connections Early Intervention •Therapy Evaluations •Speech/Language Therapy •Occupational Therapy •Physical Therapy

Supportive Programs: •Sensory Integration •Feeding & Swallowing •Hippotherapy •Aquatics •Special Olympics

Benton • Little Rock • North Little Rock • Arkadelphia • Malvern

ADVERTISING COORDINATOR JIM HUNNICUTT | jimhunnicutt@arktimes.com GRAPHIC DESIGNERS BRYAN MOATS | MIKE SPAIN PRODUCTION MANAGER | CONTROLLER WELDON WILSON IT DIRECTOR ROBERT CURFMAN ACCOUNTS PAYABLE/OFFICE MANAGER KELLY JONES BILLING/COLLECTIONS LINDA PHILLIPS CIRCULATION DIRECTOR ANITRA HICKMAN

ARKANSAS TIMES PUBLISHING

April 29, 2017 8:30 a.m. North Shore Riverwalk Park North Little Rock CentralArkansasHeartWalk.org

ALL MATERIALS ARE HANDLED WITH DUE CARE; HOWEVER, THE PUBLISHER ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR CARE AND SAFE RETURN OF UNSOLICITED MATERIALS. ALL LETTERS AND PHOTOS SENT TO SAVVY™ WILL BE TREATED AS INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION AND ARE SUBJECT TO SAVVY’S™ UNRESTRICTED RIGHT TO EDIT OR TO COMMENT EDITORIALLY. 201 E. MARKHAM ST., SUITE 200, LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985. ALL CONTENTS ©2017 SAVVY™

#ARHeartWalk

@SAVVY_AR 8

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contributors

KERRY GUICE is a food blogger and photographer living in Little Rock with her husband, two kids and their dog. When she’s not sharing her latest meal on Instagram, Kerry is planning her family’s next Arkansas adventure or crafting with her creative tots.

At UP Therapy your dreams are our priority • Attending birthday parties • Family dinner around the table • Singing nursery rhymes • Saying the ABCs • Attending worship services • Play-dates with friends

Call us today to learn more about our unique 1 on 1 ABA program for children with autism. We can help turn your dreams into reality.

Full day ABA program • OT, PT, SLP

501.313.5973 · 2312 Durwood Rd. · Little Rock · www.uptherapyar.com

KD REEP is a writer and public relations practitioner in Little Rock. She owns Flywrite Communications, Inc., a public relations agency, and is the PR director for Mass Enthusiasm, a full-service marketing communications firm in Little Rock.

DWAIN HEBDA is a writer and editor living in Little Rock. He and his wife, Darlene, are the parents of four grown children. The emptynesters spend their time traveling, working out and spoiling their two dogs.

LILY DARRAGH is a photographer in Little Rock. She studied photography at Parsons the New School of Design in New York. Currently working out of a photography studio in downtown Little Rock, Lily loves to shoot people and places unique to Arkansas.

1/2 OFF

ALL SMOOTHIES & TEA’S

WITH THIS COUPON

Ask about our FREE wellness evaluations MATTHEW MARTIN is a photographer based in Little Rock. When he’s not behind the camera or on a film set, Matthew spends his time traveling, enjoying the Little Rock music scene and spending time with his dog, Deltron.

13000 Chenal Parkway STE 108 Little Rock , AR 72211 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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news & notes

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Take ’em out to the ballgame! Don’t miss the Arkansas Travelers’ opening day at Dickey-Stephens Park. They play the Corpus Christi Hooks, and gates open at 6:10 p.m. The first 1,500 fans get a free magnet schedule, and kids 4 and under always get in free. travs.com.

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April

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10National

Siblings Day

Get egg-cited for the 26th annual Eggshibition at UALR’s Jack Stephens Center! This fundraiser features a live and silent auction, original hand-blown glass by James Hayes, live music by Rodney Block, delicious food and libations. Proceeds support Youth Home’s mission to strengthen our community by serving those affected by mental illness. youthhome.org.

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Hit the pavement at Downtown Dash, a Junior League of Little Rock fundraiser that offers 10K, 5K and a kids’ 1K race through downtown Little Rock. Stay after the race for family-friendly activities and a post-race party with food and music. During the awards ceremony, the top three fastest men, women and children will be recognized. New this year: Finisher medals will be awarded to all participants in the 5K and 10K races. jllrdowntowndash.racesonline.com. 7

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Celebrate Earth Day!

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May 14 Everyone longs for freedom, especially Rapunzel after she’s locked away in a tower by a witch posing as her mother. Enjoy this heartwarming musical at the Arkansas Arts Center’s Children’s Theatre, as Rapunzel with the magic tresses discovers the song that will teach her to fly. arkansasartscenter.org.

10 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

28-29 Explore Jewish and Israeli cultures at the Jewish Food and Cultural Festival at War Memorial Stadium. Sample traditional Jewish foods, shop vendors’ booths with jewelry and other gifts, and enjoy traditional Jewish music and kids’ activities. Admission is free. jewisharkansas.org.

Get ready for a smashing good time at Verizon Arena with Monster Jam. This action-packed event showcases drivers competing on the biggest sets of four wheels around. Enjoy monster truck racing and freestyle competitions at this family-friendly event. Recognizable trucks include Grave Digger, Max-D, El Toro Loco, Monster Mutt and more. verizonarena.com.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF VENDORS

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10/18/16

12:10 PM

Arkansas Lit Fest for Kids! Book-lovers don’t miss the Arkansas Literary Festival April 27-30 in downtown Little Rock with author talks, readings, panels, workshops and more. Hosted by the Central Arkansas Library System, the weekend includes tons of kids’ activities:

Thursday April 27

“History Is All You Left Me, You Little Secretkeeper, But Then I Came Back” This fiction event is a mash-up of magical realism, antique watches and the beauty of young love. It features Trenton Lee Stewart, author of “The Secret Keepers”; Estelle Laure, author of “But Then I Came Back”; and Adam Silvera, author of “History Is All You Left Me.” Main Library Level 4, 6:30 p.m. C

Friday April 28

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The Mayor’s Day of Science & Reading Vancouver physicist Dominic Walliman, known for his eye-popping “Professor Astro Cat” series, and Floyd Cooper, author of “Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History” and “The Ring Bearer,” will put on a science-filled good time. The Museum of Discovery’s Kevin Delaney will make a guest appearance.  Clinton Presidential Center and the Museum of Discovery, 9:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. CM

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Saturday April 29

Robin Barone Author Robin Barone uses travel, adventure and vibrant art to teach children about the world in her book, ”Where Is Robin?” Meet the artist and stick around after for a scavenger hunt. Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center, 2 p.m. Little Readers Rock Children will experience all the places that reading can take them at this event sponsored by the Junior League of Little Rock. Activities will include storytelling, a chance to build their own dragon, and photographs with The Cat in the Hat. Children will also choose books to take home. Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Log on to arkansasliteraryfestival.org for the full lineup.

Build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter

People in Central Arkansas, and all over the world, partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With our help, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families. Foundation - Core Values

• Decent shelter is something we all need to thrive • Strong and stable homes help build strong and stable communities • With a little help, we all have the potential to stand on our own • Bold actions speak louder than words • Working together, side by side, promotes understanding and self-reliance

Your Donations Help Build Homes for Hardworking People in Central Arkansas. Donate and We’ll pick it up!

Building materials, working household appliances, furniture, fixtures, home decor, clothing and books.

habitatcentralar.org/ReStore

501.771.9494

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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EASY EASTER BUNNY

Want the snuggly softness of a bunny rabbit without the mess of a new pet? Create an easy pom-pom bunny just in time for Easter! Kids will love creating their own personal pets, and you’ll love skipping the trip to the pet store.

YOU’LL NEED:

•• Thick, soft yarn •• Pom-pom makers in large and small sizes •• Invisible thread •• Sharp scissors •• Fabric glue •• Black pony beads •• Pink pony beads •• Pink felt •• Gray or brown felt •• White pom-poms

HAVE AN Eggceptionally Eggcellent

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INVITATIONS • DECORATIONS • PARTY FAVORS • BALLOONS • PIÑATAS • CAKE SUPPLIES

12 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


HOW TO: 1. Wrap yarn around large and small pom-pom makers. Wrap it as thick as you can so your bunny will have dense fur. Once the yarn is wrapped, slide it off the pom-pom maker, tie a piece of yarn around the middle of it, and snip the loops all around. Use very sharp scissors to form the pom-poms into round shapes. Tie the large and small pom-poms together to create the body and head of your bunny. 2. Cut ear shapes from felt that matches the color of the pom-poms. Cut smaller ear shapes from the pink felt and glue the pink shapes inside the gray or brown ear shapes. Using fabric glue, attach ears to the bunny’s head. 3. Glue black pony beads as eyes on the bunny’s head. 4. Wrap invisible thread around a 5-inch pom-pom maker or piece of cardboard. Slide it off the form and tie it in a knot in the middle. Slide the knotted thread through a pink bead, and put a dab of glue inside to secure it. Snip both ends of the thread loops to create whiskers. Glue nose to bunny’s face. 5. Turn the bunny around and glue a white pom-pom to create a cottontail.

COTTONTAIL

11218 N. RODNEY PARHAM RD. / LITTLE ROCK

Easter!

501.223.4929

4822 N. HILLS BLVD. / NORTH LITTLE ROCK

501.978.3154

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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mama said...

PARENTS NEED TIME-OUTS, TOO

M

y friends have a baby that’s not yet 1, their third. They’re trying new sleeping arrangements out of sheer necessity. Remember those days? Walking around in a stupor, certain it’s the other parent’s turn to get up with the baby—and the gut-wrenching despair when it isn’t. Actually, it’s probably more likely you don’t remember that time. The groggy, zombie-like state of being that accompanies the first year or two of parenthood both drags on for an eternity and passes in a flash. Our third child was a surprise, you know. I’ve tried to revisit the days not that long ago to remember how we made it through the hard times, but I can’t seem to recall any details. It’s like childbirth; the human spirit has an amazing ability to gloss over the bad stuff. Something that at the moment is so unbearable can later be looked back on with fondness. It wasn’t that bad! Oh yeah, I’d go through that again. Totally worth it! This ability to glaze over trauma is obviously a part of some grand design to ensure the survival of our species. I mean, can it be explained otherwise? Pain! Ah! Kill me now! One month later: Sweet Baby needs a brother or sister. Yes he does. Oh, yes he does. Those early days are so jarring to first-time moms, so exhausting. We have no idea what we’re doing, or what to expect. New moms worry about milk supply and milestones, bonding and scheduling and college. We worry the baby will stop breathing in the middle of the night, for goodness sake. That worry wears on a person, and combined with the lack of sleep and whackedout hormones… well, mommin’ ain’t easy. It’s true what they say about hindsight. I can see so clearly now what I should have done differently as a first-time mother. I was overprotective and nearly reclusive, which left me feeling isolated and blue. I wish someone had told me that needing a break didn’t make me a bad mother. I wish someone had peeled the baby from my breast and said, “Go cruise Target or something; you’re losing it.” Now, whether I would have listened or not is another thing entirely. Somehow I got the idea in my sleep-addled brain that

because women had been rearing children since the beginning of time, I had to show my solidarity by powering through it, too. I know what you’re thinking. Certainly, looking back, I see it, too: a) that’s just dumb, and b) few did it alone. My husband is a wonderful father and partner, don’t get me wrong. But he didn’t have a clue what he was doing, either. Whether it’s dad or grandma or a well-meaning neighbor, my advice to new moms is this: Don’t feel guilty about taking advantage of offers to watch the baby for an hour or two. Have a nice dinner and remember what it’s like to wear pants. Healthy parents make for healthy children. It’s like preventive medicine—if you don’t take care of yourself, sooner or later you’ll end up in the emergency room, and nobody wants that. Our youngest is 3 now, so we’re well past the infant stage. Too much screen time, arguments amongst siblings, and jockeying for attention are the issues of the day. Sometimes, when they all come at me at once, I want to run screaming from my own house. And you know what? I do. Running and working out have become a welcome respite. Here in Central Arkansas, there are so many lovely public places to take a breather. I love the feel of crossing Two Rivers Park Bridge into the towering stand of pine trees. It’s like tiny bits of worry and pressure are scrubbed away as I make my way through them. Hiking Pinnacle Mountain is a treat, too, and reaching the top feels like I’ve conquered at least one small part of the world. Across the Arkansas River in North Little Rock, many people think the best scenic bluffs and river views can be found at 135-acre Emerald Park. But even if it’s walking out the door and circling the block, a little break always helps. Now that spring is here, getting out for air and exercise can help us return refreshed and refocused and way less rampageous. With a little experience behind me, I can say it now: Needing a break doesn’t make me a bad parent. In fact, I’d argue the opposite is true. A good parent knows the warning signs, they recognize a short fuse—and they know when to give themselves a time-out.

MOMS TAKING A MUCH-NEEDED TIME-OUT.

Jen Holman is determined to be a voice of reason in the cacophony of reality TV and mom-judgment-gone-wild. She is often irreverent and frequently imperfect. But she’s happy, by God, and that’s what matters. She lives in Little Rock with her husband and three (im) perfect children.

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PARKOLOGY

The study of Geology, Botany, Archeology, History, Agriculture and more, by simply having FUN with one of our interpreters at an Arkansas State Park. Come see us.

Woolly Hollow State Park #ARStateParks

Expert Psychological Evaluations For a free consultation or to schedule an evaluation call 501-444-2688. 425 W. Capitol Ave, #235 Little Rock, AR 72201 Benjamin.Silber@psychological-evaluations.com Tel: 501-444-2688 | Fax: 501-374-2296

Dr. Brittani Baldwin

Dr. Christen Holder

ArkansasStateParks.com My park, your park, our parks

We are a specialized neuropsychological private practice which focuses on the evaluation of autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, intellectual disability, specific learning disorders, head injuries, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. We offer flexible scheduling and rapid turnaround time for reports. Our evaluations are comprehensive and tailored. Our reports are reader-friendly and may assist the client in receiving disability services, testing accommodations in school, or special learning program placement. Our reports offer recommendations for maximizing school performance, adaptive behavior, and other areas of functioning.

www.psychological-evaluations.com THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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mind, body & soul

WINE WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY...

When stress piles on, we sometimes find ourselves reaching for a glass of wine or a craft brew to unwind. Social drinking is mostly considered harmless, but there’s a fine line we walk when ‘Wine Wednesday’ starts showing up most days of the week.

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BY KD REEP

ou’re a mom, and probably work full-time and volunteer what free time you have to the community. You deserve some time to unwind, and a drink or two with friends or co-workers helps. It’s when those few nights out become every night, and the drink or two becomes an entire bottle, and even that is not enough to quiet the storm in your head, heart and soul. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However, people can and do recover; in fact, it is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery. “Alcoholism is not something you ‘catch’ from drinking too much,” said a former patient of The BridgeWay in Central Arkansas. “Alcoholism is a disease, and it’s commonly hereditary. You either have it in your genes or you don’t. If alcoholism is in your family just be aware of that and cautious of your drinking. But, just because it’s in your family is not a guarantee any family members will have it.”

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“THE DECISION TO SEEK HELP FOR DRINKING IS A VERY PERSONAL ONE BASED ON A STRUGGLE TO CONTROL OR QUIT ON YOUR OWN.” According to Dr. George Konis, a certified addictionologist and medical director of substance abuse of The BridgeWay, the suspected risks for alcoholism include genetics, underage drinking, traumatic life events, depression or bipolar disorder, a history of physical or sexual abuse and, if married, problems within that relationship. “Social or low-risk drinking for women is one drink per day per week, and no more than three drinks on any given day,” Dr. Konis said. “Anything more than this is high-risk drinking.” He explains that if you spend a lot of time thinking about drinking and drinking more than you intended, you could be in danger of becoming an alcoholic. “Signs you should look for if you think you or someone you love is becoming an alcoholic also include trying to quit drinking on your own but can’t, drinking to achieve a sense of peace or other desired affect you want, continuing to drink even though it makes you depressed or complicates a health problem, or cutting back on something you loved to do so you can drink,” he said. The former patient of The BridgeWay, who is a 45-year-old, college-educated woman from a middle-class family, explains that for an alcoholic, one drink is too many, and 100 are never enough. “It’s a craving that will never be satisfied, but chased as long as the alcoholic continues to drink,” she said. “Women alcoholics seem to go downhill faster than men mentally and physically, and alcohol seems to take a toll on the female physical appearance faster than a man. The functioning alcoholic is one who continues to hold a job, go to work hungover or not. The female who attends functions, family gatherings, parties and carries on conversations and doesn’t seem out of control.” If any of this sounds familiar, there is help available. The BridgeWay is a mental health facility and private psychiatric hospital that treats people with mental health and substance abuse disorder, adults with serious mental illness, people with post-traumatic stress disorder and veterans. “The decision to seek help for drinking is a very personal one based on a struggle to control or quit on your own,” said the former patient at The BridgeWay. “It felt like I was missing something in life—a hole in my soul, if you will. In reality there was nothing wrong or missing from my life. If you are honest with a professional about your drinking, they can help you determine if you are an alcoholic. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Most people know deep down in their gut if they have a problem with alcohol or not. It’s the wanting to admit it and do something about it that is the hard part.” For more information on The BridgeWay, call 1-800-245-0011 or log on to thebridgeway.com.

WARNING SIGNS OF ALCOHOLISM Wolfe Street Foundation is Arkansas’s largest nonprofit resource dedicated to recovery from alcoholism and addiction, which offers education and outreach services to the community. Dr. Caroline M. Ford, executive director of Wolfe Street Foundation, provided these ways to identify if you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol.

• Consistently uses alcohol to “relax” or to “cheer up,” to “get to sleep” or to deal with problems.

• Experiences blackouts when drinking. Problem drinkers believe everyone experiences blackouts, although normal drinkers do not typically.

• Has a habit of drinking alcohol in secret. Uses non-suspicious glasses or mixes with other drinks to mask the smell.

• Lies about the quantity, frequency or time of day they drink.

• Drinks alcohol by themselves, or in the morning to feel better from drinking the night before.

• Flushed skin and broken capillaries on the face, or a husky voice and trembling hands, especially on mornings after drinking.

• An inability to control drinking—swearing it off one day but eventually returning to the cycle.

• Neglects normal activities, or is unable over time to keep commitments or finish tasks.

• A family history of drinking, which makes one predisposed to develop a problem with alcohol. • A struggle in their closest personal relationships.

• Blatant changes in their personal appearance or hygiene habits.

• Repetitive drinking to the point of intoxication despite serious consequences such as a DWI or health risk.

• Blaming things other than drinking for their plight in life. For more information on Wolfe Street Foundation, call 501-372-5662, or log on to wolfestreet.org.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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savvy style

GRAPHIC CONTENT

These designs are for immature audiences only. Take your kid’s spring wardrobe up a notch with some funky, fun graphic clothes, kicks and accessories!

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AUTISM CLINIC

1. This distressed tank by Junk Food reminds us that YOLO, you only live once! And what better way to really live than by indulging in donuts—with sprinkles? Available at Mini Scarlet, scarletclothing.com. 2. It’s always sunny with a 100 percent chance of awesome in this vibrant American Apparel tee! Baby blue contrasted with red lettering creates the perfect warm weather shirt. Available at Bologna Joe’s, facebook.com/ shopbolognajoes. 3. Sorry, you’ll have to try us again later—we’re busy chillin’! This simple trucker hat by Tiny Whales makes the excuse for you. An adjustable band makes it easy to fit any little’s head. It’s a stylish way to keep the sun off their faces, and invite all the chill summer vibes. Available at Bologna Joe’s, facebook.com/shopbolognajoes. 4. Patch it up with a set of Molux iron-on patches. Rainbows, ice cream cones and red lips look great affixed to jeans, denim jackets, backpacks, hats and more. It’s an easy way to add a burst of color to any basics. Available at Mini Scarlet, scarletclothing.com. 5. Sun your buns in this cute ringer tank by Tiny Whales. The graphic is reminiscent of the old school Burger King logo, making it the perfect cookout attire for boys or girls. Available at Bologna Joe’s, facebook.com/ shopbolognajoes.

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6. Chocolate and vanilla ice cream have been best friends for as long as we can remember. This extra long ringer tank by Tiny Whales celebrates the perfect friendship with two illustrated retro cones high-fiving. Aqua and muted pink accent colors make it an instant favorite tank. Available at Bologna Joe’s, facebook.com/shopbolognajoes. 7. You’ll want to chase this graphic bunny tee down the rabbit hole! It’s printed with love, by hand in Fayetteville by The Katie Co. The super soft ¾-sleeve shirt features a geometric bunny ready to hop into your little one’s heart. Also available in blue at etsy.com/shop/TheKatieCo. 8. These splattered play shorts by Tiny Whales are stylish and comfortable. Great for when the days get hot and your kids still want to look cool. Charcoal gray splattered with a cream-colored accent and black piping make these easily pair with any top. And they have pockets! Available at Bologna Joe’s, facebook.com/shopbolognajoes. 9. What could you add to a shark to make it even more awesome? Pizza, duh. The pizza sharks classic sneakers by Vans are the perfect graphic kicks to complete any cool, carefree outfit. Available at vans.com.

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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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savvy family

FRESH AND COLORFUL SALAD 20 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


FAMILY-STYLE FARMERS MARKET SALAD STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KERRY GUICE

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have a saying: “If you can see the lettuce in your salad, you’re doing it wrong.” A good salad should serve as a complete meal! Lettuce, tomato and onion are condiments for a burger—they’re not a salad. When the weather warms up and farmers markets open for the season, our dinner gets more and more colorful! A few years ago I bought Kimberley Hasselbrink’s cookbook, “Vibrant Food.” It is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks to this day. She made me realize that I use the same philosophy as she does: A meal is finished when there are as many colors on the plate as possible. There’s something about having a colorful plate that makes the meal so much more satisfying! The Hillcrest Farmers Market in Little Rock is open year-round, while the others usually set up shop in late April or early May. Spring veggies from the Hillcrest Farmers Market are a great find, and I love to eat seasonally when I can! Last Easter, I made a family-style salad for our dinner, and it was such a hit that I’ve added it to our regular dinner rotation! What I love about family-style salads is that everyone can get a little or a lot of whatever they want. You can add whatever veggies and meat or fish you are in the mood for! My main suggestion for a hearty salad is to add cooked veggies to the raw veggies for more flavor and texture. There are some vegetables that just taste so much better when roasted or sautéed. I always sear a few lemons, which makes the best dressing when combined with a little olive oil, and I drizzle the combo over each plate. Adding potatoes and meat or fish always rounds everything out to really feel like a meal. Even my cyclist husband doesn’t have to snack an hour after one of these salads, which is a clear sign to me that dinner was a success.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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22 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


SALMON SALAD WITH CREAMY LEEK VINAIGRETTE SALAD

1 head butter lettuce 2-3 new potatoes, roasted with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper and 3 sprigs of fresh thyme ½ cup English peas 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered 8-10 asparagus spears, sautéed on medium high with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper 1 radish, thinly sliced ¼ cup feta cheese or goat cheese 2 carrots, thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler into strips ½ avocado, sliced ¼ cup cracked hazelnuts Small handful of fresh green beans, sautéed on medium-high with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper ½ cup sliced grape tomatoes Fresh herbs (I used dill and parsley) 1 lemon, halved and set on hot pan for 1 minute.

FOR THE SALMON 3-4 salmon fillets Olive oil Salt, pepper and garlic powder Season the fillets with a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat cast iron skillet on high until very hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and salmon filets, skin side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then transfer pan to the oven on broil. Broil for 10-12 minutes.

FOR THE CREAMY LEEK VINAIGRETTE

What moves you? What tugs at your heartstrings or causes your eyes to well up with tears? Let that be what motivates you to “move.” Often times we shame ourselves into exercising. We make New Year’s resolutions, and by March or April we have become so discouraged with how easily we gave up, or how we failed to meet some unrealistic expectation that we just give up. Where we fail is often where we have guilted ourselves into action. What if we made a list of all the things in life that we cherished or held dear, and focused our motivation on working in that direction? If becoming healthier and more active to keep up with the pace of small children, and be able to go into the backyard and “play” with them is what we want, then we can learn to move and increase our stamina to make that happen. In the same respect, if hiking huge mountains to take in the breathtaking scenery is what moves you, or learning to ballroom dance with your partner makes you happy, then what needs to change to be able to facilitate those things? That is where we need to begin. Most of us will never respond positively to being guilted or shamed to do something. We most certainly will not do it with the same spirit we would do something that was our own idea and with pure intention. At Blue Yoga Nyla, our motivation is to help facilitate a healthy body, mind and spirit for you to do all that “moves” you. Strength, flexibility and resiliency in this life will allow us the freedom to celebrate each moment with people we love, doing all the things we love. Also, discovering new things we do not yet even know we will truly enjoy. Yoga is a perfect companion to anything that moves you, and will give you the freedom to do so. —Stacey Reynolds

1 leek, white part only, diced and rinsed 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon sour cream 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh dill ½ teaspoon water Sauté the leeks on medium-low for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add to a Mason jar, then add the remaining ingredients. Shake until combined. Spoon mixture over cooked salmon.

ASSEMBLE SALAD

While preparing all the veggies, set them next to each other on a couple of plates when you’re done. When everything is prepared, assemble the salad by setting the lettuce on the tray first, then add the rest of the toppings as you like. Squeeze one half of the charred lemon over the salad, use the second as a garnish, and for more lemon if anyone wants. Pour the Creamy Leek Vinaigrette over the salmon (and the veggies if you’d like)!

3702 John F Kennedy Blvd. | North Little Rock 501-753-9100 | blueyoganyla.com “Move Me” to receive a one-month, unlimited pass for the month of April at the special rate of $55 for new students. BYN OFFERS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE… ● Beginner level /Strong level classes offered ● Early morning classes before work ● Yoga body bootcamp | Kids yoga camps ● Private yoga therapy and private yoga classes ●●● 11 “Pay what you can” classes each week THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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Yes, recovery may take 12 steps… But The BridgeWay has always been the first. As the first psychiatric hospital in the state of Arkansas, The BridgeWay has helped thousands of Arkansans recover from addictions. From legal to illegal substances, we have treated them all.

Under the care of a certified addictionologist, The BridgeWay was the first to offer multiple individualized treatment options: n Abstinence-based treatment n Medication-assisted outpatient treatment with Suboxone n Individualized goal-based recovery Whether you need inpatient care or outpatient treatment, The BridgeWay has always been the first place to call. We provide evidence-based services that treat addictions for adults, ages 18 and older, within a structured setting: n Pet-assisted therapy n Medical detoxification n Art therapy n Intensive Outpatient Treatment n Yoga n Support by AA and Al-Anon n Nutritional guidance n Computer access n Visitation

Let The BridgeWay be your first call. 1-800-245-0011 Our assessment and referral staff is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Assessments are provided at no charge and are always confidential. The BridgeWay is an in-network provider for Medicaid, up to 21 years of age, and all other insurance companies in Arkansas including Medicare and Tricare.

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W AT C H

USA

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www.TheBridgeWay.com |

Learn more about amphibians found in your own yard.

Dress up like a favorite fairy tale character for our “Toadally Awesome”

ice cream social

Each Saturday in April

Sign up for FREE Frog Watch classes on April 1 and 15 www.littlerockzoo.com/frogwatch-usa #1 Zoo Drive | Little Rock, Arkansas | 501-661-7200

24 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


Finding Aden’s Voice

(From left) Ethan Mosley, Amanda Oldham and Aden Mosley.

Amanda Oldham knew just what to do when her son Aden 'disappeared' on her. At 18 months old, he quit talking and began avoiding eye contact. He had been a typical toddler, building a steady vocabulary, when the Oldham family’s life changed. BY AMY GORDY, PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILY DARRAGH THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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ooking back, Amanda Oldham said the change in Aden was pretty gradual. She thinks she would have caught it sooner if there had been a sudden shift. The light switched on for her one day, however, when she walked into her living room to find Aden sitting in the middle of the floor, rocking and looking at the ceiling. “I knew something was wrong. He just kind of disappeared on us. He stopped talking, looking at us and laughing, which was really hard for me as a mom. It’s really hard when you can’t tell if your baby is happy or not,” Oldham said. She had been through a similar journey with her middle son, Ethan, now 14, when a friend who had a child with autism expressed her concern about him. “When Ethan was almost 2, my best friend pulled me aside and used her ‘best friend privilege.’ I knew she was about to say something I didn’t want to hear. She said there was something going on that I was missing, and that Ethan seemed a little delayed,” Oldham said. Thanks to her friend’s urging, Oldham signed Ethan up at Allied Therapy, a pediatric therapy group specializing in developmental, speech, occupational and physical therapy, where he did a year of early intervention and was eventually diagnosed at age 5 with Asperger syndrome, a subtype of autism generally considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum. Studies show that early intervention for children with autism, even in children as young as 18 months, is very effective for improving IQ, language ability and social interaction. “Thankfully, I knew what to do when we realized something was going on with Aden. First, I cried for two days, and that wasn’t helping anything. Then, I called Allied Therapy to get him into early intervention. They sent someone to my house and got him set up for evaluation. We’ve been with them for seven years now. His autism is pretty severe, but he’s made great progress,” she said. Aden remained nonverbal until the age of 4. His therapists taught him sign language, and he had learned to sign 40 or so words when one day his voice came back. “I still remember the day he walked into our kitchen, and he just looked up at me out of the

Aden receiving hippotherapy with Trevor's help at Beyond Boundaries.

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blue and said, ‘Momma.’ I nearly lost it, but I tried not to freak out and scare him. I looked at him and said, ‘What do you need?’ and he signed back to me. It was pretty sweet.” Building back a vocabulary was not an easy path for Aden. Oldham said the words came back slowly, one at a time, and because he had learned to communicate with sign language, he became very frustrated that he could not communicate as easily with his voice. “Becoming verbal again kind of regressed him because he had a very limited vocabulary. He wouldn’t try to speak and do sign language at the same time—it was one or the other, all or nothing. His meltdowns increased dramatically until his vocabulary caught up. It was really hard to watch as a mom. We knew he knew what he wanted, but it was like having a toddler-sized newborn trying to help him find the words,” she said. In addition to regaining his speech, Aden has made other advancements

(From left) Ethan, Matt Oldham, Aden, Amanda and Trevor Mosley.

through therapy. His therapy started out in small increments to cater to his attention span, and has branched out into speech, occupational, physical and hippotherapy, the use of horseback riding as a therapeutic or rehabilitative treatment. “Aden’s at a stage now where he’s working on a lot of speech therapy. He doesn’t have very clear speech. We understand him and the therapists understand him, but he still has a long way to go. In occupational therapy, he’s working on fine motor skills—grasping small objects, those types of things. He does physical therapy though there’s not really anything physically wrong, it’s more to train his body to do what his brain tells him to—to reconnect the links.” Oldham has been thrilled with the therapists at Allied Therapy. “The therapists have been great at figuring out what makes him tick, and how to make therapy work to his benefit. They are amazing, and like family because we’ve been there so long,” she said. Oldham homeschools her three sons, so she can take Aden to therapy twice a week. She started homeschooling when her oldest, Trevor, 16, was starting kindergarten. “I’m a trained legal assistant, but have always stayed home with the boys except for a short while when my husband,


Matt, their stepdad, stayed home with them. For my husband to get that time with them was priceless. He did homeschool, therapy appointments—if it needed to be done at home he did it.” Oldham is back holding the reins, running Aden to appointments at Allied and Beyond Boundaries, where he receives therapy on horseback. “The hippotherapy is an amazing thing to watch. I’ve seen Aden in a full-blown meltdown, and just a couple of times around the arena and he calms down. My oldest son volunteers at Beyond Boundaries, and it’s become a family event. When Trevor became old enough he wanted to volunteer. [Special needs] is his normal because it’s what he’s always dealt with regarding his brothers,” she said. The three Oldham boys are very different, but get along like any band of brothers would. “The older two are typical and pick at each other, but are all very sweet. It’s been one of our things that you have to respect each other in our house,” she said, and described her sons and their unique personalities fondly: “Trevor is an extremely sweet kid, really mature for his age, and had to grow up quite a bit faster with two brothers with special needs. He’s 16 going on 40, and he has a really big heart and a ton of patience. “Ethan is really funny, and has a great sense of humor, which is kind of a hard thing because people on the spectrum don’t typically pick up on humor—he’s had to work at it. He loves music, and recently found his voice as far as self-advocating to let us know what we can do for him. “Aden is just fun! He loves baseball and anything to do with Hot Wheels. He works very hard at therapy, and it’s been amazing to watch him grow, and succeed, and surpass anything we’d hoped for.”

Butterfly Learning Center PRESCHOOL

ENROLL NOW FOR 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR OPEN HOUSE: 4-6 PM APRIL 27TH PRESCHOOL FOR ALL ABILITIES Ages: 6 weeks to 5 years • Level 2 Better Beginnings •OT, PT & SPEECH • Updated facilities & playground • 2 instructors per class

9720 N. Rodney Parham Road | Little Rock 501-228-3868 | 6:30 am - 5:30 pm United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas @UCPofAR

2017 Summer Discovery Camps Museum of Discovery offers a variety of week-long day camps for children ages 6-13 and one-day Wednesday camps for children ages 4-6. Camp topics include Mine Craft It!, LEGO Master, Mission to Mars, Mess it Up, Nature Heroes, Super Power Science and much more! Register online at museumofdiscovery.org.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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Autism Into Adulthood

Challenges due to autism don’t end with childhood. There are a few programs throughout the state focusing on helping those crossing into a non-typical adulthood to navigate campus life, career options and more.

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ike a lot of college grads, Frank Hellmer is looking to land that first job, sweats his student loans and dreams about what the future holds. He’s currently working as an intern with Friendship Community Care in Russellville, where he began reciving care at age 3, and holds out hope that this will lead to a full-time job there. Unlike a lot of college grads, Hellmer graduated summa cum laude from college with two bachelor degrees and an associate degree, earning an impressive 3.94 grade point average. He knocked out the four-part CPA exam in December, averaging 95.25 percent per section, on the first try. He’s currently working on his master’s degree in health informatics. Autism doesn’t make the list of his accomplishments, of course, but it’s been there, too. Overcoming the challenges the condition presents is one continuing source of pride for Hellmer, both in the classroom and in the workplace. “I am proud of the fact that I conquered my fears and helped prove that autism is not a barrier, even against one of the hardest professional exams in existence,” he said. None of us is guaranteed happiness and fulfillment in life, and

28 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

achieving such is rarely unimpeded. Setbacks and disappointments, as everyone knows, are part of the game. The future’s inherent uncertainty is inseparable from its opportunity, and if you ask, you’ll find what worries parents most, particularly parents of special needs children, are the questions about what lies ahead. “I think those feelings are magnified,” said Nancy Wells, a professional counselor and executive director of AbleTalks, an organization with the goal of establishing independent continued education for young adults with autism and other disabilities. “The kids want—just like any other 20-something— a career, love and future. They want to know, ‘When am I going to get where I'm going? How do I get what I want?’ Parents’ worries are magnified because there are vulnerabilities,” she said. Wells sees this daily through her work, and also in her own family. Her daughters—Maggie, 27‚ and Molly, 24—were diagnosed with moderate to severe autism, and helping them on their march toward independence was its own education, years before Nancy decided to return to college and become a therapist. “When my youngest daughter wanted to establish an independent life, that’s when I learned about what we call the drop-off point,” she said. “Twenty years ago, institutionalization was recommended to me and other parents. Now these kids are grown up; they’re in their 20s and offer so much more than anybody thought. “But we haven’t educated them, we haven't trained them. It hasn't been there for them. There are agencies offering opportunities, but as far as housing and higher education, a lot of people with autism couldn't find a fit. Therefore, they just stayed home,” she said. Happily, times are changing particularly for such individuals, starting with higher education. As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), reasonable accommodations are required in all public spaces, including the workplace and on campus. This goes beyond physical amenities such as wheelchair ramps and designated parking areas, to services that help individuals pursue their degree or do their job. “The goal for physical access is always there, but there are challenges for the ‘invisible disabilities,’” said Katy Washington, director for the Center for Educational Access at the University of Arkansas in

PHOTOGRAPHY: RETT PEEK AND COURTESY OF THERESA WHITE

BY DWAIN HEBDA


Don't Miss!

Light On Autism: A Family Engagement Program Tuesday Evenings, April 4-25 from 5:30-7:00 pm At Access Academy, 1500 N. Mississippi St., Little Rock Light on Autism is a free outreach program designed to help families of children recently diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. This program seeks to shed light on what it means to “have Autism,” and to provide guidance in accessing the resources available for individuals in Central Arkansas. The program has four 90-minute sessions, each including multiple speakers and plenty of time to ask questions. Space is limited and registration is required. Call 501-217-8600 for more information. (Above) Frank Hellmer with Friendship Community Care staff holding an image of founder Cindy Mahan 45 years ago with her first client. (Right) Frank Hellmer.

shatter expectations succeed overcome obstacles

defy odds CONQUER push limitsbreak new ground Empowering Children to Conquer Their World

Fayetteville. “Whether it’s autism spectrum disorder or a learning disability or psychiatric disorders, those things that you can’t see have impacts in the educational as well as the residential environment,” she said. The university works proactively to address barriers to learning, such as providing a note taker to help keep up with classroom lectures, teaching in alternative formats, supplying large print versions of textbooks or assistive software or hardware. All of these, by law, are provided at no additional cost to the student or their family. Even with marketing efforts limited to just the UA website, the department helped 2,800 students in the 2016 calendar year, up from 2,300 the year before. Washington said by the time a child reaches college, most families know to ask about assistive services, but not always. “We still have to be very mindful that there are pockets of firstgeneration college students that are out there and on this campus,” she said. “They may not even know what services are available to them in order to help them have access to the classroom environment.” Access Inc. of Little Rock provides two programs for its older students that target transitioning individuals into the workplace and independent life. Project Search Arkansas Access Initiative helps connect individuals with internships at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and other local businesses in Little Rock. At the conclusion of the internship, Access helps the individuals find employment and stay connected to the process, providing individual follow-up support for the next five years. “Especially for our young adults with autism spectrum disorder, we have to find them the right kind of job that meets their needs,” said Jenny Adams, director of the program. “We really have to get to know them to know what’s going to work and not going to work. If it’s a loud environment and they don’t like that, it’s not going to work. Or they may need a lot of consistency—we have to look for that. We need to meet not only what they want to do, but also what’s going to help them thrive,” Adams said. Access Life is another program targeting independent living. It includes job training but also helps participants work on independent

We originally thought John might never speak, but through therapy & individualized treatment, he now carries on entire conversations. He’s a social butterfly! --Troy & Paula Weatherley, John’s Parents

For more of John’s story, visit pediatricsplus.com.

BIG ROCK’S AMAZING AERIAL ADVENTURE IS HERE!

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Let Us Plan Your Party!

501-455-3750

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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Project Search graduate Seth Winfrey.

CHAMPIONS for children

archildrens.org

At Arkansas Children’s, we have an unyielding commitment to making kids better today and healthier tomorrow. Most importantly, we’re not just pediatric specialists, we’re specialists in kids! That’s what makes us champions for children. archildrens.org

30 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

PHOTOGRAPHY: RETT PEEK

living skills and social skills, such as buying groceries, cooking and health and fitness issues. “We are kind of cutting edge; our programs are very progressive,” Adams said. “We’re doing some new things that others haven’t done yet, but most programs out there are starting to move to that direction of integration and employment. So, that's exciting.” Nancy Wells is also encouraged by such resources and programs, and says there is room for more to address later stages in life, particularly as parents of people with disabilities die. Her Fayetteville-based organization, AbleTalks, provides tuition-free, independent continuing education and support for young adults to plot out a career that is fulfilling and sustains them at any stage of life. “We tell them they’re the experts of their own lives and we treat them as such,” Wells said. “It’s the first time anybody has truly done that across the board. We meet in Fayetteville, but I’m also speaking to people in Bentonville, and we plan on taking it other places. This fits anybody.” As he himself will tell you, Frank Hellmer isn’t typical but that’s not because of autism. Frank Hellmer isn’t typical, he’ll say, because there is no such thing. “There is no standard profile of autism spectrum disorder; you can have two different people on the spectrum and each can display totally different traits,” he said. “[But] there are many studies out there that show that people with autism can be successful. Sure, employees with autism need more support at times, but the opportunity to work can actually make them happier and more engaged in their work. People with autism, or any other disability, are capable of succeeding if given the chance.”


YOGA BLISS Arkansas Families First and Blue Yoga Nyla deliver yoga's healing power to help children and teens to overcome anxiety. Arkansas Families First, a behavioral health care group serving children, teens and families, has partnered with Blue Yoga Nyla studio to create a yoga-centered program to help kids and teens suffering from anxiety. Clinic co-founder and psychologist Adam Benton, Ph.D, describes the weekly hourlong session as a "kid-friendly environment that encourages participants to have a good time, relax and learn strategies to manage anxiety." It follows a fun narrative format that incorporates kids' movements and stretches into a story, while building cognitive skills like thinking relaxing thoughts that kids can use at later times when they are feeling anxious. THE PROGRAM—led by Rachel Allen, licensed psychological examiner at Arkansas Families First, and Stacey Reynolds, certified yoga therapist and owner of Blue Yoga Nyla—pairs the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy with the healing power of yoga to give kids the tools they need to manage anxiety on their own. The aim is to build effective, life-long skills to manage anxiety with breathing exercises, cognitive coping strategies, mindfulness and intentional choices. Classes are held at Arkansas Families First on Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. For more information log on to arfamiliesfirst.com or blueyoganyla.com.

BUILDING STRONG FAMILIES AND HEALTHY CHILDREN

LOCATED IN:

Conway & North Little Rock 501-812-4268

A R FA M I L I E S F I R S T. CO M

Arkansas Families First is a group of independent psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists specializing in child and family outpatient services. Our services include programs designed especially for youth with autism. In addition to those below, we also offer monthly get-togethers, so participants can practice the skills learned in our groups and build lasting friendships. See our website to learn more about our programs! • Counseling • Behavioral Therapy • Autism / ADHD Evaluations • Academic Advocacy • Social Skills Groups • Independent Living Skills Groups We strive to empower parents and utilize the latest research and most skilled clinicians in the service of improving people’s lives.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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AUTISM RESOURCE GUIDE ACCESS

10618 Breckenridge Drive, Little Rock 501-217-8600, accessgroupinc.org Access offers evaluation services, full-time education, therapy, training and activities for individuals with language and learning disabilities ages infant to 35. Programs include Access Early Childhood, Access Academy, Access Therapy, Access Academic Therapy (specialized tutoring), Access Life (a young adults community-based program), Access Evaluation and Resource Center and Project SEARCH® (a year-long, on-the-job internship program for young adults with developmental disabilities).

Allied Therapy

1500 Wilson Loop Road, Ward 501-941-5630, allied-therapy.com Location in North Little Rock Allied Therapy is a therapy group founded in 1993 that provides developmental, speech, occupational and physical therapy to clients of all ages, but specializes in pediatric therapy. The organization’s goal is to “enable, train or retrain an individual to perform the independent skills and activities necessary for daily living.” They also offer home health, mother’s day out, hippotherapy, early intervention, consulting and more.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital Autism Multispecialty Clinic 1 Children's Way, Little Rock 501-364-4000, archildrens.org

The Autism Multispecialty Clinic offers treatment services for children with a formal diagnosis of autism, Asperger syndrome or Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Once a diagnosis has been established, children can receive specialty services including gastroenterology, nutrition, genetics and genetic counseling, neurology and sleep disorders.

32 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

Arkansas Families First

4004 McCain Blvd., Ste. 203, North Little Rock 501-812-4268, arfamiliesfirst.com Arkansas Families First is a multidisciplinary behavioral health care group that offers a variety of health services for children, teens and families in Central Arkansas. The organization offers services including psychology, psychiatry, counseling and other disciplines, as well as specialized, comprehensive evaluations for ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.

Arkansas Therapy Outreach

1306 Military Road, Ste. 1, Benton 501-481-8930, artherapyoutreach.com Arkansas Therapy Outreach provides free developmental screenings for cognitive, motor, social, communication and self-help skills. ATO also offers in-home or daycare therapy in Conway, Little Rock and the Benton/Bryant areas. The REACH Autism Clinic provides multidisciplinary assessment for children as young as 24 months to determine a potential diagnosis of autism and provides specialized treatment for children already diagnosed.

Beyond Boundaries

2195 Peyton St., Ward 501-941-1522, beyondboundariesar.org

Beyond Speech

16607 Cantrell Road, Ste. 6, Little Rock 501-944-5968 Beyond Speech offers speech-language and occupational evaluation and therapy for dyslexia and language-based learning disorders. The pediatric therapy team offers individualized therapy plans based on your child’s needs, will travel to schools and homes, and offers intensive summer literacy camps.

Butterfly Learning Center

9720 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock 501-228-3868, ucpcark.org This inclusive environment benefits all children by offering a wide array of programs taught by a staff of occupational, speech and physical therapists trained in early childhood education. At the Butterfly Learning Center, children with disabilities benefit by having non-disabled peers as role models, while children without disabilities learn to appreciate differences in others.

Centers for Youth and Families 6601 W. 12th St., Little Rock 501-666-8686 centersforyouthandfamilies.org Other location in Monticello

The Centers for Youth and Families provides care for children ages 3 to 20. Programs address typical family issues as well as specialized areas such as emotionally disturbed or at-risk youth, children with learning differences, foster families and more. The organization offers day treatment, outpatient counseling, school-based mental health therapy and residential treatment programs.

Empire Cheerleading

3524 Alcoa Road, Benton 501-574-6078, empirecheerleading.com Empire Cheerleading specializes in training beginner, intermediate and elite athletes in preparation for cheerleading careers at state and national championship schools. The organization also coaches a popular all-ages, special needs cheerleading team that caters to all abilities.

Expert Psychological Evaluations

425 W. Capitol Ave., Ste. 235, Little Rock, 501-444-2688 psychological-evaluations.com Psychologist at Expert Psychological Evaluations have extensive training in forensic psychological assessment, report writing, testimony and case-law. They focus on the evaluation of autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, intellectual disability, specific learning disorders, head injuries, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.


Families, Inc.

1507 E. Race, Searcy 501-305-2359, familiesinc.net Offers 11 locations throughout the state. Families, Inc. Counseling Services is home to a team of mental health professionals offering intensive outpatient therapy, psychiatric evaluations, psychological testing, play therapy, mental health paraprofessional interventions and school-based services. Common treatment areas include marriage and family issues, depression, codependence, anxiety, behavioral issues and trauma resolution.

Friendship Community Care

908 N. Reynolds Road, Bryant 501-847-9711, fccare.org More than 40 locations throughout the state Friendship Community Care serves children and adults navigating life with a disability. FCC's Developmental Preschools are learning hubs for children with developmental disabilities age 6 weeks to 5 years that prepare them for success in integrated and therapeutic classroom settings. FCC also provides community outlets and employment opportunities for adults navigating life with a disability by offering programs that incorporate individualized job opportunities, support services, residential options and nonmedical transportation.

Hippos and Fish Specialized Pediatric Therapy

304 Sorensen Drive, North Little Rock 501-246-5191, hopposandfish.com

Imagination Station & On Track Therapy

1008 Oak St., Conway 501-358-6868, ontrackplay.com

Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education

2801 S. University Ave., Little Rock 501-569-3410 ualr.edu/gifted/about-the-center

Kidsource Therapy

The Allen School

Kidsource Therapy provides outpatient developmental, occupational, physical and speech therapies to children with delays and special needs. They offer support, education and assistance to families. Programs offered include aquatics, hippotherapy, Integrated Listening Systems and more, as well as a sensory and feeding clinic.

The Allen School serves children from birth to age 5, who are diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, epilepsy and other developmental delays. The school staff of childhood teachers, special education teachers, paraprofessionals and speech, occupational and physical therapists is dedicated to providing the perfect balance of education and inspiration.

Pathfinder, Inc.

UAMS Kids First

17706 I-30 Frontage Road, Benton 501-315-4414, kidsourcetherapy.com Locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Malvern, Arkadelphia and Hot Springs

2520 W. Main St., Jacksonville 501-982-0528, pathfinderinc.org

Pediatrics Plus

2740 College Ave., Conway 501-329-5459, pediatricsplus.com Locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Russellville Pediatrics Plus outpatient therapy provides occupational, physical and speech language therapy. They provide comprehensive evaluations and develop individualized treatment plans based on a child’s specific needs. Therapeutic interventions are used to help a variety of challenges including: language, pragmatics, auditory processing, speech, oral motor, feeding, swallowing, daily living, strength, range-of-motion, flexibility, balance, posture, body mechanics, coordination and endurance.

The Academy at Riverdale

1600 Riverfront Drive, Little Rock 501-663-6965, academyatriverdale.com

824 N. Tyler St., Little Rock 501-664-2961, theallenschool.org

333 Executive Court, Little Rock 501-526-8700, arpediatrics.org/kidsfirst Offers 11 locations throughout the state Kids First is a pediatric academic day healthcare program for children with special needs. The staff of early childhood specialists, therapists, nurses, social workers, dietitians, and physicians offers an evidence-based early learning experience for young children, and works with each family to create a unique plan of services.

Up Therapy

2312 Durwood Road, Little Rock 501-313-5973, uptherapyar.com UP Therapy offers services including applied behavior analysis, occupational and physical therapy, speech language pathology, home modification consulting and social skills groups. At UP Therapy, your child will have an individualized program that is based on his or her unique abilities. Therapists offer strategies in a fun and playful environment to promote learning.

The Academy at Riverdale is a private, nonprofit school and outpatient therapy clinic offering services to students with developmental disabilities. The curriculum focuses on the basics of reading, writing, language and arithmetic for children ages 5 to 21 and older. The Academy also encourages students to develop socially and emotionally with an emphasis on appropriate social and life skills growth.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

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(From left) Empire athletes Ava Chipman, Anna Sparks, India Stewart and Gabriel Watts.

34 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


D A SQU S L A GO Athletes of all abilities find a home at Empire Cheerleading in Bryant. BY DWAIN HEBDA PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW MARTIN

W

hen asked why she chose to create a cheer program that included athletes with special needs, Brooke Plack, owner of Empire Cheerleading in Bryant, has a ready, simple answer. “So many little girls dream of being a cheerleader one day, especially in this part of the country. You know, we’re in ‘Friday Night Lights’ world,” she said. “Even for our adult athletes, they grew up in a school where [cheerleading] wasn't possible. They never had a chance to do that.” Plack’s training facility hasn’t been around that long, just three years, and her program catering to athletes with various physical and mental challenges has an even shorter history. But it’s already gained notoriety for its unique format. “Growing up, I was involved with athletes with special needs,” Plack said. “I went to high school in Bryant and I chartered the first Junior Civitan chapter there. Civitan is a really great organization in Saline County that serves children and adults with special needs. “[Empire] had been open a year, and probably around August of 2015 I just was like, I would really like to do a cheerleading team for athletes with special needs. We’d never done anything like that before.” Plack posted the date of an interest meeting on Facebook, unsure what sort of response she would get. “I was hoping I’d have, like, four or five people show up; we had a ton of people show up,” she said. Among the first to join the new program was Cadie Rosenberry, 25, of Bryant. Cadie was born able-bodied and diagnosed with cancer at the age of 3. Treatment affected her cognitive functions leaving her at a second-grade level with particular difficulty retaining information. Nevertheless, as soon as the family heard about the cheer program, they were all-in. “She’s never really had the opportunity to do that,” said her father, Carey. “[Cadie] was totally excited from the start. It just offers her a great, unique experience for something she’s never been allowed to do. She absolutely loves it. It’s been a great experience for her and for all the other kids,” he said. There are a hundred stories like Cadie’s swirling around the Empire program, along with serious training. Plack knows every time the group cheers in public, it sends a message to the rest of the world as to what people with disabilities are capable of, so she insists on qual-

ity performances. It’s nowhere near the over-the-top drama of reality shows like “Dance Moms,” but she and the rest of the coaches don’t cut athletes any slack. “Cheerleading requires an amount of expertise, and it requires training,” Plack said. “We train them just like you would any other athlete. We’ve got to train our bodies, we’ve got to get some muscles in there, we’ve got to have a little bit of endurance. A lot of times weight management and decreased activity goes along with [special needs], so we really try to combat that,” she said. Another person in attendance at the interest meeting was an official with Arkansas Special Olympics, who is also a mother of a special needs athlete and one of Plack’s high school classmates. The woman asked if Plack would be willing to partner the as-yet unformed program with the state’s Special Olympics. “I said, ‘Yeah, but Arkansas Special Olympics doesn’t have cheerleading,’” Plack remembered. “And she said, ‘Not yet.’” Drawing from programs in other states, Plack helped write the rules for Arkansas Special Olympics cheerleading, includes two divisions: Traditional, where every athlete on the floor has special needs, and Unified, which is a mix of able-bodied and special needs athletes. The goal is to one day compete, but for now the 28-member squad, ages 6 to 41, is all about raising awareness. Last year, they performed at cheerleading events and at the opening of the state Special Olympics Summer Games in Searcy, to thunderous ovation. As exhilarating as the roar of the crowd was, it’s some of the quieter accomplishments that impact Plack most. This year, one of the club members had developed the skills and confidence to try out for her school’s cheer squad. And Plack frequently hears from parents about how the program has changed their family’s life. “One of our little girls is a twin,” she said. “Her mom said to me, ‘I have two daughters. I have one with special needs and one without and they’ve always wanted to be cheerleaders, but I’ve never let them. How could I tell one of my daughters that she can be a cheerleader and the other one she can’t? Now they can both be part of the same program, and both have their own team.'" For the first time all day, Plack’s chirpy sweet voice fails her as the hard-nosed coach fights back tears. “That moment just makes you know what it's all about,” she said. “It's super special.” THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

35


MEET MEMBERS OF THE INSPIRE SQUAD

!

We wanted to know a little more about this inspirational squad, so we asked their parents, and No.1 cheerleaders, to tell us what makes their athletes really shine.

INDIA STEWART, 20

Diagnosis: Angelman's Syndrome, which is a deletion of her 15th chromosome Parents: John Stump and Ronnetta Johnson-Stump

“We are India’s No. 1 cheerleaders because India has defied the doctor’s prognosis time and time again, and has learned and achieved far more than anyone ever thought she would. India is a constant inspiration in our lives to not give up, to strive to be the best we can in all things, and to laugh as much as possible. Because India is an inspiration to us, we strive to inspire her, and so we cheer for her to be her best.”

AVA CHIPMAN, 10

Diagnosis: cerebral palsy Parents: Jay and Jessica Chipman. Ava has two siblings: her brother Hayden, 15, and her twin sister, Gracie, who also attends Empire Cheerleading. “Ava is an inspiration to anyone who meets her. She has a pure heart of love and joy. She is funny, quick-witted and has a contagious personality. Ava is our little hero. We hope to grow up and be like her one day. No matter life’s challenges, Ava sets out to conquer. No limits. Philippians 4:13.”

GABRIEL WATTS, 9 Diagnosis: Down syndrome Parents: Blake and Karen Watts

“Gabriel is the most loving person we know. He gives 100 percent in all he does. It may take him longer to learn something, but he keeps trying until he has accomplished it. He puts a smile on everyone’s face!”

ANNA SPARKS, 21 Diagnosis: cerebral palsy Parents: Garry and Marty Sparks

“We are Anna's No. 1 cheerleaders because since Anna was a little girl she has always been determined to do whatever the other kids were doing. She doesn't take no for an answer, and the word “can’t ” is not in her vocabulary. She is a very loving and kind person, and wants to be friends with everybody. We are so proud of her.”

36 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


PUBLIC EDUCATION: PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES

Pulaski County Special School District

Choose PCSSD schools for– Certified teachers with advanced degrees Test scores higher than other local districts Millions awarded in college scholarships Talented and Gifted programs State-winning sports teams 1;1 tech program providing iPads, Chromebooks Facilities upgrades and new schools underway pcssd.org

501.234.2000 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL 2017

37


bag check

AN INTERESTING FIND FROM A NATURE WALK!

DAVINES OI HAND BALM IS MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE! MY HAIRDRESSER, JOEY EDWARDS, INTRODUCED ME TO IT.

ONE OF MY TWINS LOVES BIRDS, SO WE TRY TO LEARN AND IDENTIFY THE ONES WE SEE.

WE LOVE NATURE WALKS, SO I KEEP A MAGNIFYING GLASS TO GET UP-CLOSE LOOKS.

THIS BURT’S BEES LIPSTICK IS THE BEST!

CORRI BRISTOW-SUNDELL CORRI BRISTOW-SUNDELL IS A MAMA OF THREE AND A NEARNATIVE ARKANSAN. SHE AND HER HUSBAND, JACK SUNDELL, OWN AND OPERATE THE ROOT CAFE, A FUN, FAMILY-FRIENDLY, FARM-TO-TABLE RESTAURANT IN DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK. BESIDES THE RESTAURANT WORK, SHE SPENDS HER TIME WRANGLING HER 3-YEAR-OLD TWINS, BILLY AND BENJI, AND WATCHING HER 19-YEAROLD, ETHAN, GROW INTO A BEAUTIFUL, HILARIOUS, SELF-RELIANT ADULT. ON WEEKENDS YOU CAN FIND HER SHOPPING FOR VINTAGE TREASURES AT SWEET HOME, SOUTH MAIN CREATIVE OR MOXY MERCANTILE, OR ENJOYING THE FRESH AIR WITH FRIENDS AT LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS.

38 APRIL 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

I NEED A VERY STURDY BAG TO CARRY ALL OUR STUFF. THIS ONE MADE LOCALLY BY DOWER WORKS GREAT, AND NEUTRAL GOES WITH EVERYTHING!

PHOTOGRAPHY: LILY DARRAGH/STYLING: MANDY KEENER

I KEEP TOYS LIKE THIS MAGIC WAND AND CARS TO OCCUPY MY TWINS IN A PINCH.

I ALWAYS HAVE NEOSPORIN AND A BAND-AID JUST IN CASE.


Benefiting

THURSDAY

Argenta Arts District

MAY 4 | 6-9pm river market pavilions

presents

Available for purchase

Join the fun as Don Julio, the world’s first ultra-premium tequila, presents •

Thursday, May 4 at the Little Rock River Market for the first annual Margarita Festival

It’s a salute to the perfection of a great margarita

Sample takes on the classic cocktail from the city’s best bartenders and VOTE for your favorites and crown one margarita best of the fest

Competing Bars & Restaurants Agave Grill Big Whiskey Bleu Monkey Boulevard Bistro Cache Restaurant Cajun’s Wharf Copper Grill Ernie Biggs Loca Luna O’Looney’s & Loblolly The Pizzeria Revolution Taco & Tequila Bar Samantha’s Taco Mama Trio’s

Food Available for Purchase from Loca Luna Taco Mama

Latin Salsa tunes & Jimmy Buffett standards from Club 27 Little Rock Salsa

TICKETS Current Ticket Price: $30

Ticket price includes 15 three-ounce Margarita Samples. Frio Beer For Sale.

centralarkansastickets.com

Tickets are limited. Purchase early.

Partner Sponsor

Photobooth Sponsor

Wristband Sponsor

Club 27

Music Sponsor

AN AS TIMES NS KA AR THESAVVYMOMS.COM | APRIL T 2017 39 EVEN


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SAVVY | April 2017