THE LIFESTYLE MANUAL FOR THE MODERN MOM
FROM THE DIAGNOSIS TO THE DAY-TO-DAY, TWO CENTRAL ARKANSAS MOMS SHARE THEIR STORIES OF STRENGTH AND FAMILY
JANUARY 2015 路 THESAVVYMOMS.COM
SPECIAL NEEDS ISSUE INFORMATION & INSPIRATION
JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
I AM THE AEA
Kathy Powers is focused – on the success of her students, profession and community.
fifth grade literacy teacher at Carl Stuart Middle School in Conway, Powers has always loved learning. As a fifth grade student herself, she loved math and science, and as a college student, she excelled in her classes without a firm major in mind. It was when her professors suggested that she consider teaching as a career that it all fell into place. “I had always been organized and confident – even as a child,” Powers said. “I absolutely loved to learn, and when my instructors asked if I had ever thought of being a teacher, it all made sense. I majored in sociology with a minor in education. I get to pursue both now.” Powers began her career in Chapel Hill, North Carolina teaching first grade, which she did for 10 years. After moving to Conway in 1998, she switched to teaching literacy to fifth grade students. “Each has their own challenges,” Powers said. “With first grade, it’s a lot more physical – sitting in the floor, wiping noses, getting down on your knees to hear what a shy student is saying. With fifth grade, you have to be more agile mentally. They’re different, but I enjoy them both.” Then there are the adults. As if Powers didn’t have enough to do, she also teaches online with the University of Phoenix, and prior to that post, she was an adjunct professor at the University of Central Arkansas. Powers views her profession as the foundation for the success of the community. “Teaching takes every bit of focus I have,” she said. “My only goal is to create an environment where my students feel safe and can learn. This means I have to be aware of what is going on with them both in my class and when they leave. The Arkansas Education Association keeps up with what is going on in our profession and communicates that with our community of educators. With the AEA on watch, I have the time I need to focus on teaching my students instead of wondering what is happening with legislation, policy and benefits.” In particular, Powers appreciates that the AEA amplifies her voice as a teacher and professional. “I have been a member of the Arkansas Education Association since I moved here more than 15 years ago, and I was a member of the education association in college and where I taught in Chapel Hill,” Powers said. “You would never ask a lawyer why she is a member of the bar association because she is viewed as a professional. Educators are professionals in the same way,
and we need an entity to serve as our voice and go to bat for us if we need it.” Part of what the AEA provides teachers like Powers is training, meetings and workshops that help educators to stay abreast of teaching trends and support professional camaraderie. The AEA also provides expert legal representation and $1 million in liability insurance to protect members against the unlikely possibility of lawsuits. “I appreciate the AEA in pursuing an active role in the Arkansas legislature and fighting for the best possible conditions for this state’s students and association members,” Powers said. “It’s what teachers need and what we deserve. They are knowledgeable about the issues teachers face, and they can answer our questions when we have them. I know that if I need something, they will back me up.”
1500 W. 4th St. Little Rock 501.375.4611 aeaonline.org THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
JANUARY ON THE COVER: MANDY HILL AND HER SON HUNTER HIT THE FIELD IN POYEN. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT.
FROM THE DIAGNOSIS TO THE DAY-TO-DAY, TWO CENTRAL ARKANSAS MOMS SHARE THEIR STORIES OF STRENGTH AND FAMILY
SPECIAL NEEDS ISSUE
JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
FEMME FINANCE FINANCIAL EDUCATION SPECIAL NEEDS RESOURCE GUIDE GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
ATHLETIC OPPORTUNITIES VITAMIN FOR LIFE
JANUARY HAPPENINGS ART THERAPY SPECIAL NEEDS PHILANTHROPY
INFORMATION & INSPIRATION
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www.edwardsfoodgiant.com THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
LETTER FROM THE
LEARNING TO FLY
Before I came to this magazine, I worked for a nonprofit that served adults who are blind or visually impaired. Watching people arrive unable to navigate the campus—let alone the outside world—and with little to no technology know-how, and in just a few determined months leave with the ability to travel independently and compete for professional careers like any sighted person, was beyond inspiring. It made me think twice before saying the words “I can’t.” Working on this issue has been equally uplifting. Spending time with our two featured families was an absolute joy. Ball of energy Hunter Hill took art director Patrick Jones to task in a little game of one-on-one during the photo shoot, while little Stella Shirley absolutely enchanted photographer Sara Blancett and me on a recent sunny afternoon exploring the grounds at her school, Pediatrics Plus. As you’ll soon discover through their stories, both kids have amazing moms who are the epitome of grace and strength. This issue is filled with lots of information on everything from new therapies and services to how to talk to your kids about their sibling or friend who has special needs. And in our resource guide, you’ll find listings for education, healthcare, recreation, advocacy and other important contacts for families with special needs. Even if the subject of special needs doesn’t apply to you and your family directly, chances are you know someone for whom it does. Many of the organizations that serve families with special needs are nonprofits and rely on donations of time and money to provide their services. Nonprofit organizations in our resource guide are noted with an asterisk, and you can learn more about ways to help on page 48. I hope you find as much inspiration on these pages as we did.
MEL JONES, EDITOR MELANIE@ARKTIMES.COM
JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
Directions to Rivendell: 100 Rivendell Drive | Benton, AR 72019
Changing seasons, changing lives…
From Little Rock, take I-30 West toward Hot Springs/Texarkana • Take exit 121 (Alcoa Road)
Giving you peace of mind every step of the way.
• Turn right onto Alcoa Road, at the stoplight turn right onto
Highway 5. Rivendell Drive is the first street on the left. RIVENDELL’S ADULT SERVICES UNIT
(ASU) has a lot to offer! The ASU team will work with you on setting goals for yourself and aid you in the healing process. Our tailored therapeutic activities will help you make important lifestyle changes.
From Hot Springs, take Hwy 70 East to I-30 East toward Little Rock
Find the treatment that’s right for you.
• Take exit 121 (Alcoa Road)
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LIFE SKILLS • HEALTH & WELLNESS • FOCUS GROUP • TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION & ANXIETY • AA
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100 Rivendell Drive • Benton, AR www.rivendellofarkansas.com
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archildrens.org | Healing is in our nature.®
HOW DOES A CHILD TELL YOU WHAT’S WRONG BEFORE SHE LEARNS HOW TO SPEAK?
At 18 months, children are expected to use ﬁve to 10 words, and 300 words by age 3. So a delay at 18 months that goes undetected will have adverse effects on later development. That’s why ACCESS provides Early Intervention Early Childhood Therapy. With neurodevelopmental therapy techniques, coordination and phonation, and training in vision and learning orientation, your child can continue to reach those crucial milestones. Your child may be eligible for state and/or federal funding for medical expenses. Let us help you ﬁnd which option is best for you. 501-217-8600
EVALUATION & RESOURCE CENTER • SPEECH, PHYSICAL & OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ACADEMIC THERAPY • PRESCHOOL • ACADEMY • YOUNG ADULT PROGRAM THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
contributors JANUARY 2015
y r a u an
J g n i Com
5 1 0 2
ose For th
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.
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.
d es an t s a t agne budget, p m a ch hake s k l i nk’s a H am g n for nci annou ls furniture enta R ts, t n n e e v E Ev l a i c
CALLIE FRANCE STERLING
is a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Central Arkansas. She has a degree in journalism with an emphasis in print as well as broadcast. She loves photography, scrapbooking, writing and going on adventures with her husband and their two dogs.
KITTY L. CONE, J.D., M.B.A.
is licensed to practice law in Arkansas. She is a private attorney who represents parents of children with disabilities across the state on special education and civil rights issues.
pe S , s g n i ies r a s r e Wedd v i nn A & s ’ 6 Sweet 1
EVENT RENTALS 501.224.HANK
www.hanksfurniture.com 10 JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
STEPHEN & DEBBIE NORTHINGTON
are the owners of Little Rock-based Northington Investment Group. Stephen is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Debbie is the VP of Marketing. Securities and Advisory Services are offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor Member FINRA/SIPC.
Play is more than meets the eye. Playing is learning!
Play is essential for learning and good health throughout your child’s development. Be part of the fun, but also let your child guide his play. Children need time for solitary play: time to use their imaginations, practice skills without concern about expectations of others and focus on exploring, creating and learning how things work. Playing next to, but not with, another child – parallel play – is the first step toward playing with others. Cooperative, or group play, helps children develop the lifelong skills of sharing, taking turns, obeying rules and negotiating. Talk to your child care giver about your child’s friends and favorite activities. Visit our website to download
things every parent should know about play www.ARBetterBeginnings.com • 1-800-445-3316
Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education
THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
NEST PARENTING | FAMILY
FEMME FINANCE: TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE Sisters, it seems, aren’t necessarily doing it for themselves from a long-term financial strategy standpoint. Here are three ways to make a change BY STEPHEN & DEBBIE NORTHINGTON
Having been the driving force of household finance for generations and making roughly 85 percent of all consumer purchase decisions (Sheconomy. com), it would be logical to assume that women are also taking the lead in making long-term financial planning and investment strategies. Logical— and wrong. According to a recent Prudential research study, more than 80 percent of women survey respondents said they needed help choosing financial products that meet their long-term needs. This is not good news for women and their future well being. It’s time to feel more comfortable with investing and financial planning. The days of simply contributing to a 401K or IRA are over. It’s never too late to make a change, and we have three simple steps to help you take charge of your financial life.
12 JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
No More POLR-izing To gain control over finances, every woman needs to stop taking the POLR, or path of least resistance. So, what does this look like in real life? If you are leaving all of the long-term financial investment decisions for the household to your husband you are doing yourself a disservice and setting yourself up for catastrophic failure, fear, anxiety and risk. According to Financial Advisor magazine, 75 percent of women will be widowed by the age of 56. That means you need to have even more in retirement savings than your husband and that you will be managing your household finances after your spouse is gone. At a minimum, women should know what they have, where it is and have
nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE a relationship with their family’s financial advisors. You can’t enjoy your retirement years if you don’t have the peace of mind to know that you control your financial security.
Knowledge is Empowerment To gain control of their finances, every woman needs to increase their financial knowledge. After 40 combined years in finance, we know that our female clients are in the best position to make good decisions when they’re fully informed. For example, many of us can afford to pay full price for an item or a piece of clothing. That doesn’t mean we do. In fact, we often pride ourselves in our ability to get the best quality at the best price. Getting discounted prices is smart and financially savvy. So, what does this empowerment look like in the long-term investment world? Let’s suppose you have a life insurance need and desire to transfer that risk over to an insurance company in exchange for an annual premium. When you do the homework, research your options and compare prices you make a better choice. Based on your investment savvy, you decide to purchase term insurance from store A at a huge discount over whole life insurance from store B. Remember this: Increasing your financial knowledge will shift the balance of power away from the financial advisor to you.
Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan To gain control of your finances, you need a plan. The importance of financial planning cannot be overstated. Committing to a financial planning process can provide you and your family with knowledge. Planning can give you a roadmap to achieve your financial goals and allow you to start working toward financial comfort.
Example: Susie Client is looking at her retirement goals. She is 45 and plans to retire at 65. She has saved $250,000 so far for her retirement and expects to save an additional $15,000/year until retirement. Her current living expenses are $50,000/year. We find that Susie’s money will last her until she is 80. But, that is not good enough for Susie, she expects to live until she is 85. Through our planning we have identified a gap for Susie and analyze some options: Retirement Age
Annual Savings Until Retirement
$15,000 $15,000 $15,000 $22,500
Current Living Expenses
$50,000 $50,000 $40,000 $50,000
Money Lasts Until Age
80 86 85 85
The true beauty of planning is that, with your input and conservative assumptions, you take tentative phrases like “I think” or “I hope” and replace them with “I know.” That’s beautiful! You can do this! Make a plan in 2015— there’s never been a more important time to do so. We recommend that you work with a trusted financial partner, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ who has been trained holistically. Their certification makes for a great primary trusted advisor and/or a great second advisor to build into your team. Content in this article is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The example used in this article is hypothetical and not representative of any specific scenario.
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FINANCIAL EDUCATION For financial independence later, start teaching kids financial literacy now B Y D WA I N H E B D A
As America continues on its march back from one of the worst recessions in history, many people are starting to see some relief from the downward economic trends. But you’d never know it by the evidence put forth by the nation’s youngest consumers. Teens and young adults are increasingly in dire financial straits and most are ill-equipped to do anything about it. “In Arkansas, just over half of the students who graduate from high school fail a basic financial literacy test,” says Chad Kauffman, president of Junior Achievement of Arkansas. “There is an obvious need for students and young people to learn how to handle their own personal finances for once they get out of high school.” In 2013, TIME magazine reported more than 75 percent of renters age 18 to 24 spend more than they earn each month, citing a study of 1,000 such people by Renters.com. More than 20 percent of the respondents said they overspend by at least $100—monthly—and are turning to high-interest credit cards to tide them over until their next paycheck. In fact, the article cited an Ohio State University study that found people born between 1980 and 1984 have already piled up an average of $5,700 more in credit card debt than their parents did at their age. Given this age group is already behind the financial eight ball due to skyrocketing levels of student loans, they face the very real possibility of literally never being out of debt in their lifetime, which not only affects their quality of life, but affects their households and heirs. While there is no shortage of factors to blame for the situation in which many young people find themselves, the lack of financial literacy training American
14 JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
students receive looms large. According to financial planner Sarah Catherine Gutierrez, financial lessons can start early and simply. “There’s just a basic education function of teaching dollars and cents,” says Gutierrez, who has also worked with local disadvantaged youth to teach savings and money management. “Certainly there are things that kids may want from the local vending machines at school or a video game at a restaurant. You can give them $5 and that’s what they have for the whole month. Even in first and second grade, you can teach the concept that money is finite.” Parents shouldn’t be reluctant to address money issues because they think their young person isn’t interested. A study of 20,000 high school students ages 15 to 18 released last spring by education company EverFi reported 57 percent of respondents said they worry about money, 25 percent of whom worry enough to affect their efforts at school. Few reported getting formal financial education. Junior Achievement is one organization that is working to counter this trend. The group partners with local schools to bring financial curriculum into the classroom. The program reaches grade levels from pre-kindergarten through high school; in fact the demand for programs has outstripped the number of available volunteers willing to lead the coursework for students. For Kauffman, the mission couldn’t be more critical. “Basic financial literacy is crucial, and that’s not just from Junior Achievement’s perspective,” he says. “Information we get from employers tell us they’re struggling to find a workforce who have the job skills to do the work but also to
nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE manage the money that they are paid for that work to take care of the housing and transportation needs that allow them to continue to hold a job.” The EverFi study highlighted another cruel twist: While more than 70 percent of the students reported their primary influence in financial matters was the adult in their lives, less than half consult their parents on financial decisions. This suggests many parents are missing a golden opportunity to make a lasting impact on their
$ TIPS FOR TEACHING KIDS ABOUT MONEY
children’s future if they are not proactive in discussing money matters at home. “It’s best to be teach money at an early age, because the world is going to teach them in a far less kind way once they get out there into college and beyond,” says Gutierrez, a mother of two. “It’s much better to teach them while they are under your roof and you can teach good strong lessons rather than letting them experience it the hard way when they get a credit card application.”
Kids as young as 3 can begin to grasp the facts of financial life, according to Forbes. Start by teaching savings as delayed gratification, comparing it to standing in line for a movie ticket or waiting one’s turn at the playground. By about age 5 or 6, transition to making smart choices with money—give your child $2 and help them decide how to make it go farthest in the store. By the time they are teens, you can start talking about the positive impact of compounded savings through simple math trivia or checking out calculators online—www. investor.gov and www.feedthepig.org are good places to start. Many local banks have special savings programs for young people. Centennial Bank’s Kids Club can be opened for as little as $10 and provides free Internet statements (www. my100bank.com); Regions Bank’s program can be started for $5 (www.regions.com), and be linked to a parent or grandparent’s checking account for deposits of birthday or holiday money to reinforce the value of saving. Both accounts pay interest on deposits. In addition its First Savings Account, Bank of the Ozarks (www.bankozarks.com) offers financial literacy resources developed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate (FDIC) to parents. These include Money Smart for Elementary School Students (ages 5-8); Money Smart for Young Adults (ages 12-20) and Financial Fitness for Life®, a comprehensive personal finance curriculum for K-12 students. For older children and teens, Bank of America’s website (www.bankofamerica.com) offers a wealth of information on choosing the right checking account, facts about credit cards and saving for college.
January 26-February 6, 2015 • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
P3-P4 ONLY Mon. Jan. 26 - Tues. Jan. 27, 2015 without K-12 siblings 8 am - 5 pm P3-P4 ONLY with K-12 siblings K-12 ONLY (no P3-P4)
WHeRe St. Mark Baptist Family Life Ctr. 5722 W. 12th St.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 8 am - 5 pm
St. Mark Baptist Family Life Ctr. 5722 W. 12th St.
Thurs., Jan. 29, - Fri. Jan. 30, 2015 8 am - 5 pm
St. Mark Baptist Family Life Ctr. 5722 W. 12th St.
February 2-6, 2015 8 am - 5 pm
Student Registration Office 501 Sherman St.
K-12 in your attendance zone*
January 26 - February 6, 2015 8 am - 5 pm (Monday-Friday)
Your Attendance Zone School*
If you have not changed your address and your child will be attending his/her attendance zone school, you do not need to do anythIng. *to find your attendance zone school go to: http://k12.lrsd.org/sro
Little Rock School District PERFORMANCE WORKPLAN
The NEW Little Rock School District Where WE Put Children First
LENCE FOR TOMO
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AN EDUCATION WITH EXPECTATIONS
A SCHOOL AND A THERAPY CLINIC At the Academy at Riverdale, teaching methods and curriculum are designed to recognize the individual needs of our students from Kindergarten – Age 21. We are committed to on-going collaboration between parents, teachers, and therapists. Our only goal is to provide the instruction and encouragement students need to work toward realizing their full potential.
Reading & Writing • Math & Science • Literature • Social Studies • Character Education • Social Skills
IF YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH A DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDER:
Autism • Asperger Syndrome • Pervasive Developmental Disorder • Down Syndrome Apraxia • Other Language Disorders • Sensory Integration issues Contact us today for more information or to schedule an evaluation for your child.
(501) 663-6965 · 1600 Riverfront Drive ,Little Rock, Arkansas 72202 We work with a variety of private insurance providers as well as ARKids 1st, Medicaid, TEFRA and TRICARE.
JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
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Special Needs RESOURCE GUIDE
Getting the diagnosis is just the beginning. Finding and maintaining a network of supporters both personal and professional is essential for you and your family. In the following guide, you’ll find a directory organized both by need and by service, such as advocacy, insurance, education, medical, recreation and evaluation/assessment programs. You’ll also notice a star by some of the listings—this indicates that the organization is a nonprofit. More information about special needs philanthropy can be found on page 48.
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER ACCESS* 10618 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock 501-217-8600 www.ACCESSGroupInc.org Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Clinic at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC Learning RX 1900 Aldersgate Rd., Little Rock 501-223-9500 www.LearningRX.com/little-rock
ADVOCACY Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families* 1400 W. Markham, Ste. 306, Little Rock 501-371-9678 www.ARAdvocates.org Arkansas Disability Coalition* 1501 N. University Ave., Ste. 268, Little Rock 800-223-1330 www.ADCPTI.org Disability Rights Center of Arkansas* 1100 N. University Ave., Ste. 101, Little Rock 501-296-1775
Autism Resource Center of Arkansas* 2740 College Ave., Conway 501-733-1627 www.CommunityConnectionsAR.org
Helping Hand Children’s Center 4901 Northshore Dr., North Little Rock 501-791-3331 www.helpinghandcc.com
ACCESS* 10618 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock 501-217-8600 www.ACCESSGroupInc.org
Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC
Learning Disabilities Association of Arkansas* P.O. Box 23514, Little Rock 501-666-8777 www.LDarkansas.org
Allied Therapy & Consulting Services, P.A. 1500 Wilson Loop Rd., Ward 501-941-5630 201 Country Club Rd., Sherwood 501-834-0437 www.allied-therapy.com
Easter Seals Outreach Program* 3724 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3770 www.eastersealsar.com
National Alliance on Mental Health, Arkansas Chapter* 1012 Autumn Rd., Ste. 1, Little Rock 501-661-1548 www.namiarkansas.org
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
Arkansas Autism Resource and Outreach Center* 2001 Pershing Circle, Ste. 300, North Little Rock 501-682-2209 www.aaroc.org Arkansas Children’s Hospital Autism Multi-Specialty Clinic 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock 501-364-4000 www.ARChildrens.org Arkansas Children’s Hospital Neurodevelopmental and Neurobehavioral Clinic 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock
Helping Hand Children’s Center 4901 Northshore Dr., North Little Rock 501-791-3331 www.helpinghandcc.com
DENTAL Arkansas Children’s Hospital Dental Clinic 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock 501-364-1816 www.ARChildrens.org
DISABILITY GROUPS Arthritis Foundation, Southeast Region* 10 Corporate Hill Dr., Ste. 340, Little Rock
Muscular Dystrophy Association, Central Arkansas Chapter* 204 Executive Ct., Ste. 208, Little Rock 501-227-7098 http://mda.org/office/little-rock United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas* 9720 N. Rodney Parham Rd., Little Rock 501-224-6067 www.UCPArk.org
EDUCATION Academy at Riverdale 1600 Riverfront Dr., Little Rock 501-663-6965 www.academyatriverdale.com ACCESS Schools* 10618 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock 501-217-8600 www.ACCESSGroupInc.org C ON T I N U E D ON PAGE 1 8 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
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THERAPEUTIC LISTENING HELPS CHILDREN ADAPT TO A NOISY WORLD B Y D WA I N H E B D A
Imagine being stuck in a car with someone popping their knuckles the entire ride or in a cubicle next to someone whose voice hits the wrong key, or even hearing a screech on a chalkboard. For many of us, such sounds and background noises put our teeth on edge, make it hard to concentrate and send our stress levels through the roof. As irritating as that all is, it pales in comparison to youngsters who have difficulty processing and managing the hundreds if not thousands of sounds that fly through the air of modern society every single day. Such individuals struggle to sleep, eat, emotionally connect with family or learn as a result of noises large and small. Julia Washburn, occupational therapist and executive director of Helping Hand Children’s Center in North Little Rock, has been working with such individuals for years, as one of several developmental challenges collectively known as sensory integration. As part of a suite of treatment options, Helping Hand is one of the few providers to offer Therapeutic Listening, a treatment program that helps individuals receive and process auditory stimulation in a way that many of us take for granted. Through systematic use of headphones and CDs, children gradually learn to receive sounds with less fear, improving relationships, social interaction and performance in school. “The program has been around seven or eight years,” Washburn says. “It really doesn’t have anything to do with how they are hearing, it’s related to their sensory modulation. It may be really, really high as far as being excited all the time or it may be really, really low and lethargic. What we want to do is modulate their sensory integration level, meaning to make it even.” Experts offer several potential warning signs for parents to note,that may indicate a child is having difficulty with sensory integration, specifically listening, known in medical circles as Central Auditory Processing Disorder. However, many of the symptoms are general—like excessive talking in class or inability to sit still—so parents often mistake these as symptomatic of other conditions or just plain rebelliousness, Washburn says. Properly identifying the cause of the problem—and then moving to effective treatment—is one of the most rewarding parts of her job. “We actually get a lot of children that come to us with ‘behavior issues’ and we do a sensory profile and discover it’s an underlying sensory processing issue,” she says. “It kind of turns the way everybody views that child, and it turns their view around as well.”
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All Children’s Academy 12410 Cantrell Rd., Ste. 200, Little Rock 501-224-1418 www.allchildrensacademy.org The Allen School* 824 N. Tyler St., Little Rock 501-664-2961 www.TheAllenSchool.org Arkansas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired 2600 West Markham St., Little Rock 501-296-1810 www.ArkansasSchoolfortheBlind.org Butterfly Learning Center* 9720 N. Rodney Parham Rd., Little Rock 501-228-3868 www.ucpark.org Dyslexia Project* 2740 College Ave., Conway 501-428-1739 www.CommunityConnectionsAR.org Easter Seals Arkansas A Child’s Place Preschool* 3920 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3602 www.eastersealsar.com Helping Hand Children’s Center 4901 Northshore Dr., North Little Rock 501-791-3331 www.helpinghandcc.com Integrity Inc. 6124 Northmoor, Little Rock 501-614-7200 www.integrityinc.org Lonoke Exceptional Development Center 518 NE Front St., Lonoke 207 Plaza Blvd., Cabot 501-676-2786 www.lonokeexceptional.org Pathfinder Preschool (6 weeks-5 years old) 2615 W. Main St., Jacksonville 501-982-0528, ext. 1400 www.Pathfinderinc.org Pathfinder Charles Bussey (6 weeks-5 years old) 1410 West Main, Little Rock 501-375-7811
Pathfinder Academy (Grades 6-9) (Service for Children with Autism) 2611 West Main St., Jacksonville 501-982-0528, ext. 1500 Pediatrics Plus Therapy Services & Developmental Preschool 2740 College Ave., Conway 501-329-5459 1900 Aldersgate Rd., Little Rock 501-821-5459 www.pediatricsplus.com Sammie Gail Sanders Children’s Learning Center* 1300 W. 18th St., North Little Rock 501-907-5716 www.aeddinc.org
EVALUATION/ ASSESSMENT ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center* 10618 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock 501-217-8600 www.ACCESSGroupInc.org Allied Therapy & Consulting Services, P.A. 1500 Wilson Loop Rd., Ward 501-941-5630 201 Country Club Rd., Sherwood 501-834-0437 www.allied-therapy.com Arkansas Neuropsychology and Behavioral Health 1701 Centerview Dr., Ste. 123, Little Rock 501-537-1388 www.andrewsneuropsychology.com Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC Easter Seals Arkansas Outpatient Children’s Services* 3920 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3602 www.eastersealsar.com Easter Seals Outreach Program* 3724 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3770 www.eastersealsar.com Technology and Curriculum Access Center at Easter Seals* 3920 Woodland Heights Rd.,
nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE Little Rock 501-227-3610 www.eastersealsar.com
INSURANCE ARKids First 888-474-8275 www.ARKidsFirst.com
LEARNING DISABILITIES ACCESS Schools* 10618 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock 501-217-8600 www.ACCESSGroupInc.org Allied Therapy & Consulting Services, P.A. 1500 Wilson Loop Rd., Ward 501-941-5630 201 Country Club Rd., Sherwood 501-834-0437 www.allied-therapy.com Learning Disabilities Clinic at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC Learning RX 1900 Aldersgate Rd., Little Rock 501-223-9500 www.LearningRX.com/little-rock
MEDICAL Arkansas Children’s Hospital 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock 501-364-1100 www.ARChildrens.org Arkansas Epilepsy Program 2 Lile Ct., Ste. 100, Little Rock 501-227-5061 www.ArkansasEpilepsy.com Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC Snell Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory 625 N. University Ave., Little Rock 501-664-2624 www.SnellPandO.com
MENTAL HEALTH Bridgeway 21 Bridgeway Rd., North Little Rock 501-771-1500 www.TheBridgeWay.com
Methodist Family Health 1600 Aldersgate Rd., Little Rock 501-661-0720 www.MethodistFamily.org Pinnacle Pointe Behavioral Healthcare 11501 Financial Center Pkwy., Little Rock 800-880-3322 www.PinnaclePointeHospital.com Rivendell Behavioral Health Services 100 Rivendell Dr., Benton 501-316-1255 www.RivendellofArkansas.com
NUTRITION Arkansas Children’s Hospital Eating Disorder Clinic– Child and Adolescent 16101 Cantrell Rd., Ste. 114, Little Rock 501-364-8957 www.ARChildrens.org Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (Research) 15 Children’s Way, Little Rock 501-364-3309 http://acnc.uamsweb.com/ Feeding Disorders Clinic at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC
RECREATION Camp Aldersgate* 2000 Aldersgate Rd., Little Rock 501-225-1444 www.CampAldersgate.net Community Connections* 2740 College Ave., Conway 501-733-1627 www.CommunityConnectionsAR.org Easter Seals Arkansas A.R.T. (Artistic Realization Technologies)* 14901 Cantrell Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3700 www.eastersealsar.com Freedom Reins 17706 Interstate 30, Ste. 3, Benton 501-315-4414 www.KidSourceTherapy.com I Can! Arts and Resource Center* 1040 Angel Ct., Little Rock 501-329-5459 www.icanarkansas.com
CAMP ALDERSGATE WEEKEND CAMPS A COMPLEMENT TO SUMMER PROGRAM B Y D WA I N H E B D A
Most central Arkansas families familiar with Camp Aldersgate probably know it for its summer camp program for individuals with special needs. But a lesser-known component of the 67-year-old camp, located at 2000 Camp Aldersgate Road, is its weekend camp program. “Our weekend camps have been around since at least the 1980s,” says Ali Miller, program manager. “They initially aimed to just provide respite for the families and looking back in our history that’s pretty much all they were, they were kind of a daycare. “We realized that that’s not what we wanted to do. We wanted to make these camps more specific for the campers’ needs and run them like we would run a summer camp.” Thus, the curriculum for the camps has been re-structured along three programming tracks, called trails, all of which feature developmentallyappropriate activities to address components of individual development. The Adventure Trail focuses on gaining independence by emphasizing trying new things in new surroundings. Discovery Trail fosters self-discovery and teamwork; Explore Trail focuses on developing self-esteem and confidence. Developmental strengths and opportunities are identified during the enrollment/evaluation process and include such categories as social interaction, frustration tolerance and attention to task. Miller says often, campers respond so positively to the program that they demonstrate aptitude in areas even their families considered an area in need of development. The weekend camps, held twice a month, serve 16 to 32 individuals depending on the level of individual staff assistance the campers require. Campers range in age from 6 to 18 and meet one of three sets of criteria. These include receiving special education and “related services” in the school setting; requiring use of assistive devices and adaptations to complete Activities of Daily Living; or who is otherwise eligible for one of Camp Aldersgate’s summer camps. Individuals with increased medical needs, including respiratory technology or nurse-dependent dialysis among others, are eligible for a designated weekend camp in the fall. One important part of campers’ development is to learn as much about respecting each other’s individual strengths and challenges as they do about making the most of their own. For that reason, campers of different ages and levels of ability are intentionally grouped into each weekend, full details of which are available at the organization’s website, www.campaldersgate.net. “It is one of the more beautiful things we get to experience out here at camp,” Miller says. “We definitely see kids learn sensitivity, appreciation and understanding for one another and you get to see it develop.”
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INDEPENDENT CASE MANAGEMENT LAUNCHES RETAIL OPERATION AS PART OF JOB TRAINING B Y D WA I N H E B D A
A new retail endeavor opened by Independent Case Management, a nonprofit organization providing services to individuals with development disabilities, is giving individuals experience working in a retail environment. ICM launched the new businesses, Bamboo, as part of its Bridging Recreational and Vocational Opportunities (BRAVO) program. “ICM’s model will provide employment for up to 30 to 35 persons within retail settings,” says Melissa Boyle, marketing and development manager. “This bridges the gap between graduation from school and the employment world for those individuals who are not ready, or simply aren’t holding down a traditional job.” ICM has been in operation since 1988 and provides a range of services for individuals and their families in the community. BRAVO has been among the organization’s slate of developmental programs for a little more than a year. Bamboo retails home décor merchandise at the ICM headquarters at 1525 Merrill Drive in Little Rock. It is staffed by interns who work under the supervision of a job coach. Employees perform functions such as stocking, cashier, inventory, display setup and customer service, all skills the interns express interest in learning or enhancing when they sign up and go through their assessment process “This program is important on many levels,” Boyle says. “Specific quality of life indicators make significant gains across time as a result of employment, including overall health, making choices, speaking up for oneself, socialization, asking for help, integration, happiness and problem solving.” Boyle says individuals must be over 18 to work in the new store and can apply by visiting the ICM website, www.icm-inc.org. Two more retail operations are slated to open in 2015: Brushes, which will feature original artwork by some of the people served by the BRAVO program, and Biscuits, which will sell all-natural pet snacks, baked on premises. Boyle says the program’s goal is to use the retail stores to sharpen interns’ work skills to the point of transitioning to other employment. She says while ICM isn’t the only outlet for employment for people with disabilities, it is unique in its goal of helping develop skills marketable elsewhere in the community. “The ICM internship model is simple: Provide interns with gainful employment, scheduling options and the means to gain and/or enhance skills that could transfer to other employers,” Boyle says. “Our goal is to partner with other local businesses to employ them after they have mastered their skills here.”
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Little Rock Parks & Recreation– Therapeutic Recreation Division 7201 Dahlia Dr., Little Rock 501-570-1131 www.LittleRock.org/ParksRecreation Miracle League of Arkansas* 2500 Cantrell Rd., Little Rock 501-940-3405 www.MiracleLeagueAR.com Special Olympics Arkansas* 2115 Main Street, North Little Rock 501-771-0222 www.SpecialOlympicsArkansas.org
RESIDENTIAL SERVICES Easter Seals Children’s Rehabilitation Program* 3818 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-219-4000 www.eastersealsar.com Independent Living Services* 615 E. Robins St., Conway 501-327-5234 www.IndLiving.org
SPEECH AND HEARING ACCESS* 10618 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock 501- 217-8600 www.ACCESSGroupInc.org Affiliated Audiology Center 10310 W. Markham St., Ste. 207, Little Rock 501-224-6910 www.AACAudiology.com Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Audiology Department 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock 501-364-4000 www.ArChildrens.org Arkansas Department of Health, Infant Hearing Program 4815 W. Markham St., Slot 20, Little Rock 501-280-4740 www.ArHealthyHearing.com Arkansas Relay Services 900 S. Shackleford Rd., Little Rock 501-221-1285 www.ArkansasRelay.com Arkansas School for the Deaf PO Box 3811, Little Rock 501-324-9506 www.ARSchoolfortheDeaf.org
Easter Seals Arkansas Outpatient Children’s Services* 3920 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3602 www.eastersealsar.com Helping Hand Children’s Center 4901 Northshore Dr., North Little Rock 501-791-3331 www.helpinghandcc.com Little Rock Audiology 500 S. University Ave., Ste. 405, Little Rock 501-664-5511 www.littlerockaudiology.com Saline Audiology 5 Medical Park Dr., Benton 501-778-3868 www.salineaudiology.com Speech/Language Pathology Services at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC UALR Speech and Hearing Clinic 5820 Asher Ave., Ste. 600, Little Rock 501-569-3155 www.UAMS.edu/chrp/audiospeech
SUPPORT SERVICES Allied Therapy & Consulting Services, P.A. 1500 Wilson Loop Rd., Ward 501-941-5630 201 Country Club Rd., Sherwood 501-834-0437 www.allied-therapy.com American Childhood Cancer Organization of Arkansas* P.O. Box 3854, Little Rock 501-376-4567 www.acco.org/arkansas The Arc Arkansas* 2004 S. Main St., Little Rock 501-375-7770 www.ArcArk.org Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities Services PO Box 1437, Slot N-501, Little Rock 501-682-8678 www.State.ar.us/dhs/ddds
nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE Arkansas Department of Rehabilitation Services 525 W. Capitol, Little Rock 501-296-1600 www.ARSinfo.org Arkansas Down Syndrome Association* 9800 Vinson Ct., Little Rock 501-223-3696 www.ARDownSyndrome.org Arkansas Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council 5800 W. 10th Street, Ste. 805, Little Rock 501-661-2589 www.DDCouncil.org Brain Injury Alliance of Arkansas* 1000 S. Main St., Little Rock 866-610-4841 www.bia-ar.org CARTI* 4 St. Vincent Circle, Little Rock 501-664-8573 www.CARTI.com Centers for Youth and Families* 5905 Forest Place, Ste. 200, Little Rock 501-666-8686 www.CentersforYouthandFamilies.org Community Connections* 2740 College Ave., Conway 501-733-1627 www.CommunityConnectionsAR.org Coping with Chronic Illness at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC Easter Seals Outreach Program* 3724 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3770 www.eastersealsar.com Epilepsy Education Association* 701 Autumnbrook Circle, Sherwood 501-454-9950 Friendship Community Care* 920 N. University Dr., Russellville 479-967-2322 www.FriendshipCommunityCare.org Increasing Capabilities Access Network 525 W. Capitol, Little Rock
501-666-8868 www.AR-ICAN.org Independent Case Management* 13310 Kanis Rd., Little Rock 501-228-0063 www.icm-inc.org
Arkansas Neuropsychology and Behavioral Health 1701 Centerview Dr., Ste. 123, Little Rock 501-537-1388 www.andrewsneuropsychology.com
Pediatrics Plus Therapy Services 2400 Crestwood, Ste. 107, North Little Rock 501-753-5459 www.pediatricsplus.com
Integrity Inc. 6124 Northmoor, Little Rock 501-614-7200 www.integrityinc.org
Ascent Children’s Health Services 3214 Winchester Dr., Benton 501-326-6160 4107 Richards Rd., North Little Rock 501-955-2220 www.AscentCHS.com
Pediatrics Plus Therapy Services & Developmental Preschool 2740 College Ave., Conway 501-329-5459 1900 Aldersgate Rd., Little Rock 501-821.5459 www.pediatricsplus.com
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation– Greater Arkansas Chapter* 11324 Arcade Dr., Ste. 16, Little Rock 501-217-0321 www.JDRF.org/GreaterArkansas
Beyond Boundaries* 2195 Peyton St., Ward 501-941-1522 www.beyondboundariesar.com
SAFE (Sensory And Feeding Enrichment) Center 17706 I-30, Ste. 3, Benton 501-315-4414
March of Dimes* 1501 N. Pierce Street, Ste. 106, Little Rock 501-663-3100 www.MarchofDimes.com/Arkansas
Pathfinder Charles A. Bussey Child Development Center (6 weeks-5 years old) 1410 W. Main St., Little Rock 501-375-7811 www.pathfinderinc.org/litlrok.htm
Social Behavior at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.UAMS.edu/DDC
Medical Crisis and Loss Clinic at Dennis Developmental Center 1301 Wolfe St., Little Rock 501-364-1830 www.ARChildrens.org/Services/ Dennis-Development-Center.aspx
Easter Seals Arkansas Outpatient Children’s Services* 3920 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3602 www.eastersealsar.com
Technology and Curriculum Access Center at Easter Seals* 3920 Woodland Heights Rd., Little Rock 501-227-3610 www.eastersealsar.com
First Step, Inc.* 407 Carson Street, Hot Springs 501-624-6468 www.FirstStepArkansas.com
THERAPY ACCESS* 10618 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock 501-217-8600 www.ACCESSGroupInc.org All Children’s Therapy 46 Bouresse Circle, Little Rock 501-868-1212 www.AllChildrensTherapy.org Allied Therapy & Consulting Services, P.A. 1500 Wilson Loop Rd., Ward 501-941-5630 201 Country Club Rd., Sherwood 501-834-0437 www.allied-therapy.com/ Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Rehabilitation 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock 501-364-1192 www.ARChildrens.org
Hearts & Hooves* 2308 Kellogg Acres Rd., Sherwood 501-834-8509 www.HeartsandHooves.com
Therapy 4 Kids 306 Salem, Conway 501-514-3722 Hwy. 65, Greenbrier 501-581-6045 www.therapy4kids.net TheraTeam Rehab Services 2305 Springhill Rd., Bryant 501-847-2555 Timber Ridge Ranch NeuroRestorative Services 15000 Hwy. 298, Benton 800-697-5350 www.NeuroRestorative.com
Helping Hand Children’s Center 4901 Northshore Dr., North Little Rock 501-791-3331 www.HelpingHandCC.com
Arkansas Children’s Hospital Eye Clinic 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock 501-364-1150 www.ARChildrens.org
Independent Living Services* 615 E. Robins St., Conway 501-327-5234 www.IndLiving.org
Arkansas Division of Services for the Blind PO Box 3237, Little Rock 501-682-5463 www.Arkansas.gov/dhs/dsb/
KIDSource Therapy 300 S. Rodney Parham, Little Rock 1721 Martin Luther King Blvd., Ste. J, Malvern 501-315-4414 www.KidSourceTherapy.com
Arkansas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired 2600 West Markham St., Little Rock 501-296-1810 www.ArkansasSchoolfortheBlind.org
Onsite Therapies, Inc. 400 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock 501-687-2000 www.OnsiteTherapies.net THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
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GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
Find balance in raising a family with children with and without special needs through support, education, special moments and caring for yourself BY KITTY L. CONE
If you have a child with special needs and other children that do not, it may be very challenging at times to balance spending quality time with each child, nurturing the relationship with your spouse or partner, and taking care of yourself. It is imperative to take time to count your blessings, especially on the hard days. Prioritize spending one-on-one time with each of your children. It may be helpful not to put a specific timeline on this, but rather focus on things that do not take a lot of planning or money, such as reading a bedtime story together, enjoying an outing on the weekend, going to the park or spending time doing something that your child enjoys. Recognize each child for their unique abilities and do not make comparisons— to your other children, to your child’s peers or to your friends. This is often very difficult for parents. Beginning with their child’s birth, many parents worry about whether their child is developing properly and whether they are doing everything that they should to help their child. A child with special needs develops very differently, thinks differently and may experience significant challenges that their siblings or peers will never face. Develop a support network of friends, family or church members where you
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can encourage each other, share parenting ideas and can discuss your challenges honestly in an environment that is not judgmental. The phrase “it takes a village” is true with typically developing children but applies doubly to raising a child with special needs. Teach your children to be kind to others that are “different” or special. We are all made differently and face unique challenges. You may want to read books with your children about characters with a variety of needs and discuss how each character has something positive to give regardless of their ability or disability. It is often helpful to read a story and then discuss the character’s challenges with your children. It is important to teach your children to be kind to others and if something that he/she says is hurtful, have him/her apologize and have a conversation about why their comment is hurtful to the other person. Children are precious for their innocence; they say “the darndest things,” not realizing how their comments might hurt or embarrass another person. Be honest with your children about the challenges that your special needs child faces at school, and in other situations such as church, family gatherings and going to the store. Try to put the disability or challenges into language that the sibling(s) can understand. As he/she grows, so will your explanation. Answer
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FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE RATHER THAN FIXATING ON WHAT IS NOT GOING WELL. your child’s questions, even when they are difficult. Your honesty will help your children to better understand how they can help their sibling. It is important to understand that your children may emulate behaviors of the child with special needs; this is normal, but must be addressed. One of the greatest challenges parents may face is guilt for correcting a behavior that is inappropriate for one child while ignoring it for their child with special needs. Schedule time with your spouse or partner to reconnect. The challenges and
stresses of raising a child with special needs often taxes even the most loving relationships to the breaking point. This may be more difficult to achieve than it seems. Focus on things that do not take a lot of planning or money, but give you some one-on-one time with your partner without any other demands. Consider an at-home date night, breakfast with your spouse, or a low-key movie night while a family member watches your children. Take care of yourself. It is often difficult to carve out any time to nurture yourself, whether it’s time to exercise, to read, to journal or to meditate. Raising a child with special needs is like a marathon—you must build endurance and build your strength to deal with whatever challenges lie ahead. It is important not to lose touch with old friends or colleagues; make time to reconnect. Although you may be frustrated with the pre-planning it takes to leave your child with special needs with a sitter or family member for a few minutes, taking time to reconnect with friends will reenergize you. Give yourself grace. There will be times when you do not handle a situation well, or become overwhelmed by the challenges you face. When this happens, try to take a breath and regroup. Thankfully, every day is a new beginning. Finally, focus on the positive rather than fixating on what is not going well or how things may be different from a “normal family.” Perhaps you have a funny, healthy child who is kind to others and has a great personality who has a disability that results in behavioral challenges in social situations. Be thankful for the time that you have with your child and the situations where he or she has shown kindness or compassion to others. When behavior challenges arise, it is an opportunity to model appropriate behavior and show compassion to your child who may be struggling to process what is going on around him or her. Don’t forget to write down those special moments that make you laugh and give thanks for the precious time you have with your child. Remembering these moments helps you to cope on “no good, awful, horrible days” where nothing seems to go as planned.
New store opening in January. Stay tuned to www.icmbamboo.com for information and updates.
www.icm-inc.org • 501-228-0063 Like us on facebook Come visit our new home at 1525 Merrill Drive, Little Rock, AR 72211! THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
PHOTOS COURTESY SPECIAL OLYMPICS OF ARKANSAS
Fashion | lifestyle | health
Special Olympics events give participants the opportunity to interact with other children with special needs.
OPPORTUNITY THROUGH ATHLETICS Special Olympics Arkansas is changing lives one race at a time BY CALLIE FRANCE STERLING
“So often it is assumed that we are just one sport or one competition a year, but we are so much more!” says Camie Powell, director of marketing and corporate relations for Special Olympics Arkansas. “We a movement working on an urgent cause, and we are not just sports. It is through advancing sports excellence for all, building communities, transformative education and athlete health that we are challenging mindsets and smashing stereotypes.” Special Olympics is committed to lifting up children with special needs boosting their confidence. “Our son Grant participated in the Special Olympics for the first time last year,” Kricia Palmer says. “He has struggled trying to participate in regular organized sports and it has been a source of frustration for him. When he started on the track team and participated in Special Olympics, this totally changed. He was proud to be a part of the team. His smile after he finished his events and received a medal was priceless. He really developed a sense of belonging during that time.” Some parents of special needs children find it difficult to allow their child to spread their wings, due to the risk of them getting hurt emotionally or physically. Special Olympics helps parents overcome the fear of the unknown regarding athletics. “We’ve never wanted to hold him back,” says Palmer. “It can be difficult because at the same time, you want to protect your child. Special Olympics was
JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
a challenging yet supportive, safe environment to allow Grant to try something new and develop confidence.” Special Olympics also gives children with special needs the opportunity to relate on an athletic level to their siblings who do not have special needs. “Dennis has brothers and sisters who were involved in sports and Special Olympics gave him something of his own,” Tammy Bissonnette says of her son, who has Down syndrome and began participating in Special Olympics at age 10. “Our family made it a point to make his Special Olympics weekends all about celebrating his sports accomplishments,” she says. “The first time Dennis went to state he was so pumped up and he wanted to win. He ran super fast and just kept running. Finally the volunteer scooped him up and his legs were still moving in the air. The volunteer said, ‘Hey dude, you won!’” Now 26, Dennis remains involved with Special Olympics. Special Olympics participants also get to interact with other special needs children as well children who do not possess special needs. “The interaction with the “normal” kids being so nice to them was priceless,” says Trela Cook, whose daughter is a Special Olympics participant. “Laura participated for about six years. She was involved with bowling, track, shot put, running, basketball and C ON T I N U E D ON PAGE 2 6
Autism Waiver Provider. Helping Hand was one of the few facilities selected in the central Arkansas area to be a part of the Autism Waiver Program. This program provides Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) treatment to children 18 months to 7 years of age. Services are provided in the home and the community, and must include parent participation to be successful. Contact Helping Hand for more information on how to get your child started.
PING HAN EL
DEVELOPMENTAL PRESCHOOL & OUTPATIENT THERAPY SERVICES
CELEBRATING OUR 25 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
DEVELOPMENTAL PRESCHOOL SERVICES
Occupational Therapy | Physical Therapy Speech-Language Therapy Day Habilitation: 6 weeks – 5 years old
OUTPATIENT SERVICES: Birth to 21 years old INFO & JOB POSTINGS
www.Helpinghandcc.com • 501-791-3331 4901 North Shore Dr • North Little Rock Helping Hand Learning Center Is A 501 (C)(3) Non-Profit
THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
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Special Olympics gives kids like Grant Palmer the chance to try new things and build confidence.
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swimming. She even made it to the state competition in Searcy at Harding two or three years in a row. She was so proud of herself!” The Special Olympics are striving to make an everlasting impact in the lives of participants. “We are not only having a positive impact but we are changing attitudes in Arkansas forever,” Powell says. One of those ways Special Olympics is inspiring change is through its volunteer program. Special Olympics staff members are always searching for new volunteers to contribute to the cause. Volunteers benefit from their experience with Special Olympics, in addition to the special needs participants. “Volunteers benefit in a spectrum of ways,” Powell says. “I began as a volunteer 18 years ago. It was the humbling life lessons, positive outlook and overwhelming ability of Special Olympics athletes that taught me so much. These are lessons I re-learn every time I attend a workshop, training or a competition.” For many volunteers, they are forever changed by the organization and return to volunteer year after year. “I started volunteering with Special Olympics when I was a freshman in college,” says Ashley Hickman. “After the past four years of working with the organization my love for it has only grown. It is always so much fun! The athletes are always so friendly and appreciative; I never feel like my time is wasted. All of the athletes are full of life and become your instant best friend.” Volunteers and parents of participants often form relationships through Special Olympics that are life changing. Kara Newman, area director for Pulaski and Lonoke counties, says she and her family because participating in Special Olympics when her son Derek, now 32, was just 8-years-old. “It is difficult for me to sum up how much Special Olympics has meant to our family. I know that with one phone call I can have the support of over 20 people in an instant. I know that they are there for Derek and will always love and support him,” she says. “Most are lucky to find unconditional love and support within a blood family and yet we have found it in our Special Olympics family as well. My entire family has benefitted from our experience with Special Olympics.”
THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
PHOTO BY PATRICK JONES
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Natalie Wooldridge and daughter Emma.
VITAMIN FOR LIFE Folic acid is an important building block of life even before it begins
Learning about folic acid in college was just part of a class for Natilie Wooldridge, or so she thought. Little did she know what an impact it would have on her future as a mom. She and husband Shawn spent four years trying to get pregnant. Eating a balanced diet, exercising, monitoring medications, and taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid were high priorities. The couple was overjoyed to finally welcome a baby girl, Macie, who is now 13, into their family. Three more girls followed over the next six years including Emma, 11; Brooke 9; and Lexi, 7. Emma, the second oldest, was delivered with an unexpected blessing. Natilie recalls the nurse’s soft, gentle voice telling her that her baby had spina bifida, which occurs when the spine does not properly close the first weeks of pregnancy. Even in that surreal moment, Natilie remembers the healthcare team
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acting quickly and efficiently to get Emma the help she needed. From the moment she was born, Natilie has been Emma’s greatest advocate. Through all the ups and downs of life, she has constantly sought the right doctors, treatments, medications, procedures and tools for Emma to live life to the fullest. “Having a child with special needs is a humbling experience, and in many ways an honor,” she says. “I am strong in my faith, persistent in being an advocate for Emma and determined to learn everything I can for her benefit. Then, I pass every bit I can onto others.” Occasionally, Natilie encounters the question as to why Emma has spina bifida, especially with such wonderful prenatal care. “In Emma’s case, she lives in the land of small percentages,” she says. “I say that a lot, but it’s true. About 1 of every 1,600 births is affected by a neural tube defect. While I was on a
nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE prescription dose prenatal vitamin that had more folic acid than most over-thecounter vitamins, Emma needed more.” “Take the supplement,” Natilie encourages. “We are guaranteed very few things in life. Why not be prepared? If I had not made healthy choices, her condition may have been much worse. Emma is fearfully and wonderfully made—she is a marvelous work! She is not spina bifida; it is merely a part of her.” Now, Natilie is passing down her healthy habits to her daughters. With her girls entering puberty, they take a daily vitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. Also, she encourages them to eat foods rich in folate. They know folic acid found in vitamins is just as essential as good calcium intake and fiber. Natilie’s passion for helping other moms and young women led her to serve as president of the Spina Bifida Support Group of Arkansas. Talking to fellow moms, welcoming new members, educating others and recruiting supporters for the group keeps her active. She also blogs on the group’s website at SBArkansas.com and manages the Facebook page. Arkansas Folic Acid Coalition is the state’s champion for folic acid and encourages females from ages 10 to 49 to take 400 micrograms (mcg) per day. Bradley Schaefer, M.D., Arkansas Children’s Hospital Division of Genetics and Metabolism Section Chief, leads the Coalition. “We are passionate about women taking folic acid because there is a small—yet defined—number of birth defects that are shown to be preventable by taking folic acid,” he says. “Taking folic acid every day at least three months prior to conception can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by as much as 50 percent.” To celebrate Folic Acid Awareness Week, January 4 to 10, the Coalition is encouraging women to educate and empower other women about the importance of folic acid. For more information, visit VitaminForLife. org/Share or Facebook.com/YourVitaminForLife. To order posters or informational cards for individual or group use, visit VitaminForLife.org/ request-information.
Services We Provide: • Early Intervention Services • Therapy Evaluations • Speech/Language Therapy • Occupational Therapy • Physical Therapy
Supportive Programs: • Sensory Integration • Feeding & Swallowing • Hippotherapy • Aquatics • Special Olympics
17706 I-30 Frontage Road • Benton
www.KidsourceTherapy.com Offices in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Benton, Arkadelphia and Malvern Easy Referral Process · Professional Staff Family Oriented · Assistance with Funding Options
MAKE A PACT
January is also National Birth Defects Prevention Month. This year’s theme is “Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects: Make a PACT for Prevention.” PLAN AHEAD • Get as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant. • Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. AVOID HARMFUL SUBSTANCES
SERVING Children WITH SPECIAL NEEDS SINCE 1971
• Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking. • Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home. CHOOSE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE ■
• Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats and oils. • Be physically active. • Work to get medical conditions like diabetes under control.
Certified Educational Staff Trained Service Coordinators Occupational, Physical & Speech Therapy Services On-site Physician Monitoring & Nursing Services
Transportation Available To & From Center Family Education & Support Arkids A, SSI, TEFRA Accepted
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR • Get a medical checkup. • Discuss all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. • Talk about family history.
Pathfinder, Inc. FOSTERING INDEPENDENCE
PATHFINDER PRESCHOOL 2400 West Main Street / Jacksonville / 501-982-4578 ext. 1400 PATHFINDER PRESCHOOL 2 1410 West Daisy Bates / Little Rock / 501-375-7811 PATHFINDER ACADEMY 2611 West Main Street / Jacksonville / 501-982-0528 ext. 1500 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
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COOKING | DINING | NUTRITION
Serve a r ainbow of colors
MyPlate recommends that we fill half of our plates with fruits and veggies, choose whole grains, and prepare meats that are lean or low fat. Here, baked chicken, brown and wild rice, and a medley of fresh fruit and veggies provide a balanced meal thatâ€™s nutrient dense and full of flavor.
BACK TO BASICS
A smart balance of the four food groups will provide healthy, delicious meals for the entire family BY MEL JONES PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT
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nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE
Whole w heat pasta
Community Based Care THE LATEST IN TECHNOLOGY. THE BEST IN CARE.
Snell Laboratory's network of nine offices located throughout the state is especially important for individuals like Preston Breshears. As a cattle rancher living in rural Missouri, Preston can visit Snell’s community-based facility in Mountain Home for adjustments and maintenance so that he rarely has to travel to the main office in Little Rock.
Lots of es veggi y m m yu
Statewide Toll-Free:1-800-342-5541 • www.snellpando.com Offices located in Little Rock, Russellville, Fort Smith, Mountain Home, Fayetteville, Hot Springs, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Conway.
Pasta is part of a healthy diet. We combined whole-wheat penne with diced tomatoes and pan-roasted squash, zucchini and Portabella mushrooms, and seasoned it with an Italian herb blend of oregano, garlic, rosemary, parsley and a hint of sea salt. Eating healthy—and losing weight in the process—is one of the most popular resolutions we make in the New Year, but often we complicate things with fad diets that are restrictive and exclude everyone else at the dinner table. Instead, incorporate the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines for making healthier food choices, and you’ll ensure the entire family has a more balanced diet. In its simplest form, MyPlate recommends how much of each food group should be represented in each meal, with a rainbow of fruits and veggies taking up half of your plate, grains and proteins balancing out the other half and a serving of dairy on the side. Following it will help you and your family get the nutrients they need. “MyPlate is a great guideline of how your child’s meal should appear when served since each food group is represented,” says Christine Alongi, MS, RD, clinical research promoter with the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center. “In order to ensure your child is getting adequate nutrition, offer a variety of foods from each food group on most days. Each food group provides vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are essential for proper growth and development, including brain development, bone structure and body composition.” Alongi also recommends choosing nutrient-dense foods to improve health and prevent disease, especially for growing children. “Nutrient-dense foods are those that provide the most nutrition for the portion,” she says. “For example, brown rice is more nutrient dense than white rice because the hull, the part that makes it brown, is packed with B vitamins and fiber.” Everyone’s food needs are different, and depend upon several factors including age, height, weight and other health-related circumstances. It is important to talk to your doctor about your individual needs, as well as those of your growing family.
families function best when they are
The BridgeWay reconnects people with their families by helping them overcome emotional and addictive problems. We offer extensive in-patient and out-patient programs for all ages. Help someone reclaim their life.
Contact The BridgeWay for a no-cost assessment.
21 BridgeWay Road • North Little Rock, AR 72113 501.771.1500 • 800-BRIDGEWAY • TheBridgeway.com Accepting most insurance plans, including Medicare and Private Option.
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A mix of apples, grapes and cheddar cheese is a healthy snack that will keep you full. A side of low-fat yogurt is great for dipping, and is full of calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein.
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V itamin C
He a heal rtthy fat
For a quick and easy snack thatâ€™s nutritious and delicious, reach for red bell pepper slices and a side of hummus. The peppers are high in vitamin C, and the hummus is full of heart healthy fat, fiber, protein and antioxidants.
THE DISCOUNT PARTY SUPER STORE 11218 Rodney Parham (Pleasant Valley Plaza) Little Rock 501-223-4929
4822 North Hills Blvd. N. Little Rock (off McCain, next to Kroger) 501-978-3154 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
Sharon Bale HONORING
JANUARY 17, 2015
MARRIOTT HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM LITTLE ROCK, AR
W OM EN & CHILDRE N F IR ST
Woman of the Year Gala Invites you to the
TICKET PRICE $250 (donations are welcome)
Cocktails • Dinner • Music by “The Rockets” (BRANDI WISEMAN (501) 960-6778 OR BWISEMAN@WCFARKANSAS.ORG)
WOMEN & CHILDREN FIRST: The CenTer AgAinsT FAmily ViolenCe Women & Children First: The Center Against Family Violence empowers those who have been subjected to domestic violence and their children, to live independently and free from violence by providing crisis intervention, safe shelter, social/legal advocacy, transitional housing, prevention education, and support services.
IN 2013 WOMEN & CHILDREN FIRST PROVIDED THESE SERVICES: · Emergency Shelter accommodations were provided to over 731 individuals, representing more than 8,508 shelter days. · The Advocacy Program provided crisis intervention, case management, emotional support, 2,132 support group hours and more than 2,862 individual support hours. · The Court Advocacy Program provides accompaniment in court for emotional support. More than 1,500 women were assisted with legal and support issues.
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· Transitional Housing provided more than 687 case management hours and supportive services to families seeking permanent housing free of violence after leaving the shelter. · The Children’s Program served over 200 children in the shelter, in addition to educational and group support activities. · Community Outreach and Education presentations were given 79 times in the community as well as 9 radio/TV interviews. · The Domestic Violence Hotline answered 12,128 crisis calls.
FAITH, FAMILY & FOOTBALL A mild form of cerebral palsy hasn’t slowed down 12-year-old Hunter Hill and his mom, Mandy BY KD REEP PHOTOS BY SARA BLANCETT
Mandy Hill and son Hunter. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
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Hunter shows off the ball he used to score two touchdowns during the final game of the season. Both teams signed the ball after the game.
Mandy and Brant Hill wanted a baby more than anything. But when the Prattsville couple began making plans for a family, Mandy learned she had a tumor obstructing one of her ovaries and Fallopian tubes. “It was such a shock,” she says. “The tumor was the size of a basketball, and the doctors told me it would be almost impossible for me to get pregnant.” Five years later, the Hills learned they were expecting their first baby, a boy. But their joy was eclipsed by complications when Mandy was in her fifth month. “My doctor told me to go home and rest, but that night, I hurt so badly that I couldn’t relax, and I saw I was bleeding”, she says. My husband called the doctor, and he sent me to UAMS in Little Rock. I was in labor.” The Hills were told their baby didn’t have a solid chance of surviving, and the medical team also was worried about Mandy’s health. Diagnosed with a placental abruption, Mandy was heartbroken, thinking she had done something to cause this complication. According to the Mayo Clinic, a placental abruption is when the placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery, which can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and cause the mother heavy bleeding. “I couldn’t be consoled,” Mandy says. “It was my mother who gave me what I needed to go on. She said, ‘God didn’t give you this child to take it away from you now,’ and I held onto that.” Hunter was born at a pound and two ounces, his kidneys weren’t functioning, his lungs had not fully developed and, because he was born at 23 weeks, he couldn’t open his eyes. Even with all of this to overcome, he made it past the first 24 hours, which his doctors said were the most critical. “He spent 94 days in the NICU,” Mandy says. “He only weighed a little over four pounds when we got to bring him home, and he was on oxygen and an apnea monitor. He had retinopathy in his left eye, and even after several surgeries at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, he has no vision in that eye. When he had an MRI on his brain the doctors discovered he had a small brain bleed, which caused periventricular leukomalacia, a mild form of cerebral palsy.” Not knowing what to expect, they began researching Hunter’s type of cerebral palsy and how it affects other children. “Hunter has poor balance and coordination control, and he has some problems with his fine motor skills,” Mandy says. “While he can do so much more than he was ever expected to be able to do, he still struggles with certain things. The doctors’ expectations were never good; they told us he would be mentally retarded and not able to attend school. But, after many prayers and discussions with family, we decided to send him to public school where he can be around other children. We felt like him seeing other kids do things he wanted to do would only push him to try harder.” Today, Hunter is in a regular classroom and, with some modifications, does the same work they do. In fact, he has made the honor roll, and his interest in sports has blossomed. In first grade, he asked to play peewee basketball, which he participated in until the third grade, then set his sights on football. “Football is his all-time favorite sport,” Mandy says. “The coach at Hunter’s middle school, Terry Collins, offered him the position of ‘assistant coach’ for the school’s football team, and he’s been by his side for three years now.” This past fall, Coach Collins approached Mandy about a game he wanted Hunter to play instead of coach. On October 20, the Poyen Indians hosted the Glen Rose Bears at the last home game of the season. Coach Collins needed Hunter to dress out and help his team garner a win. “Once I let it sink in what he had just asked me, I broke down and cried,” Mandy says. “It was such a special moment. Coach Collins spoke with the football coach at Glen Rose, and they worked with the kids to make sure Hunter didn’t get tackled. I think the kids at both schools were just as excited as Hunter when he made a touchdown. He’s already been through so much more than most of us as adults will ever go through in our lifetime, but he has always been such a fighter, and he never gives up no matter what kind of odds are against him.” Mandy credits her faith for helping Hunter, her family and herself cope with his special needs. C ON T I N U E D ON PAGE 3 9 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
Doctors said Hunter wouldn’t be able to attend school, but he proved everybody wrong. He’s in a regular classroom, and has even made the honor roll.
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Football is Hunter’s favorite sport, and he’s served as assistant coach for the Poyen Indians for three years. CONT I N U E D FR O M PA GE 3 7
“I still struggle,” she says. “I wonder if I am making the right decisions about what is best for Hunter, but I always look to God for the answers. Now, I not only have Hunter, but I also have another fireball little boy who is 2-years-old. I want people to know that they are not alone when dealing with an unexpected diagnosis. You don’t have to accept what the doctors tell you and let that be how it is. Do your research and talk to any and every one you need to talk to and
make sure you are doing everything possible to help your child. “And if your child has a dream, do what you can to help him or her make that dream come true,” Mandy says. “I didn’t always want to drive my child to all of those ball practices and games knowing I’d just sit and watch him stand there and not be able to do what he truly would like to be doing. I’ve sent him to ball camps during the summer knowing he wouldn’t be able to do what his friends were doing. But, I did those things because it helped him become the best possible person he can be.” THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
Stella takes a closer look at the sculptures on the grounds of Pediatrics Plus in Little Rock.
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SHINING GIFTS Autism Diagnosis Won’t Dim Future for Shirleys BY KD REEP PHOTOS BY SARA BLANCETT
Autism. Asperger syndrome. Developmental disorders. These terms have pervaded our language in the last 30 years, but autism spectrum disorder is still a mystery to most. When Shannon and Steve Shirley of Ferndale learned of their daughter Stella’s diagnosis, they weren’t surprised but definitely in denial. “My first reaction was a mix of shock, sadness and fear,” Shannon says. “It’s difficult to describe, but it is a lot like having the wind knocked out of you repeatedly. I had suspected that we may hear that diagnosis, but I was also still in denial about it.” According to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Although ASD varies in how it presents itself and in its severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group. In fact, experts estimate that one out of 68 children by age 8 will have an ASD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 30, 2012), and males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females. “Stella’s language milestones were significantly delayed at age 3, consisting of between 25 to 50 words,” Shannon says. “She would say something once, but she might not say it again for months. Other times, she would look at us with meaning while babbling what seemed to be complete sentences, but everything was incoherent to us. She also was severely restricting her diet by smell and texture, and she would line up her toys in rows or spin things in circles endlessly. We were referred to Developmental Center in Little Rock by our pediatrician, and that’s where Stella was diagnosed with autism.” Because the symptoms of ASD vary so widely, autism may not be diagnosed until the child is older. Early indications of ASD can include no babbling or pointing by age 1, no single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2, no response to his or her name, loss of language or social skills, poor eye contact, and no smiling or social responsiveness. Later, children with ASD may exhibit an impaired ability to make friends as well as initiate or continue a conversation with others, an inability to participate in imaginative or social play, preoccupation with particular objects or subjects like cartoons, and inflexibility to change, particularly to routine. “There were times in the beginning where it was really a day-by-day experience— maybe even hour-by-hour,” Shannon says. “We had information coming at us from all directions and so many huge choices to make. Now that we have made it past those, we are able to focus more on our plans for the future. We C ON T I N U E D ON PAGE 4 3 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
Shannon left a career in information technology to focus on Stella. She hopes to use her education and experience to help other children like Stella.
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Stella donned her dad’s sunglasses to explore a field at school. CONT I N U E D FR O M PA GE 4 1
have a routine that functions much like any other family with a preschooler now, and I work to ensure the goals we are working on in each of our therapy sessions continue in our home.” Shannon, who earned her bachelor’s of science in math and two master’s degrees—one in management of information systems and the other in business administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock—left her career at Southwest Power Pool to focus on Stella’s care. “I had more than 15 years experience in information technology prior leaving SPP,” she says. “Leaving was the end of an era for me personally, but it is my sincere hope that I can put all of my education to good use helping our little girl. It would be a dream to put that education to use helping other children like Stella as well, and I may find a way to do that in the future.” Shannon’s husband, Steve, also works in information technology at Southwest Power Pool, and she credits him with being a constant source of strength for their family. “He is a loving husband and a deeply compassionate father,” Shannon says. “My mom, who is a telecommunications contractor, also lives with us and helps with Stella’s care, and Stella’s sister Jasmine, who is 10, visits us regularly. Stella adores her ‘sissy.’ In fact, our family has been very supportive since the diagnosis, and everyone accepts Stella for the beautiful ray of sunshine that she is to all of
us. We couldn’t imagine our lives any other way. She brings us all such joy.” Today, Stella attends developmental preschool at Pediatrics Plus in Little Rock. According to Shannon, the Shirleys researched all of the schools for special needs children in their area, touring each of their top three choices. “For me, it came down to where I personally felt most comfortable having Stella,” she says. “Pediatrics Plus felt like home right from the start, and I felt that Stella could thrive in the environment that they create for the children. I am lucky to have found Stella’s Pediatrics Plus family because they have made such a significant difference in my daughter’s life. I will be forever thankful to them.” Today, Shannon focuses her education, experience and energy in helping her daughter make progress with a smile on her face. “She is a wonderfully happy little girl and just like every other 4-yearold in so many ways. There is so much love to fill your heart and keep you going each day. Stella has taught me so much about the world and what is truly important,” she says. “To see things through her eyes and to share her perspective as she grows is an amazing privilege. There are struggles, but there are also shining gifts. Our hopes and dreams for Stella’s future are no different than those of any other parents. Every day she surprises us with her ability to adapt and succeed. We are working every day with her team of doctors, therapists and teachers to ensure she has the best chance possible, and we celebrate every success with her.” THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
OAKLAWN 2015 OPENING DAY JAN. 9, 12:30 P.M., OAKLAWN PARK, HOT SPRINGS
The 111th annual live racing season at Oaklawn opens at the newly renovated facility, which boasts a welcoming new entrance, foyer, gift shop, expanded spaces and more. Visit oaklawn.com for complete details.
SECOND FRIDAY CINEMA: END OF THE LINE JAN. 9, 5 P.M.-8 P.M. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM
January’s installment of Second Friday Cinema features End of the Line, a movie directed by Arkansan Jay Russell and featuring Arkansans Mary Steenburgen and Levon Helm. End of the Line is about two rail workers from Little Rock who hop a train to Chicago in a last ditch effort to save their jobs and way of life. Ben Fry, general manager of KLRE/KUAR and coordinator of the film minor at UALR, will introduce the film and lead a discussion after the screening. Visit oldstatehouse.com for more information.
HEIFER HOUR: SOUTH AMERICA—BOLIVIA JAN. 10, 11 A.M., HEIFER VILLAGE, LITTLE ROCK
Heifer Hour features a craft, game, children’s book or outdoor activity to help teach kids about caring for the Earth and for other people. Activities are geared for children K-5. All materials are provided by Heifer. In January, make a Muddy Pig to take home, and learn about the South American country of Bolivia. Visit heifer.org to learn more.
LIL’ WILD ONES: WOOD DUCK DIARIES
JAN. 10, 2 P.M., WITT STEPHENS JR. CENTRAL ARKANSAS NATURE CENTER, LITTLE ROCK
HAPPENINGS OUR PICKS FOR COOL TO-DOS AROUND CENTRAL ARKANSAS for a complete calendar of events, visit our website at thesavvymoms.com.
They may look like fluff balls when they hatch, but Wood Ducks grow into beautiful ducks. Discover the life of a Wood Duck through hands-on activities for kids ages 4 to 8. Free, no registration required. Visit centralarkansasnaturecenter. com for more information.
THE ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENTS MOZART’S MAGIC FLUTE JAN. 22 & JAN. 23, 7 P.M., ALBERT PIKE MEMORIAL TEMPLE, LITTLE ROCK
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and conductor and music director Philip Mann—in partnership with Opera In The Rock—open the 2014-2015 Intimate Neighborhood Concerts series with Mozart’s “Magic Flute.” $25; $10 student/military, subscription discounts available.
JAN. 23-FEB. 8, FRIDAYS 7 P.M. | SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS 2 P.M., THE CHILDREN’S THEATRE Once upon a time there was a dwarf who tried to take things that just weren’t his. Now this dwarf lived in a land that was ruled by a king whose greed was as grand as his kingdom. And in that kingdom there lived a miller whose bragging mouth was nearly as grand as the king’s greed. And it so happened that this miller had a lovely daughter who was kind and good, but one day she did a very bad thing: she made a promise she could not keep. Now the king is angry, the miller is frightened, and the dwarf is simply out of control. Adapted from the Brothers Grimm by Keith Smith. Visit arkarts.com/rumpelstiltskin for more information and to purchase tickets.
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COURTESY CENTRAL ARKANSAS LIBRARY SYSTEM
Start A New Career As A Home Caregiver Classes For 2015 Now Forming
4TH ANNUAL LEGO CONTEST
JAN. 3, 9 A.M., ROOSEVELT THOMPSON LIBRARY, LITTLE ROCK Show off your original Lego creations at this annual event. Entries must be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. A public viewing will be held from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m., when the awards ceremony begins. Ages 5 to 18. Call 501-821-3060 for more information, or pick up a guidelines sheet at the library.
JAN. 14, 7 P.M., ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER Get your poetry on at the Rocktown Slam! Slam artists will perform during this friendly competition that occurs every third Thursday of the month. You can too! Sign up at the door to perform or come and hear the most exciting poets around. Poets are judged on the delivery of written poetry. Free for members, $5 for nonmembers, $10 for competing poets. Visit arkarts.com for more information.
PIGSKIN IN PEANUTS & HEARTBREAK IN PEANUTS OPENING JAN. 17, 10 A.M.-2 P.M., CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER The Clinton Center will host family programming in coordination with the grand opening of its newest exhibitions, “Pigskin Peanuts” and “Heartbreak in Peanuts” from the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rose, CA. The curator of the exhibition will speak and will answer questions from guests and Snoopy will make an appearance for guests to have photos taken. There will also be “Peanuts”-themed activities for the family to enjoy.
MUSIC & FUN WITH THE KINDERS JAN. 17, 10:30 A.M., MAIN LIBRARY YOUTH SERVICES, LITTLE ROCK Enjoy an hour-long children’s concert featuring Little Rock’s own Brian and Terri Kinder. Visit kindersongs.com for more details.
A DAY OF SERVICE: A DAY ON, NOT A DAY OFF JAN. 19, 10 A.M., BENTON EVENT CENTER The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission will commemorate MLK Day with its annual Day of Service event, featuring special guest speaker Eric Braeden, best known for his role as Victor Newman on the CBS soap opera, “The Young and the Restless,” as well as an appearance by Miss Arkansas Ashton Campbell. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Free to the public. Visit arkingdream.org for more information.
The field of home care is exploding with opportunities for adults who want to earn an income while making a difference in the lives of others. Schmieding Home Caregiver Training is a proven program. • No experience necessary • Small class sizes • Close to home Learn more today at www.arcaregiving.org. Call 501-526-6500 to register.
Schmieding home caregiver Training Program Supported by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
Regardless of age, LIFE is meant to be
Children’s Mental Health Services • Psychological Evaluations & Psychiatric Services • Mental Health Paraprofessional Intervention • School-based Services • Family Therapy • Play Therapy To ensure your child’s well being, visit us online at familiesinc.net, where you can learn more about our children’s services. 1200 James Street Jacksonville, AR 72076 Toll-free: 877.595.8869 501.982.5000 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
CULTIVATE ARTS | EDUCATION | PHILANTHROPY
ART THERAPY Using Artistic Techniques to Heal BY CALLIE FRANCE STERLING
Art therapy is a form of therapy where children are guided by an art therapist, while using creative and artistic methods to facilitate growth. The methods and techniques may be used to expand and develop social skills, discover feelings, provide closure regarding emotional conflicts as well as improve reality and self-awareness.
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nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE
“PLAY IS A CHILD’S NATURAL LANGUAGE.” — HEATHER CHAPMAN HENRY
“The way I explain art therapy to my clients is that it is a way to express themselves using color, line and texture,” licensed certified social worker Sarah Parent says. “I do not critique or interpret their artwork. It is not my job to put meaning to any art that a client creates. There is only meaning put to a piece of art if the client does it themselves. It is about the process, not the product.” Therapy that is more lighthearted can often prove to be just as beneficial as the traditional methods of therapy. Art and playfulness are both easy for children to relate to. “Play is a child’s natural language,” says Heather Chapman Henry, a licensed certified social worker and play therapist. “We have to pay attention to the brain and how the body affects a child’s ability to understand trauma and learning to heal.” Art therapy is often less stressful for children of all ages and not as tasking as verbally discussing their feelings. “For many children talking about feelings, pain and trauma can be a daunting task,” says Parent. “Children of any age can benefit from this modality of therapy because it can seem safer in the sense that they can put some distance between themselves and their feelings. Art therapy allows them to express themselves without having to say anything.” For some children, having something tangible to take home after a therapy session is helpful for their progression. “Many clients put meaning to their art, which can be very powerful and healing,” Parent says. “The beauty of art therapy
is that they can walk away with a visual of their feelings.” Like many forms of therapy, there are specific methods and techniques within art therapy. “There are all different kinds of specific methods involved in art therapy,” Parent says. “Therapists call them art therapy invitations. Some of the methods that I use frequently are The Mandala, Scribble Chase and The Bridge.” Although some methods of art therapy vary, they all have the same common goal for the client who participates. All art therapy sessions are geared towards helping the client progress. “The Mandala is simply a large circle that I draw in the middle of the paper. I then instruct the client to put whatever belongs inside of the circle inside of it,” Parent says. “Then they put whatever belongs outside of the circle outside of it. It doesn’t have to be concrete objects. Abstract colors and lines are fine.” Some methods are more effective with different age groups. For example, a teen may respond better to a different method that a young child may respond to. “Scribble Chase is a great one to use with teens and their parents,” Parent says. “In this method the client decides to be the leader or follower. Then the client and the therapist each pick a color then the designated leader starts scribbling on the page and the designated follower then follows the leader.” The Scribble Chase method often opens doors for future progress between the therapist and the client. The Bridge method seems to work well on clients who are frustrated and grieving. “With the Bridge method, the client is instructed to draw a bridge connecting one area to another,” Parent says. They are then informed to put themselves on the page somewhere. The Bridge is a good invitation to use with those dealing with grief as well as those going through transition or life changes.” The entire concept of art therapy is to assist the client in communicating their emotions and express themselves. “Since play is a child’s natural language, it gives the child the opportunity to express their emotions symbolically, learn coping skills and build their self-esteem,” Chapman Henry says.
LEDC Developmental Day Treatment Clinic Services ( Pre School and Adult) Early Intervention, Waiver and Outreach Occupational , Speech and Physical Therapy LEDC is an Autism Waiver Provider This CARF accreditation signals a service provider's commitment to continually improve services, encourage feedback, and serve the community. Our goal is to continually provide the absolute best and most current services to each and every client regardless of their disability or their needs.
CABOT/205 PLAZA BLVD/501-628-0063/207 W PLAZA /501-628-5580 LONOKE /518 NE FRONT ST/501-676-2786 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
COURTESY OF MIRACLE LEAGUE OF ARKANSAS
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SUPPORT SYSTEM Nonprofit organizations serving families with special needs always need help providing programs and services MEL JONES
From advocacy to education, many of the organizations that serve families with special needs are nonprofits and rely on donations of time and money to provide their services. Chances are you have a friend, family member or coworker whose child has special needs, so consider supporting them by supporting their cause and the organizations that serve them. GIVE YOUR TIME Never underestimate an organization’s need for people power—it is often as great as the need for financial support. Volunteers are crucial to helping nonprofits fulfill their mission. Not only is volunteering a rewarding experience, but finding a cause to volunteer for is also a great way to get your entire family involved as well. ACCESS has a variety of volunteer opportunities including participation in classroom activities and serving on special event committees. Volunteers can also help out at the school’s on-site retail businesses, ACCESS Gardens and ACCESS Ceramics. The Center for Youth and Families needs volunteers for special events such as Harvest Fest and the Centers Classic, as well as mentors for children and back-to-school volunteers to solicit and collect school supplies for the children in their programs. Sports fans will enjoy being a “buddy” to the Miracle League of Arkansas, which offers a fully accessible baseball experience for any child age 4 and
48 JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
older with special needs. You’ll be partnered up with a player to whom you’ll give assistance and encouragement to throughout the entire game. Or if you’d like to work with kids and animals, Beyond Boundaries in Ward provides “hippotherapy”—the use of horses as therapy tools to increase specific motor, sensory, speech, and behavior/social responses. And in Sherwood, Hearts & Hooves provides a similar experience for volunteers, who can work with individual riders, help maintain the grounds and assist with office duties. Located in Conway, Community Connections of Arkansas provides a variety of extra-curricular activities for children with special needs, as well as support for their families. Activities range from performing arts (ACTS Jr.) to martial arts, flag football, soccer and cheerleading, and volunteers are needed for all programs. At Easter Seals Arkansas, volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups abound, including assisting in classrooms at A Child’s Place Preschool, the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, and the Center for Training and Wellness. Weekend and recreation volunteers are also needed, as are “trackers” for the A.R.T. program. Camp Aldersgate, which offers both summer camps and weekend camps for children and youth with disabilities, has a variety of volunteer opportunities, including volunteer counselors and work groups to spend a day on grounds projects such as painting, trail work, gardening, carpentry or just general clean
COURTESY OF SPECIAL OLYMPICS OF ARKANSAS
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up. Groups and individuals can even adopt an area of the camp to continue work projects throughout the year. MAKE A DONATION Almost all of the nonprofit organizations listed in our resource guide accept financial gifts from individuals either via their website, over the phone or by mail. In addition to funds, many organizations also accept donations of muchneeded items. United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas needs so many different things for its programs, and has an extensive wish list on its website that includes puzzles, games, iPads, adapted toys, sensory motivating toys, art supplies, diapers and pull-ups, and more. The Arc Arkansas, which provides support, education and advocacy to people with disabilities and their families, accepts donations of clothing and household items. The Arc sells the donated items to Savers Thrift Stores, and revenue from the sales are used to fund programs at The Arc. HIT THE STREETS…OR THE LINKS Whether you’re a runner, a walker or a golfer, nonprofit “fun runs,” 5Ks and golf tournaments are a great way to give back and break a sweat at the same time. The Arkansas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hosts a 5K NamiWalk each spring, and this year’s event is May 9 at the Clinton Presidential Center. The MDA Muscle Walk of Little Rock on March 14 will benefit the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Tee off for a Cause, the annual golf tournament benefitting the Arkansas Enterprises for the Developmentally Disabled, will be held April 6 at Pleasant Valley Country Club and registration is already open for teams and individual players. And on October 15, the CARTI Kids Golf Classic, which raises support for pediatric cancer patients and survivors, will take place at the Maumelle Country Club. SHOP & GIVE Did you know your late-night Amazon shopping addiction can also help give back to charities and nonprofits? AmazonSmile, which launched in fall 2013, allows you to select a nonprofit to receive 0.5% of all of your eligible Amazon purchases. Just log into AmazonSmile with your existing Amazon account, and you’ll be prompted to choose your charity. You can search by name, location or cause to find organizations. As of this writing, there were more than 9,000 Arkansas nonprofits to choose from. Kroger offers a similar program called Community Rewards, which allows anyone with a Kroger Plus Card to register a nonprofit to receive a percentage of total spending during each quarter. Just visit kroger.com/communityrewards to search the list of nonprofits.
Social media is not as simple as setting up a Facebook page or starting a Twitter account. Chances are that your staff doesn’t have the time or skills necessary to take full advantage of these marketing tools. We offer social media marketing know-how, publishing expertise and a talented photography department and graphics team, and we utilize them all to work for you.
Call Lauren at 501.375.2985 ext. 311 and sign up your business today!
To learn more about these events and other ways to support special needs nonprofits, check out our resource guide on page 17 for websites and contact information. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
We offer services for children with various disabilities ranging from six weeks to 21 years of age. Our Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency Program is the only program offered in the state of Arkansas and one of only seven Pediatric Physical Therapy programs in the country. Motherâ€™s Day Out Available At Both Locations 1500 Wilson Loop Road, Ward (501) 941-5630 NEW LOCATION 5532 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock (501) 588-3211
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The PediaTric clinic, P.a. of norTh liTTle rock
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itchens Pediatric Dentistry
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sick as a dog? Come see us at Velocity Care, your neighborhood walk-in urgent care clinic for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. With our board-certified, emergency medicine physicians, you couldn’t ask for better care. So walk in, see a doctor now and start feeling better right away.
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11600 Chenal Pkwy. (Next to the Purple Cow)
B.R.A.V.O. Open House and Information Session
Come take a tour of our new “Home” and learn more about our program.
Where: 1525 Merrill Drive, Little Rock When: January 8 • 6p-7:30p www.icm-inc.org Contact Sara Monday for more information 501-228-0063 ext. 111 Like us on facebook
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MOMSPEAK GERRITT WHITTAKER
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT
AGE: 39 OCCUPATION: OWNER, MRS. POLKA DOT CHILDREN: ABBY, 8; FINN, 4 WHEN I OPENED MY STORE FOUR-AND-A-HALF YEARS AGO, I NEVER DREAMED…I would own a boutique that made so
many people happy! THE BEST PART ABOUT OWNING MY OWN BUSINESS IS…the
ability to make my own “rules”, try new things and never miss an event for my children. ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH MY KIDS IS…to
take them to New York where I grew up and watch them enjoy the beach and quiet innocence of my hometown. IT’S THE NEW YEAR AND THIS YEAR I WANT TO…make a plan
and become more organized. MY FAVORITE PICK-ME-UP ON A STRESSFUL DAY IS…a pedi-
cure and turning off my phone. IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT AND I’M HOME ALONE, SO I…turn on
HGTV or re-runs of the “Young and the Restless” and curl up with a cozy blanket.
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* Void where prohibited. Offer opens January 1, 2015 and ends 11:59:59 PM ET on the earlier of: (a) depletion of supplies or (b) March 31, 2015. TO ENTER: Send 100 Tyson Project A+ labels along with the Redemption Form found at projectAplus.tyson.com to the address provided on the form to receive 10 free Scholastic books. ELIGIBLE: U.S. or D.C. Coordinators of day care centers and schools with children pre-school through grade 12. For complete Terms & Conditions and a list of eligible products, visit projectAplus.tyson.com. ® / TM / © 2014 Tyson Foods, Inc. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | JANUARY 2015
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When families become stressed by behavioral issues, they need a caring environment. Pinnacle Pointe is the largest children & adolescent behavioral care hospital in Arkansas.
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1-800-880-3322 | www.pinnaclepointehospital.com 11501 Financial Centre Parkway | Little Rock, AR 72211 56 JANUARY 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM