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APRIL 2018 · SAVVYKIDSAR.COM

AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH

s THE FACE OF ADDICTION p luTHE OPIOID CRISIS CONTINUES IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS

CAREER KIDS

MEET OUR FUTURE MOVERS & SHAKERS


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We champion children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow. archildrens.org/FastTrack

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

WHERE KIDS SOAR! Serving individuals with developmental delays and disabilities in 27 Arkansas counties.

• DEVELOPMENTAL SCREENINGS • EARLY INTERVENTION • DEVELOPMENTAL TREATMENT SERVICES FOR CHILDREN • SCHOOL-AGE PROGRAM • ADULT DEVELOPMENT • THERAPY • ALTERNATE COMMUNITY SERVICES • INTERMEDIATE CARE FACILITY • PERSONAL CARE • SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT • TRANSPORTATION

Tears spring to my eyes when I think of how much progress Avery has made, since entering First Step. She started at First Step after she was diagnosed with autism at three years old. This has offered opportunities for Avery to be successful, self-confident and happy. ~Sheryl Morris, Avery’s Grandmother

HOT SPRINGS (501) 624-6468 • MALVERN (501) 337-7622 • FORDYCE (870) 352-7975 GLENWOOD (870) 356-3622 • SPARKMAN (870) 678-2201 • HAMBURG (870) 853-0857

FirstStepArkansas.com SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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APRIL 2018

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MODERN MOM 14 MAMA SAID IN SUPPORT OF OUTDOOR PLAY

16 MIND, BODY & SOUL THE FACE OF ADDICTION

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SAVVY FAMILY 18 SLOW DOWN FOR FAST FOOD THESE SIMPLE, KID-FRIENDLY RECIPES WILL BE YOUR FAMILY’S NEW FAVORITE “HAPPY MEALS”

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22 A SHOULDER TO LEAN ON ANGELETTA GILES HASN’T MISSED A BEAT SINCE HER DAUGHTER, LONDYN, WAS DIAGNOSED ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM AT AGE 4

28 BRADY’S BREAKTHROUGH WITH PATIENCE, HARD WORK AND LIFE CHANGING LOCAL AUTISM RESOURCES BRADY RICHARDSON FINDS HIS STRIDE

30 AUTISM RESOURCE GUIDE

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LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS, CLINICS AND MORE DEDICATED TO AUTISM TREATMENT

34 CAREER KIDS LEARN HOW ARKANSAS IS WORKING TO INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION OF BUSINESS OWNERS

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

38 MOM APPROVED

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MAYA ELLINGTON

ON THE COVER: (FROM LEFT) LONDYN AND ANGELETTA GILES ARE DEDICATED TO AUTISM ADVOCACY THROUGH THEIR ORGANIZATION PAAK. PHOTO BY KATIE CHILDS.

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IT’S NATIONAL SAVVY KIDS ARE AWESOME MONTH! April is a big month. You can get a glimpse of its depth and complexity with a quick glance at the national observances calendar. April tackles big topics head-on with Alcohol Awareness Month, Mental Health Month and Autism Awareness Month. It holds us accountable with Tax Day (that’s April 17 if you need to go ahead and get your stress balls out). It puts us on high alert with April Fools Day (practical jokes are my least favorite jokes), and highlights two of my favorite things with National Pet Day on April 11 (like I need another excuse to stay home and snuggle my dogs), and National Soft Pretzel Month (my favorites are at Flyway and Fassler Hall!). Along with a few nourishing April showers, this month is serving up some real talk and good times, much like this issue of Savvy Kids. Meet our cover girls, Angeletta Giles and her daughter, Londyn, on page 22. After Londyn’s autism diagnosis at age 4, Angeletta poured herself into her daughter’s treatment path and discovered her own calling to help other parents of special needs children. See how this single mom and inspiring 10-year-old share their unique story to help others. In honor of Autism Awareness Month you’ll find tons more information in this issue including an interview with Leah Richardson on page 28 whose son, Brady, has had major breakthroughs with the help of local organizations. We are fortunate to have so many fantastic autism resources in Central Arkansas. Check out our autism resource guide on page 30 to find what you may need. We continue to be amazed by the hard work and ability of local kids! On page 34 we dive into the world of kid entrepreneurs with a visit to Kyleigh’s Lemonade Stand, which was featured on “Good Morning America” last year. Read how 7-year-old Kyleigh and her mom, Gabrielle Williams, turned a sidewalk lemonade stand into a mobile food truck business, and learn about all the resources available to kids who have a nose for business. Do you have a picky eater in your house? Are you hitting the drive-through a little too often? This month’s Good Eats is perfect for families trying to stifle that kid’s meal addiction. Kerry Guice offers some recipes as great (and much healthier alternatives) to processed chicken nuggets and fast-and-greasy pizzas on page 18. Don’t forget our usual lineup of great, kid-friendly events, crafts and more to keep the kids busy and your family active all month long!

Amy Gordy Editor, Savvy Kids amy.gordy@savvykidsar.com

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APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM


The wildest party arou nd with 2 nights of fun! VIP Night Friday, April 27 Mane Event Satu rday, April 28

Mane Event entertainment by:

Boom Kinetic

Tickets on sale now:

littlerockzoo.com/wild-wines

Beverage sponsor:

Must be at least 21 to attend

SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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STAY IN THE LOOP sign up for savvy’s monthly enewsletter. be the first to know about giveaways, the current issue and more.

PUBLISHER KATHERINE DANIELS | katherine@savvykidsar.com EDITOR AMY GORDY | amy.gordy@savvykidsar.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR MANDY KEENER | mandy@arktimes.com ART DIRECTOR KATIE HASSELL | katie@arktimes.com ADVERTISING SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE LESA THOMAS | lesa@arktimes.com PRODUCTION PRODUCTION MANAGER | CONTROLLER WELDON WILSON ADVERTISING TRAFFIC MANAGER ROLAND R. GLADDEN | roland@arktimes.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR LARISSA GUDINO | larissa.gudino@savvykidsar.com DESIGN GRAPHIC DESIGNERS MIKE SPAIN | JASON HO OFFICE STAFF IT DIRECTOR ROBERT CURFMAN ACCOUNTS PAYABLE/OFFICE MANAGER KELLY JONES

savvykidsar.com ALL THINGS FAMILY F I N D

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U S

O N

BILLING/COLLECTIONS LINDA PHILLIPS CIRCULATION DIRECTOR ANITRA HICKMAN

FIND US ON


contributors

KERRY GUICE is a writer, recipe developer and photographer living in Little Rock with her husband and two busy kids. When she’s not working or driving kids from one activity to the next, she’s planning her family’s next outdoor adventure.

ANGELA E. THOMAS is a proud University of Arkansas at Little Rock graduate and a member of its Alumni Board. For 11 years, she served Central Arkansas as editor for a locally owned magazine. Thomas is founder and owner of the greeting card company GODsent Greetings.

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

KATIE CHILDS is a wedding, lifestyle and commercial photographer based in North Little Rock. When she’s not behind the camera, Katie and her husband, Jon, can be found rock climbing with their two pups in Northwest Arkansas and listening to embarrassing rap music.

LOOKING FOR A PAST ISSUE? FIND THE SAVVY DIGITAL ARCHIVE AT:

SAVVYKIDSAR.COM/DIGITAL-EDITIONS SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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April

APRIL 12

NATIONAL GRILLED CHEESE DAY

CALENDAR

13-14

APRIL “INTO THE WOODS” Take a walk in the woods at Wildwood Park for the Arts and enjoy a production of the Tony Awardwinning musical. This dramatic comedy weaves together elements of five fairy tales, each focused on a quest to fulfill a wish. All ages will enjoy witty lyrics, lively musical numbers and elaborate settings to inspire the imagination. wildwoodpark.org.

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APRIL DISNEY ON ICE PRESENTS “REACH FOR THE STARS”

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APRIL -MAY “DISNEY ’S THE LION KING” Watch as the circle of life unfolds on Pride Rock at “Disney’s The Lion King.” The Tony Award-winning Broadway production makes its Arkansas premiere at Robinson Performance Hall. Audience members of all ages will enjoy this story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals. celebrityattractions.com.

Delight as favorite Disney characters including Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy host a showcase filled with magical moments on the ice at Verizon Arena. Look for characters from Disney favorites like “The Little Mermaid,” “Tangled,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Frozen” and more. verizonarena.com.

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APRIL -MAY “STONE SOUP”

APRIL 22

10 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM

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Follow along as a hungry traveler who was just looking for food at a stranger’s home finds something even more precious than a pot of delicious soup— a friend. This production, geared toward kids at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theater, includes earnest charm, playful imagination and heart-warming music. arkansasartscenter.org.


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APRIL WILD WINES MANE EVENT Go wild at this adult-only fundraiser at the Little Rock Zoo with more than 250 wines as well as beer and non-alcoholic beverages and food from more than 40 area restaurants to sample. Animal ambassadors greet guests and live music can be found at five locations throughout the zoo. littlerockzoo.com/wild-wines.

Explore Arkansas Literary Festival!

Kids can get in on the fun at this annual event held in Little Rock April 26-29 that celebrates the written word! A full day of events is planned just for the little ones on April 28 at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center. Wickedly Good Free Book Fair

Follow the yellow brick road through the book fair to find free books! 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

The Kinders

Kids and parents alike will enjoy this program of original and interactive children’s music. 9:30-10:15 a.m.

The Wizard’s Magical Creations

Enter the magical Emerald City and help create a life-sized rainbow. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Wonderful World of Reading Explore the wonders of reading with storytime in both English and Spanish. 10:15-10:45 a.m.; 1:30-2 p.m.

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APRIL INTO THE BLUE Thea Foundation’s 4th annual Into the Blue is an evening celebrating and supporting the arts in Arkansas at the Center for the Humanities and Arts at the University of Arkansas at Pulaski Tech. This gala is a lively gathering of arts enthusiasts to enjoy performances by Thea Foundation scholarship winners who have graced international stages and returned home to celebrate Thea Foundation and honor this year’s recipient of the foundation’s annual Pillar of the Arts Award, Dorothy Morris. theafoundation.org.

Let the Children March

Author Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrator Frank Morrison meet to share their children’s book, “Let the Children March.” 10:30-11 a.m.

Find Your Own Toto

Visit the Humane Society of Pulaski County’s mobile adoption vehicle, and you might just find your very own Toto. 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Hungry Tigers

For all of the Hungry Tigers, enjoy a lunch provided by First Security Bank and Central Arkansas Library System. 10:30 a.m.-noon; 2- 2:30 p.m.

Scales of Justice Puppet Storytime

Taylor Dugan’s “Scales of Justice” is written with children in mind to educate them about the court system. 11:15 a.m.-noon.

Dorothy in Oz

In this live performance by the Arkansas Arts Center’s Tell A Tale Troupe, Dorothy’s going back to be a very special guest at the birthday party of Princess Ozma of Oz. Noon.

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My! Animal Yoga Get ready to stretch, breathe and roar during a yoga session that focuses on animal poses. 1-1:30 p.m.

“There’s No Place Like Home” STEM Session

See the wonderment of “Wizard of Oz” through the lens of science with UA Little Rock. 1-2 p.m.

Rescue Dogs

Grace Vest will speak about “Home Sweet Home: Arkansas Rescue Dogs & Their Stories,” and a representative from the Humane Society of Pulaski County will be present to answer questions about dog adoptions. 1:30 p.m.- 2 p.m.

SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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savvy craft

Solar System Necklace

Use Earth Day, on April 22, as an opportunity to celebrate our beloved planet and discover the beauty and mystery of the solar system. Kids love studying space, and their discoveries can be even more fun when they use their knowledge to create a lovely solar system necklace.

You’ll Need

• Wooden beads of varying sizes • Paint • Paintbrushes • 30-inch chain or cord • A wooden dowel

CONGRATULATIONS

GRADS!

INVITATIONS • DECORATIONS • PARTY FAVORS • BALLOONS • PIÑATAS • CAKE SUPPLIES 12 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM


Fun Facts for Earthlings Earth, our home planet, is the only planet in its solar system known to harbor life.

How To

Learn about each planet’s size, color and unique features. Assign the varying wooden bead sizes to correlate to the planets (we used large beads for the sun, Jupiter and Saturn). Let kids get creative when recreating each planet’s atmosphere by layering colors or adding rings, clouds or craters. Painting round beads can be tricky, so use the wooden dowel to hold the beads in place and let them dry evenly. Stack them in order— (#teampluto)—on a sturdy chain, and you’ve got an out-of-this-world solar system necklace!

11218 N. RODNEY PARHAM RD. / LITTLE ROCK 501.223.4929

Earth is the third planet from the sun and the fifth largest in the solar system. The minimum weather temperature on Earth is -126 degrees and the maximum temperature is 136 degrees Fahrenheit. Earth is the only planet in the solar system not named after a mythological being. Instead, its name is derived from the Old English word "ertha" and the Anglo-Saxon word "erda," which means ground or soil. Earth was formed around 4.54 billion years ago. The highest point on Earth is Mount Everest, which reaches a height of 8.8 km. The lowest point, called Challenger Deep, is 10.9 km below sea level. There are many different types of objects found in the solar system including: one star; eight planets; five dwarf planets; 181 moons; 566,000 asteroids; and 3,100 comets. Source: National Geographic and theplanets.org.

4822 N. HILLS BLVD. / NORTH LITTLE ROCK 501.978.3154

• INVITATIONS • DECORATIONS • PARTY FAVORS • BALLOONS • PIÑATAS • CAKE SUPPLIES SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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mama said...

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In Support of Outdoor Play

oodness, what a cold, wet winter. And loooooong. My kids have been inside so much these last few months the edges of our Legos are worn. The Museum of Discovery has practically become our weekend home, and we’ve seen every kid movie out. At my house, we’re ready for fresh air and sunshine! It’s springtime in Arkansas, time to get up and get outside with our kids. Of course, the Scandinavians say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. Speaking of northern Europe, I’ve been reading a bit about the differences between the typical American and German styles of parenting. Did you know that most German kids are walking to school by themselves by second grade? Theirs is not what we would call free range parenting, it’s more like risk management training. Parents there put a high value on responsibility and selfsufficiency, and the prevailing wisdom is that overprotecting kids makes life more dangerous for them, not safer. They teach kids to mitigate risks to develop self-reliance. Even playgrounds are designed to be challenging, with six-foot jumps into the sand and freestyle bridges. I know what you’re thinking. These people have a total disregard for child safety. Right? But the thing is, they don’t. They’re worried about accidents or abductions, too. They understand children may fall. They know they will probably fail. The difference is they don’t let that fear dictate their parenting. They teach and prepare them to safely navigate the world alone. And it’s not just physical play. A high value is placed on discovering interests and passions as adults, on developing as human beings. As one author wrote, “Pressure is a dirty word. Playtime is key. Fresh air is everything.” Here at home, the issue of school recess has come up a lot lately, both in conversations and the news. Many parents and experts wish our elementary-age children had more recess time. Most schools have 20 minutes from bell to bell, and by the time they’re lined up, trotted outside, and then back in, that’s not much playtime for a six and a half-hour school day. “Why is playtime important?” one might ask. “Kids are supposed to be learning, not playing.” But experts agree recess is necessary for child development. It has shown to result in better grades,

memory and behavior. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 60 minutes of “moderate to vigorous activity per day,” and suggests recess be part of that. “Recess is a necessary break in the day for optimizing a child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development,” the group wrote. When I was in elementary school—okay, in the 80s— we had three recesses. Why only one now? Well, with the enactment of No Child Left Behind in 2002 and the more recent Common Core State Standards, there’s been increased emphasis on standardized testing as a measurement of student achievement. States have cut recess and replaced it with more in-class instruction. A 2007 study found that 62 percent of school districts had increased time spent on English and math since 2001, and 44 percent had reduced time spent on other subjects. The study also found that 20 percent had reduced elementary recess time. Here in Arkansas, 32 schools are participating in a pilot program as part of a 2017 law giving students at least an hour of unstructured physical activity during the school day. I’m hoping the pilot goes well, and the leaders of our great state recognize the many mental and physical benefits of recess and play. While I love this city very much, rearing my children in Little Rock is a vastly different experience than I had. I grew up on a working cattle ranch in southwest Arkansas, and was often left to play outside with hound dogs and dirt. My sister and I explored tadpole-filled ponds, fished alone and learned about the birds and bees from the birds and bees themselves. Hay bales and fallen trees were our playground equipment. I’m trying to find a happy medium between the childhood I had and the more sterile one my kids are exposed to now. Luckily, we live in a town with extraordinary outdoor spaces, and are only two hours away from the Buffalo River. There are plenty of ways to explore right here at home. The boulders at Riverfront and War Memorial parks are amazing. Crawdad hunting (or wading) in the creeks at Allsopp, Meriwether and Boyle parks are fun for kids of all ages. And Two Rivers park is one of our favorite places to explore the woods (mind the seed ticks) or sit in the sun as worries and stress are sent down the river aboard a passing barge.

MY PLAYGROUND CIRCA 1981.

Jen Holman is determined to be a voice of reason amongst reality TV and mom-judgment-gone-wild. Her newest novel (as yet unpublished) won the 2017 Rosemary award for excellence in young adult fiction. She lives in Little Rock with her husband and three (im)perfect children.

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Party house available for all ages!

SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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mind, body & soul

THE FACE OF

ADDICTION Heroin overdoses bring America’s drug epidemic close to home. Central Arkansas has seen its fair share of overdoses, and opioids don’t discriminate when it comes to race, gender or age. BY DWAIN HEBDA

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f there were any doubt the grip of drug abuse was tightening around the throat of the Natural State, the opening months of 2018 laid them to rest. Overdoses are up in a big way, and with them, deaths. Five people had died out of the 40 overdose calls Little Rock Police Department responded to by the first week of February. Among the calls, was a 16-year-old Central High School student who survived overdosing on heroin in a school bathroom. MEMS recently reported overdose calls jumped from 166 in 2016 to 330 in 2017, while local emergency room officials tell of seeing at least one overdose case per day. Statistics don’t fully capture the emotional toll the epidemic has taken on friends and loved ones. Cheyenne Matthews, 30, has trouble pinpointing the number of friends she’s lost to heroin just in the last six months. Off the top of her head, she estimates it’s as high as 10, including several of Little Rock’s most recent fatalities. “Some of these kids were teenagers. Some of them were beautiful, young 20-something-year-olds with their whole life ahead of them,” she said. “And some of them struggled throughout their 20s into their early 30s.” Matthews said today’s smack is far more powerful than in the past, which explains why experienced drug users and first-timers alike are overdosing. “This new, not-your-grandpa’s heroin, this new stuff you can’t just do a little bit and be OK. It’s just going to kill you. It’s when, and which time,” she said. “The saddest part to me aren’t the ones who have been doing this for years and then this bad strain took their life. It’s the younger people who had no idea this is actually a deadly drug. Not that it wasn’t before, because it could be deadly at any time, but this is for-sure deadly now. You’re guaranteed to die.” Dr. Caroline Morgan Ford, executive director of Wolfe Street Foundation and founder of the Dills House treatment facility in Little Rock, said changing perceptions among users have opened the door for wider use of hardcore drugs, even as a starting point. “The stigma is different. When we were growing up, if you had to use it in IV fashion there was some deeper sense of taboo that way,” she said. “These kids today, there’s no stigma.” “A lot of them never touch alcohol; they start with weed, so the bar is already lowered. And if you can take a lethal drug in a pill form, it lessens not only the fear, but it enables

it to masquerade as something more harmless.” Pushers reinforce this perception by the many ways heroin can be taken; a user doesn’t necessarily have to shoot up anymore, but can snort it, smoke it, take it in pill form or eat it in food. Ford said she’s heard of it cooked into M&M-style candy. Whatever the form, the results are the same. “Twenty years ago, chem-free houses would have been all alcoholics in their 40s and 50s. Now it’s opioid and heroin addicts in their 20s,” Ford said. “The intensity of the drugs have made people hit their bottom earlier.” “You can string alcohol out for three or four decades and abuse it, but when it comes to fentanyl, and morphine, and dilaudid, and synthetic heroin, you can’t experiment with that in your 20s and then keep experimenting with it by the time you’re 50. It takes you to hell more quickly.” State Drug Director Kirk Lane said the pervasiveness of today’s drugs is beginning to get the attention of parents, even those who previously couldn’t bring themselves to admit their kids are at risk. “Parents and people in the community don’t really educate themselves on the issue until it happens in their yard or on their street, or to somebody in their family,” he said. “Then it becomes personal and they begin to get engaged in trying to deal with the issue. I think that’s what we’re seeing now.” Lane said it’s counterproductive to lay blame in any one area; he said the situation is so dire that all attention must be paid on how to fix things going forward. “We created it, we can fix it,” he said. “If we don’t do something about it, we will be the first generation not to leave it better for the next generation. So we really need to put an emphasis on dealing with it. We need to work to affect the problem and stop pointing fingers at each other and point the fingers at ourselves about what we can do to fix this.” Matthews has taken up that very call. She’s given free haircuts to users who want to quit at her mobile salon The Southern Blonde, and met with others in the community about how to address the situation. She proudly points out that for as many people as she’s lost, an equal number have found help and gotten their lives back together. “One thing I want to make clear is that addiction doesn’t really have a face,” she said. “There can be people that are doing drugs all of the time and you can’t tell. They drive nice cars, they have a social life, they have friends. It looks like they have things going for them. “Addiction isn’t the homeless person on the side of the road. It looks like anybody.”

“ADDICTION ISN’T THE HOMELESS PERSON ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. IT LOOKS LIKE ANYBODY.”

SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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good eats

Slow Down for

FAST FOOD

Most kids love the novelty of fast food, but it’s scary to think about what goes into a lot of the products they sell as “food.” These simple, kid-friendly recipes will be your family’s new favorite “happy meals.” STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KERRY GUICE

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ooking at the nutritional information on a lot of the big chains’ websites will leave you scratching your head. How do some of their salads have so many calories? Do they just inject fat into lettuce!? I remember the first time my daughter had a fast-food hamburger, and she took a bite and then gave me a bewildered look and said, “I can’t chew this!” I was all at once punched in the gut with guilt for giving in to her, but also a little proud that she didn’t love it. Fast forward to today, when my kids are almost 7 and 9, and yes, we have fast food on occasion. But not often, and a lot of times when they do convince me to get them a kids’ meal, I quickly realize that they really just want the toy, as the fries go untouched and the burger is rarely finished. Some places are worse than others, but fast food is definitely not something I want to be a regular part of my family’s diet. Hamburgers, chicken nuggets and pizza don’t have to be full of greasy calories and cheap “meat.” When made at home, these meals can be just as fun, but full of nutrients! When eating these baked chicken nuggets, my son, Archer, said with a big smile, “There’s, like, actual chicken inside of these!” And I’d put my homemade pizza up against a $5 ina-warming-oven-for-hours pizza any day of the week! There are so many ways to hide veggies in a pizza! Next time the kids beg for fast food, pull out these recipes (and have them help!), and enjoy a nice, slow meal with your family that won’t leave you full of grease and regret.

18 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM


Baked Chicken Nuggets Makes 2 6-nugget servings

½ cup all purpose flour ½ cup almond meal (almond flour) 1½ teaspoons garlic powder ½ teaspoon mustard powder 1 teaspoon sea salt 2 eggs, beaten 1 large chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 12 equal chunks 2 tablespoons olive oil Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add the chunks of chicken to the flour mixture, then shake off excess flour and add to egg mixture, then again into the dry mix (I do this 6 chunks at a time). Carefully shake off the excess flour and place on a plate. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the nuggets on either side just until golden, then place on a cookie sheet and cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and fruit on the side. SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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Homemade Pizza For the dough (makes enough for 2 large pizzas): 2 cups very warm water 4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast 4 teaspoons sugar ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon sea salt 4½-5 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting countertop) For the sauce (makes about 2½ cups): 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ cup diced carrots ½ cup diced red pepper 1 can diced tomatoes ¾ teaspoon salt 2 cloves garlic ½ teaspoon oregano ½ teaspoon onion powder 3 tablespoons tomato paste Fresh herbs (optional) In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, add the warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir together and let sit between 3-6 minutes, or until the yeast “blooms,” making the top of the water foamy and smelling yeasty. Add the olive oil and salt, then stir. Turn the mixer on low, and add the flour ½ cup at a time. You may only need 4½ cups, but add only 1 tablespoon at a time after that just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl then coat that same bowl with a little olive oil. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a dish towel, and put in a warm place for up to two hours, or until doubled in size (to reduce rising time by half, set your oven to 170, and when it reaches that temperature, *turn the oven off* and place the covered dough bowl in the oven with the door cracked open). While the dough is rising, make the sauce. In a pot over medium heat, sautee the carrots, garlic and bell pepper with the olive oil and seasoning until the carrots are soft (lower the heat if garlic starts to brown too quickly). This should take about 7-10 minutes depending on how small you dice your carrots. When carrots are softened, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and stir, cooking for just another 2-3 minutes. Let cool and add to food processor and puree. If using fresh herbs, add to the food processor before pureeing. When dough is ready, punch down and place on a floured countertop. Make into an oval ball, then cut into two equal pieces. (Note: If you only need one pizza, make the other dough ball into a nice round ball, cover with a little olive oil, and place in a gallon freezer bag and store in the freezer for another time. Just set it out on the counter the morning you want to use it and it will thaw by the time you’re ready to make dinner). Roll the dough into a large circle and carefully place on pizza pan. Top with sauce, cheese and your favorite toppings, bake 7-10 minutes. I like using turkey pepperoni for a less greasy pizza. Tips for a healthier pizza: Peel and grate just the flesh (not the seedy middle) of a small yellow squash, and mix that into the cheese! It will melt into the cheese and you won’t even be able to taste it!


cover story

22 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM


A Shoulder to Lean On Angeletta Giles hasn’t missed a beat since her 10-year-old daughter, Londyn, was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at age 4. She was ready to accept the challenge, and has since found a calling in helping other families of special needs children. BY AMY GORDY PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATIE CHILDS AND COURTESY GILES SHOT ON LOCATION AT LOBLOLLY CREAMERY

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A

ngeletta Giles has a uniquely qualified shoulder to lean on, and it’s easy to see why. With her patient, understanding temperament, she’s the one who parents from all corners of the country will call— any hour of the day or night—to help talk them through the hard times. Angeletta’s journey began with the excitement of being pregnant at the same time as her sister. The sisters gave birth, and as the cousins grew up, Angeletta noticed her baby niece, Kristyn, was developing at a faster rate than Londyn. “I could see that Kristyn was talking when Londyn wasn’t and I thought, ‘Oh, she’ll catch up.’ At Londyn’s 18-month check up the pediatrician asked me how many words she had and I couldn’t tell her any, so she suggested we get an evaluation,” Angeletta said. After a home evaluation that finally took place at age 2½, Angeletta was told Londyn was ‘fine’ and it was recommended that she just enroll in preschool and should eventually catch up. Angeletta enrolled her daughter in school, but kept a close eye on her development. “Her pre-K 3 teacher, Ms. Doris, was so loving and patient. Londyn had never been with kids before, and she would cry and cry, so Ms. Doris would sit and hold her all day long. That’s what she needed during that time, and sometimes you just have to focus on what a child needs at that moment,” Angeletta said. In 2011, at age 4, Londyn was still only speaking in one-word phrases and Angeletta knew she needed more than just preschool. She enrolled Londyn at North Hills Services, a child developmental center that provides specialized therapies for children with developmental disabilities, and started on her path to getting Londyn the therapy she needed. “There was an autism specialist at North Hills whom I still talk to. By that time the school where I was teaching had closed, so I was a stayat-home mom. I was just sitting up at her school for an hour every day, and they found me a job as PTA president. They really loved Londyn and helped me navigate what we needed to do for her.” Londyn was officially diagnosed in January 2012 by Dr. Maya Lopez at Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Dennis Developmental Center, a clinic that specializes in the assessment of developmental conditions in children. “Dr. Lopez likes to keep up with her kids—she wants to see them every year. She said she was so overwhelmed with the love that Londyn and I shared. She asked what I did for a living, and I wasn’t working

24 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM

(FROM TOP) LONDYN, 16 MONTHS; LONDYN, 9, HAVING FUN WITH HER G-PA, BERNARD BROADNAX SR.; AND LONDYN, 10, WITH HER FATHER, DEITRIC GILES, AT A FATHER/DAUGHTER DANCE.


Comprehensive Autism Services

Evaluations • Therapies • Medication Parent Support • Academic Advocacy • Social Skills

Arkansas Families First clinicians are specialists in treating and assessing children, teens, and families. Each clinician has his or her own specialized niche, making for a diverse group of experts who collaborate on quality care for AFF patients. Our staff is devoted to unlocking the full potential of children and families.

501-812-4268 • ARFAMILIESFIRST.COM North Little Rock and Conway • Most Insurances Accepted SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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at the time. I was spending my time researching, trying to find out what Londyn needs, but I told her what I wanted to do is advocate for families and be a shoulder to cry on. I wanted to be the person someone knows they can call. She said ‘OK lets do that. And I said, Ok.’” Dr. Lopez reached back out to Angeletta within a week and the plans for Parent Advocates for Awesome Kids (PAAK) began to form. “I just sat in my bed and typed my vision. For the long term it was relationships, it was being positive when there is so much negativity. I didn’t realize the impact just the word ‘autism’ could have. I started realizing in conversations that parents were really struggling. They were struggling with the word—It’s not a death sentence—and the negativity of the word had them shut down.” Angeletta was able to pull from her unique experience of being a minority at the ‘table’ in many ways to help other parents. “When I first sat at the table I was the only one with a

daughter. Research has shown autism in boys is a lot different than with girls. A lot of times I was the only black woman. Most of the time, I was the only single mom,” Angeletta said. She’s open to sharing her experiences coparenting after divorce with a special needs child, and even hopes to write a book on the topic one day. Until that time, she shares whatever she can through PAAK with phone calls, emails and seminars to help other parents who are struggling. “I was taking two different journeys during Londyn’s diagnosis. I was becoming a single mom and becoming a mom of a child with special needs all at once. I’m proud of my

PAAK is gearing up for two of its biggest annual events, Strike Out Autism, a bowling fundraiser at Professor Bowl on April 29, and Super Moms Pampering Party, a day of luxurious pampering for 20 moms of special needs kids on May 27. Find more information on these events at facebook.com/paakarkansas.

26 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM

(FROM LEFT) LONDYN, 8, WITH FORMER FIRST LADY OF ARKANSAS GINGER BEEBE AT THE AUTISM WALK.; LONDYN, 8, WITH DR. MAYA LOPEZ, HER DEVELOPMENTAL PEDIATRICIAN; AND LONDYN, 8, PERFORMING AT THE NCA CHEER COMPETITION.

journey. By me being in this sensitive, yet awesome situation it just opened the door for me to receive people and really see things. Autism doesn’t see color, economic status or religion. I’ve met with the rich and famous with autism and they were just as lost as the person with no money.” Through PAAK, Angeletta has been able to connect with parents across the globe. “I had a mom from Germany call before; recently a mom in West Virginia reached out and said, ‘I saw your daughter online, and I’m having problems.’ I talk and text with these women. I’m available anytime for them.”


Angeletta’s education and career background also uniquely qualify her for the journey she’s on. She has a master’s degree in education and has worked as a teacher, pre-school director and district behavioral specialist/supervisor. Since founding PAAK she’s been a part of several statewide committees. She’s been a member of the Parent Advisory Council for Little Rock School District and an advisory council member for the Education of Children with Disabilities. She’s worked with Autism Speaks, Autism Treatment Network, and been a member of the parent advisory council for Little Rock School District. Through all of her advocacy, PAAK is still her biggest passion, along with raising Londyn. When asked how Londyn is doing, Angeletta’s face absolutely lights up. Londyn, 10, is a thriving fourth grade student at Don R. Roberts Elementary School. She’s well liked among her peers and is passionate about cheering on the special needs squad at Cheer City United. “Londyn is a kind-hearted soul; she’s really in tune with how people feel. I’m raising a child that loves Jesus and loves his people too. If you appear sad, she’s not afraid to approach you, and she’s going to ask if you are OK. I lead a small group at my church and we go out to strangers and tell them they are valued and loved by Jesus. One time we were at McCain Mall and there was a soldier in fatigues and she goes up to him and it just echoes through the whole mall, ‘Bless this man and thank you and protect him, Lord.’ I get such a benefit to see my child really love people.” Londyn is following in her mother’s advocacy footsteps. As an Arkansas Children’s Hospital Ambassador, the two have had some great experiences, including the time Londyn sang the national anthem on the steps of the state capitol in front of 25,000 people for the Autism Walk. “I love that I can say I’m doing something I love. One day soon I know PAAK will have a staff, but right now it’s just me and Londyn. It’s been an incredible journey and a team effort.”

LONDYN, 10, AND ANGELETTA AT THE WSA CHEER COMPETITION

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BRADY'S BREAKTHROUGH

With patience, hard work and life changing local resources Brady Richardson finds his stride BY DWAIN HEBDA PHOTOS COURTESY OF LEAH RICHARDSON

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eah Richardson laughs out loud telling of her son, Brady, recently informing her of his career plans. “His dream job is to work at the zoo,” she said. “He just wrote a paper about it. It was hilarious. It was so funny. He wants to take care of and feed the animals.” Leah’s giggles have less to do with Brady’s choice of jobs and more to do with the unbridled joy she feels over her son’s aspiration. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that even simple dreams seemed an unfathomable luxury. “He wasn’t talking at 5 and now he’s 10 and I can just have a regular conversation with him. That’s what’s so awesome,” she said. “There’s hope for me now that he might have typical development, you know?” Leah and her husband, Michael, knew something was amiss with their son after 18 months of missed developmental milestones. Brady seemed to know it too, and his frustration would frequently bubble over in the most heartbreaking way. “The worst symptom was, he would get frustrated and hit his head on any wall or hard surface,” Leah said. “It was as if he were trying to take the information and trying to put something out, yet he couldn’t communicate.” Leah, a nurse, knew something of the ins and outs of the state’s health care system and started Brady on speech and occupational therapy when he was 1 year old. She also recognized the need for a formal diagnosis as a prerequisite for additional therapy and services. In between, she and Michael settled in to serve Brady’s needs the best way they knew how. “The hardest thing for us was not being able to communicate with him effectively when he was that young,” she said. “Seeing other kids hit those milestones when your child wasn’t was very, very hard. Life was really a struggle from about age of 3 to 5; he only spoke maybe 10 words.”

28 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM

BRADY AND MOM LEAH RICHARDSON

When Brady was officially diagnosed on the autism spectrum at age 3, Leah and Michael finally knew what they were dealing with, but it didn’t make the slap of reality any easier to take. “It takes a while to kind of swallow the fact that hey, this is the road you’re going down,” Leah said. “It’s hard to find a place where you belong during that time, socially. We would be out eating and my son would be underneath the table and the waiter said, ‘Do you realize you have a kid underneath the table?’ I said, ‘Yes, he’s doing just fine there. He feels protected.’” At age 5, Brady was accepted into the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) waiver program of the Arkansas Autism Partnership. Children accepted into the program, sponsored by the University of Arkansas, receive up to 30 hours per week of intensive therapy services lasting two to three years. For Brady, the results were nothing short of astonishing.


“When we started the waiver program our lives literally turned around,” Leah said. “We had what was diagnosed as a severely autistic child and they were almost reversing his condition. He was speaking, he was communicating. We could go places and he wouldn’t have tantrums. We could do things.” The progress wasn’t without work. Brady was initially reluctant to go along with any of the therapists’ instructions, but once on board he made dramatic strides, even out in public. “What ABA does is, it starts in the home and then it takes what the child has learned in the home and we would go places, whether it was the grocery store or McDonald’s,” Leah said. “He would have to order what he wanted and exchange the money. It was tough for him, it was tough on all of us at first, but then he just did so wonderfully with it.” Brady’s development got another shot in the arm through Access Schools in Little Rock where he’s rapidly making up ground on his academic progress. “He’s been at Access for two years. He’s reading, he’s writing and we can have a real conversation,” she said. “For us, Access is wonderful.” Brady still has a long way to go and his parents don’t kid themselves about that, but they’re thankful for the progress that has been made. They’ve learned right alongside of him how to better relate, and how a few simple accommodations can yield big things in the real world. “Getting into the community, we wouldn’t go to McDonald’s at peak hours, we would go when it was maybe not as busy,” Leah said. “We really appreciate people who are able to recognize something was going on if I said, ‘OK, just give him a minute.’ We learned where those people were and we knew which restaurants to go to that would be better for him.” As for other families on the same journey, Leah’s advice is clear and direct—ask for help. “Parents like us, you have to have some alone time or respite,” she said. “We have a few family members that could take Brady and would be just fine with him while we went to a movie or whatever. It’s important during the hard times to have family and a few friends who really understand.”

ADVERTORIAL

Little Rock Psychologist Explains the Value of Comprehensive Evaluations When Diagnosing Children and Adolescents with Language or Learning Disabilities Sabine Falls, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist and Director, ACCESS® Evaluation and Research Center Industry/Field of Expertise: Psychology Association: ACCESS

Business Phone: 501-217-8600 Website: AccessGroupInc.org accessgroupinc

@accessgroupinc

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Q: My child’s teacher has expressed concern that my child may have a language or learning disability. Is this common? Children can experience academic difficulties for a variety of different reasons. It is important to get a good understanding of why the child is struggling. One possibility is that the child has a learning disability. This is actually not as rare as most people think. One in five children have some kind of learning or attention disorder, and it does not mean that this child cannot be academically successful. With appropriate intervention, the child can become a successful learner.

Q: I want to make sure my child gets the help they need to be successful. What do I do next to ensure I help her get on the right track? The first, most important step is to find out why your child is struggling. This can be a complicated process because most children do not fit neatly in a single category. A comprehensive evaluation that looks at all possible factors contributing to the difficulties is of utmost importance. I like to compare these assessments to ‘detective work’, because they involve analyzing different aspects such as language, cognitive skills, fine motor skills, emotional concerns such as anxiety, or peer problems.

Q: Where can my child go for a comprehensive evaluation? Comprehensive evaluations may be conducted at a variety of places. The staff at the ACCESS® Evaluation and Resource Center (AERC) in Little Rock performs comprehensive evaluations for children, teenagers, and young adults diagnosing disabilities such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), specific learning disorders, autism spectrum orders, and more. Our evaluators are also experienced in diagnosing and treating children who are suspected of having anxiety and depression. To learn more about scheduling your child for an evaluation, talk with her pediatrician or call ACCESS at 501.217.8600 to speak with an admissions specialist. BRADY AND DAD MICHAEL RICHARDSON SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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AUTISM RESOURCE GUIDE ACCESS®

ACCESS Stella Boyle Smith Early Childhood Campus 10618 Breckenridge Drive, Little Rock

ACCESS Academy and Young Adult Campus 1500 N. Mississippi St., Little Rock 501-217-8600, accessgroupinc.org

ACCESS® offers evaluation services, full-time education, therapy, training and activities for individuals with special needs ages 6 weeks through adulthood. Programs include the ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center, ACCESS Early Childhood, ACCESS Academy, ACCESS Therapy, ACCESS Academic Therapy (specialized tutoring), ACCESS Life (a young adults community-based program), and Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative in partnership with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (a ten month internship program for young adults with developmental disabilities).

30 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM

AIM Clinics

Allied Therapy

AIM Clinics is Arkansas’s premiere provider of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for children with autism. AIM Clinics was founded by a mother of two children with autism who became a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) after she saw firsthand how ABA helped her own children. Applied behavior analysis is widely recognized as one of the safest and most effective treatments for individuals with autism. ABA is currently the only autism therapy recommended for long-term benefit by the United States Surgeon General and the only therapy scientifically proven to move children up, and even off, the autism spectrum. AIM Clinics offers ABA therapy both in our clinic in Bryant or in our clients’ homes to maximize the therapy’s efficacy and minimize the burden on our families. We also offer training for our parents so they can continue using the principles of ABA to help their child thrive in any situation. At AIM Clinics, we AIM to unlock potential, realize dreams and feel like family. To find out more about joining the AIM family, schedule a free informational consultation at aimclinics.com.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital Autism Multispecialty Clinic

Lander's Corporate Plaza, Ste. 1100B 22461 I-30 Frontage Road, Bryant 501-574-3053, aimclinics.com

1500 Wilson Loop Road, Ward 501-941-5630, allied-therapy.com Location in North Little Rock

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.


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 Other locations in Hot Springs and Sheridan

Beyond Boundaries

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

Beyond Speech

16607 Cantrell Road, Ste. 6, Little Rock 501-944-5968

Schedule a free consultation today. 501-574-3053 | aimclincs.com

Butterfly Learning Center

9720 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock 501-228-3868, ucpcark.org The mission of the Butterfly Learning Center is to offer high quality early intervention and early childhood services in an integrated, inclusive preschool setting to improve the lives of children with and without disabilities. We strive to provide an accepting, safe and developmentally appropriate environment for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Our staff is well trained in early childhood education and we offer occupational, speech and physical therapy to qualifying children. We maintain low child to staff ratios of 1:4 (6 weeks to 3 years old) and 1:7 (3 to 5 years old). Our focus is to provide a loving and stimulating early care and education experience which promotes each child’s social-emotional, physical and cognitive development so they are ready to successfully enter kindergarten and have a strong foundation to be life-long learners.

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First Step Arkansas

407 Carson St., Hot Springs 501-624-6468, firststeparkansas.com

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 prevention, intervention and treatment services for children ages 0 to 26 and their families. Programs address typical family issues, as well as specialized areas such as socially/emotionally challenged or at-risk youth, children with learning differences, foster families and more. The organization offers general and specialized parenting classes, outpatient counseling, school-based behavioral health counseling, therapeutic foster homes programming, day treatment, partial hospitalization and residential inpatient services.

Most of us are affected to some degree by family members or friends who have some form of disability. First Step is here to help improve the quality of life in 27 Arkansas counties by helping those with developmental disabilities become more independent. Established in 1958, First Step is a place where children and adults with developmental disabilities receive treatment and therapeutic service in a community setting. The professional staff of First Step includes compassionate people with a number of talents and abilities and a variety of educational backgrounds. We are dedicated to join forces with you and your physician to design a personalized, effective plan of action that will be the best fit for your child or loved one. All of our therapists maintain current Arkansas licensing in his or her particular discipline. Developmental treatment services for children are overseen by certified teachers working as development treatment coordinators. Many of our instructors (paraprofessionals) have their CDA (Child Development Associate) degree, and all are encouraged to obtain it. We also have registered nurses and master’s level counselors on staff. Our support personnel—including van drivers, escorts, etc.—are trained to the highest level necessary to perform their particular jobs with excellence.

Friendship Community Care 908 N. Reynolds Road, Bryant 501-847-9711, fccare.org Several locations throughout the state

Empire Cheerleading

TERS FOR YOUTH AND FAMILIES 3524 Alcoa Road, Benton 501-574-6078, empirecheerleading.com

Expert Psychological Evaluations full continuum of care to overcome trauma 425 W. Capitol Ave., Ste. 235, Little Rock, 501-444-2688, psychological-evaluations.com

Inc. asses Families, 1507 E. Race, Searcy familiesinc.net ervices501-305-2359, Offers 11 locations across Northeast, North Central and Central Arkansas. d Services nt Services Foster Homes Program ecovery Program talization npatient Care: Little Rock & Monticello 32 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM

www.CFYF.org

Hearts and Hooves

2308 Kellogg Acres Road, Sherwood 501-834-8509, heartsandhooves.com

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

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


Methodist Family Health

Pediatrics Plus

Methodist Counseling Clinics, a service of Methodist Family Health, offers comprehensive assessment and treatment services for behavioral, emotional, learning and adjustment difficulties. For autism, we provide psychological testing, parent support and education, and resources for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

The Academy at Riverdale

1600 Aldersgate Road, Little Rock, 501-661-0720, methodistfamily.org

SERVICES • Individual, family and group counseling services • Registered play therapists • Grief and trauma specialists • Medication consultation and management • Board certified psychiatrists and child psychiatrists • Case management • Behavior management planning and techniques • School-based counseling services in select cities • Access to other inpatient, outpatient and residential programs within the Methodist Family Health Continuum of Care Referrals to the Methodist Counseling Clinics can come from parents and guardians, primary care physicians, pediatricians, teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, juvenile courts and the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Pathfinder, Inc.

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

2740 College Ave., Conway 501-329-5459, pediatricsplus.com Locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Russellville 1600 Riverfront Drive, Little Rock 501-663-6965, academyatriverdale.com

The Allen School

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

UAMS Kids First

333 Executive Court, Little Rock 501-526-8700, arpediatrics.org/kidsfirst Offers 11 locations throughout the state

Up Therapy

2312 Durwood Road, Little Rock 501-313-5973, uptherapyar.com

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Photo by Jeff Smithwick

(CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) KATHERINE WILSON HAND BUILDS DURING A POTTERY CLASS AT THE INNOVATION HUB; KYLEIGH'S LEMONADE STAND SERVES A DELICIOUS PINK LEMONADE RECIPE AND MORE; (FROM LEFT) Y.E.S. COMPETITORS ALIA KEARBEY, DAKOTA HEIKES, CAROLINE MITCHELL AND NATALIE WYATT OF CALICO ROCK DISPLAY THEIR BEDSIDE SICKY KADDIE; AND Y.E.S COMPETITORS (FROM LEFT) JULIAN CAMPOS, JOSE AZUA, HARPREET SINGH AND TERETHA KELLEY SHOW OFF THEIR 4TH PLACE BEST BUSINESS PLAN AWARDS.

34 APRIL 2018 | SAVVYKIDSAR.COM


Career Kids Meet one of Little Rock’s own kid biz phenoms, and learn more about how Arkansas is working to inspire the next generation of business owners BY ANGELA E. THOMAS

T

he lemonade stand … it’s as American as apple pie. In fact, this form of kid entrepreneurship dates back to 1879, when it was first reported by the New York Times. Fast forward to the 21st century where children as young as 4½ are launching businesses with great returns. One such youngster is Kyleigh. This pretty little ball of energy launched Kyleigh’s Lemonade Stand last May. “It’s important that I teach Kyleigh how to be an entrepreneur,” said Gabrielle Williams, the 7-year-old’s mother. “She’s young, but with this business she’s learning how to count money, build a savings and run a business.” Williams owns an online boutique, so she understands the principles she’s teaching her daughter. “I saw my Mommy doing her business, and I wanted to do a business too,” Kyleigh said. The business began in 2016 with a lemonade stand in Williams’ parent’s front yard. “It was something for her to do during the summer. You know, kids get bored in the summer,” Williams said. “We did well with the small stand, and that inspired our vision to expand. The food truck allows Kyleigh’s business to be mobile.” Soon afterward, Kyleigh was featured on “Good Morning America.” The video went viral and has had more than 3 million views—and it’s all been uphill from there. The daughter-mother duo took the winter off; however, they’re already booking parties for this spring and summer. Hearing about the success of others is often just the spark that budding entrepreneurs need. Author and Arkansan Erica Swallow hopes to provide that catalyst through her EntrepreneurKid series. It’s a series of four books that tell the stories of four kid business owners: Gabrielle Goodwin, owner, Gabby’s Bows; Jason Li, owner, iReTron; Sebastian Martinez, owner, Are You Kidding Socks; and Rachel Zietz, owner, Gladiator Lacrosse. “I kept seeing these headlines about young kids’ businesses. They were intriguing, but I was frustrated by the way the media sensationalized their stories. My goal is to normalize the idea of entrepreneurship for kids,” Swallow said. “There are quite a few kids starting businesses. It’s easy now.

SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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Kids are some of the greatest creators in the world, and many of them are starting businesses to solve problems they see around them.” This type of ingenuity is just what Arkansas Capital Corporation hopes to inspire. Each year since 2006, the company’s nonprofit affiliate Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation has sponsored the Youth Entrepreneur Showcase, or Y.E.S. “The showcase gets young people thinking about starting businesses by solving problems in the marketplace,” said Leslie G. Lane III, executive vice president, COO and president of affiliates. “The students who participate in the competition look at the world a bit differently than you and I, and this competition encourages them to look at everyday life and to find a better way to do things. It’s a process. They go from the inventor phase, then take their inventions to the next step to see how people can use them.” Lane said Y.E.S. competitors generally begin with simple ideas, such as addressing the issue of backpacks in classrooms. For instance, students bring their backpacks in the classrooms and hang them on chair backs or lay them on the floor. This causes a safety hazard, creates crowding and a distraction, so a student created a backpack tower. “Another year, a student created a lamp shade with compartments so his family would have some place to put their change and the contents of the pockets when coming home at the end of the day,” Lane said. “Our goal is to empower them. It’s up to the student to figure out the problem and its solution.” Students from schools, after-school programs, churches and other organizations form teams of two to six members, put together a business plan, which includes details of their innovation/product, how they plan to market it, the cost and more. The top 25 teams participate in Expo Day, during which they set up a booth at Park Plaza in Little Rock and show off and sell their products. The students compete in the categories of best business plan, best marketing, best retail booth and most innovative. “They receive feedback from the judges and it validates their efforts and helps them believe in what they’re doing,” Lane said. Of course, taking an idea from concept to actuality takes a bit of hands-on work, and that’s just what youngsters do at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock. “We introduce youth to all kinds of tools to help them bring their ideas to fruition,” said Errin Stanger, director of programs, membership and events for the Hub. “This includes laser cutters, 3D printers, a ceramics studio, a screen printing studio … we have a good number of tools necessary to start a business. Along with this, we also teach life skills as well as workforce development. We help kids turn their hobbies into businesses.” Currently, 65 children, ages 10 to 17, gather after school each Tuesday through Thursday for weekly art and “make” sessions.

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Photo by Jeff Smithwick

“We blur the lines between the makers and the artists. For instance, our art students can design a piece and use an etching tool to cut that work into wood,” Stanger said. This summer, the Hub will host a summer camp for children 8 to 17 years old. Older youth may purchase a 2018 Creative Teen Art membership, which is $75 per week; they gain access to the Hub’s tools and participate in workshops and free time to create. The Hub as well as the Y.E.S. competition provide judgment-free zones in which the children flourish. “They’re out-of-the-box thinkers, who don’t know what they don’t know. They’re passionate about their ideas and apply a simplistic approach,” Lane said. And, he added, while competing, they also learn how to collaborate, assign roles, and perform team work. Speaking of teams, Swallow noted that while each of the youth entrepreneurs is creative, they have something in common: parents who, like Williams, back their children and invest time, energy and money into their children’s dreams.

(OPPOSITE PAGE FROM TOP) ALL PARTICIPANTS IN Y.E.S., (FROM LEFT) DAVID ADAMS, JABRAYLN MOORE AND CHRISTIAN SIMMONS; ANU IYER OF FOREST HEIGHTS STEM ACADEMY PRESENTS ECO BAGZ; (FROM LEFT) SADIE CONDREY, DARBIE GRISSOM AND PAYTON BOHLER OF SHERIDAN INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL PRESENT PET LUV SWEATER BEDS; AND. (ABOVE) ARITSTS AND MAKERS WORK SIDE BY SIDE AT THE INNOVATION HUB. (RIGHT) ERICA SWALLOW'S ENTREPRENEURKID BOOK SERIES INSPIRES YOUNG CREATORS. SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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mom approved

BEING A MOTHER BRINGS ABOUT A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE DAILY—NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU PLAN FOR YOUR DAY AHEAD OF TIME. THOUGH I GET A LOT DONE, I SOMETIMES FEEL THAT I’M NOT DOING ENOUGH. WHEN MY MIND IS RUNNING RAMPANT, I LISTEN TO THE CHORUS OF THE SONG "UNDER CONTROL" BY THE INTERNET.

I HAVE TO HAVE A NOTEBOOK AND PEN WITH ME ALWAYS. I DO A LOT OF WRITING!

Maya Ellington

IS A MOM TO LONDON VINEÉ, PART OF THE SPECIAL REPORTS TEAM FOR THE VA HOSPITAL, A MAKEUP ARTIST, AND SHE BLOGS ON HER OFF TIME. SHE WAS BORN AND RAISED IN FORT SILL, OKLA., BEFORE MOVING TO LITTLE ROCK IN 2001. SHE FREQUENTS DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK AND CONSIDERS THE AREA ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND PEACEFUL PLACES IN THE WORLD.

I OWN SO MANY MAKEUP PRODUCTS, INCLUDING MORE THAN 200 MAKEUP BRUSHES! EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT IS A CHILD OF MINE, AND I KEEP A VERY CLOSE WATCH OVER EVERYTHING. SOME OF MY FAVORITE BRANDS ARE: LANCOME, BECCA, AJ CRIMSON, MAKEUP REVOLUTION AND MAKE UP FOREVER.

MERYLL BEAUTY PRODUCTS ARE THERAPY FOR THE FACE. ALL SKIN TYPES CAN USE EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT AS THE FORMULA IS A PH BALANCER. THIS LINE WAS CREATED BY MATCHA MERYLL, AND IT’S BASED IN LITTLE ROCK AND SOLD AT DRUG EMPORIUM!

MY GO-TO COCKTAIL WHEN I’M THE BARTENDER IS A CREATION BY MY FRIEND, J. RASHAD, WE CALL IT "GREEN TEA." IT’S A MIXTURE OF PEACH SCHNAPPS, SOUR MIX AND JAMESON.

THE ECM 87 GAUGE MICROPHONE IS THE SHINIEST ITEM IN MY POSSESSION, AND I LOVE IT. WHEN MY DAUGHTER IS ASLEEP AND I’M NOT BLOGGING, YOU CAN CATCH ME RECORDING MUSIC IN MY ROOM. I LOVE TO WRITE SONGS AND VOCAL PRODUCE FOR OTHERS.

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SELF CARE AND CURIOSITY KEEPS ME SANE! LAST SEPTEMBER, I LAUNCHED "THE M BLOG," WHICH HAS GIVEN ME THE CONFIDENCE TO CREATE CONTENT FOR OTHER ARTISTS. LAST MONTH, I JOINED FORCES WITH ONE OF OUR GREATEST LOCAL MUSICIANS, JONATHAN BURKS, TO TEST MYSELF AS A CONTENT CREATOR AND SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER.


PUBLIC EDUCATION: PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES

Pulaski County Special School District

TWO NEW SCHOOLS

OPENING 2018 pcssd.org

Mills University Studies High School Joe T. Robinson Middle School

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OPENING FALL 20 KEITH SYKES LIVE! TWO PERFORMANCES 2PM & 4PM

PRESENTED BY

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COME SHOP MORE THAN 125 ARKANSAS ARTISANS AND CRAFTSPEOPLE! SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2018 AT WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM IN LITTLE ROCK TICKETS AT THE DOOR: $5 10 A.M. TO 7 P.M.

PROUDLY SERVING: DIAMOND BEAR BEER ROCK TOWN DISTILLERY VODKA SCREWDRIVERS & BLOODY MARYS

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT RICK TILLEY AT 501.537.5224 OR RICKEY.TILLEY@ARKANSAS.GOV ArkansasMadeArkansasProudMarket SAVVYKIDSAR.COM | APRIL 2018

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SAVVY | April 2018  
SAVVY | April 2018