Page 1

OCTOBER 2017

A U G U S TA

ANNUAL SPECIAL

NEEDS DIRECTORY

THERAPY DOGS The role they play for kids with special needs

augustafamily.com


4 • Augusta Family | October 2017


contents www.augustafamily.com

22

Special Kids

35 Departments 6 9

Features 22 Special Kids

Our annual guide to resources throughout the CSRA and beyond.

35 Therapy Dogs

The role they play for kids with special needs —Naimah Shaw

OCTOBER 2017

A U G U S TA

ANNUAL SPECIAL

NEEDS DIRECTORY

THERAPY DOGS The role they play for kids with special needs

Get Ready for Fall ON thE COvER: Zion Suber, 10, is the son of Synita Kendrick and Travis Suber. Zion attends the Special Needs Ministry Education Awareness at Eleven Sixteen Church. Photo by Chris Thelen.

augustafamily.com

Is your child ready for their “close up?” If you think you’ve got a “cover kid,” submit their photo and information on our website and they may grace the cover of Augusta Family Magazine.

Also, check out our contests and giveaways!

{ } Go to augustafamily.com —click on the contest page to find the current contests!

Facebook.com/ augustafamilymagazine

@AUGFamilyMag

Editor’s Page Mom to Mom

Social Media Moms —Paige Tucker

11

News & Notes

14

Eating Well With Kim

Picking Pears —Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE

17

Doctor Dad

18

Smart Mom’s Guide

There Is An App For That —J. Ron Eaker, M.D.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Labeling a Special Needs Child in the School System —Cammie Jones

20

Raising Readers

38

Inspiration Station

40

Calendar

46

Go Girl! Monét ‘Nefertiti’ Robinson —Renee Williams

Reading for the Hearing Impaired —Meridith Flory

Talking to Your Children about Race, Bias and Diversity —Dr. Dana Harris

Augusta Family | October 2017 • 5


Editor’s Notes

AU G U S TA

b y As hlee Duren

www.augustafamily.com

PUBLISHER Ashlee Griggs Duren

EDITOR Renee Williams

GRAPHIC DESIGN & PREPRESS /WEB PRODUCER

I

t is rare that I write anything for Augusta Family. Since taking the helm in June 2015, I have been blessed with two very capable edi-

Michael Rushbrook

tors for this publication. It is with a

DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING

heavy heart that I write the column this

Lisa Dorn

ADVERTISING SALES Doressa Hawes

month on behalf of our editor, Renee Williams. Renee has recently suffered a

Maidi McMurtrie Thompson

tragic loss. Her oldest son, Zakkary, lost

Mary Porter Vann

his life on September 16 as the result of

PHOTOGRAPHY

injuries he sustained in a car accident.

John Harpring Carter Koenig Photography

As a parent, the loss of a child is my

Chris Thelen

greatest fear. A loss that quite simply

CONTRIBUTORS

is unimaginable. For those of you who

Kim Beavers, MS, RD, CDE

have gotten to know Renee through her column during the last year, you know her

J. Ron Eaker, M.D.

Zakkary, Renee and Dylan

Meredith Flory

sons are her world. Both of her sons were involved in the accident, Dylan, her younger

Karen Gordon

son, survived with minor injuries.

Cammie Jones Mary Ashton Mills

A brilliant musician and talented guitar player, Zakkary was a blessing to all who

Paige Tucker

knew him. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but felt like I knew him through

Naimah Shaw

Renee. A kind, loving, intelligent young man with a deep love of life, family and music.

Augusta Family Magazine is published 10 times per year and distributed throughout the Augusta and Aiken area. Send press releases, story ideas or comments to the editor at renee.williams@ augustafamily.com or mail to 725 Broad Street, Augusta, Ga., 30901. For advertising information, telephone (706) 823-3702. For circulation/distribution, call (706) 823-3722.

Renee is doing as well as can be expected. She is finding comfort in knowing that Zakk lives on. He was an organ donor. His final gift here on earth will give someone else the chance at life. We are truly a family here at Augusta Family. Our hearts are broken for Renee and Dylan. As a Christian, I believe that Zakk is now with the Lord and will continue to watch over his family and that one day, they will be reunited. Until then, Renee will need the support of her family and friends. In the coming weeks and months, please keep Renee and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

We look forward to hearing from you; visit our website www.augustafamily.com and on facebook and twitter. Facebook.com/ augustafamilymagazine @AUGFamilyMag

6 • Augusta Family | October 2017

Ashlee Duren ashlee.duren@augustamagazine.com


SMALL SCHOOL. BIG OPPORTUNITIES.

JOIN US FOR OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29TH AT 2PM. THANK YOU FOR VOTING US AUGUSTA’S FAMILY FAVORITE HIGH SCHOOL

AQUINAS HIGH SCHOOL | 1920 HIGHLAND AVE | AUGUSTA, GA 30904 | 706 736-5516 Augusta Family | October 2017 • 7


Mom to Mom b y Pa i g e T u c ker

Social Media Moms

O

h, social media. The good, the bad. The necessary? As modern moms, we have so many conveniences right at our fingertips. A quick status update can help with everything from choosing the best children’s photographer to feeding your family, with twentyfive Crock-Pot recipes all provided in minutes by your Facebook friends. The equipment upgrades aren’t shabby either! I had a baby just three years ago, but already when walking through a baby store it’s clear how quickly the latest and greatest gear becomes outdated. New products to make raising children easier and must-have items for surviving those first few months line the store shelves, making you wonder how you ever lived without them. Video monitors, split screen monitors for when more than one child comes along, and my favorite, the Rock-N-Play, that’s now automatic. (Get one... it’s a game-changer!) Social media conveniences are the bright spots of what can often be a black hole. Scrolling through Facebook can sometimes help you make it through that 3 AM nursing session. Instagram has become the 21st century baby book. I’ve recently discovered a golden nugget called Marco Polo. It’s a video message app to use among friends. My closest high school friends invited me to join and I have since formed groups with other mommy friends. Short video messages let you catch up on life, ask questions like “Is it normal when...,” and really just support each other in a non-intrusive, mommy-friendly way. Motherhood has a way of making you doubt yourself. Should I have taken her to the doctor sooner? Did I make the right decision about this or that? Was I too quick to discipline or not firm enough? What is a normal amount of Daniel Tiger, whining, wine, etc.?! Just when you think you’re the only mom who’s close to losing it when you’re on Day 8 of a child’s funky cold or the only one failing miserably at weathering the tantrums of the terrible twos, a friend will post a video with two children under three squealing and crawling on her like she’s a tree... all while she expertly maneuvers her arm through their intertwined bodies to take another sip of her wine! In our groups, we don’t use the glossy filters (although there are filters for when you’re not feeling “camera-ready”) and we meet each other where we are. So I say get social! Many of these ladies I have not seen in years and had not kept up with beyond a few Christmas get-togethers and Facebook updates. Our lives have gone in all different directions since high school and we are spread out all over the country. But now, we are all moms of little ones and have so much in common again. We are finding joy in the journey and taking delight in the dayto-day of this amazing, exhausting and most precious phase of life. After twelve years in local news, most recently as evening anchor of NBC 26, Paige Tucker is now a work-at-home mom and freelance journalist. She produces two series for NBC 26 TV, First Responders and 26 Women Today, and you can see those stories on Tuesday nights. Paige and her husband have one daughter, Julia Reynolds, who is three years old.

4584 Cox Road, Evans (adjacent to Evans High School) | www.mysanctuary.org | 706-364-8284 Augusta Family | October 2017 • 9


news&notes October 2017

app-Tastic! For special needs

The award-winning app provides parenTs of children wiTh auTism a resource to organize meds, supplements & therapies. Parents can record and track sleeping habits, behaviors, meals & more to help better understand and manage their child’s progress.

Compatible with iPhone, IPad and iPod touch.Free!

Birdhouse was created by a small team of family and friends. They wanted to make Autism and other special needs diagnosis’ easier to navigate and stay organized with. This will help to improve the quality of life for so many special needs families.

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault Augusta Family | October 2017 • 11


news&notes Are we there yet?

DAHLONEGA, GEORGIA.

N

orth Georgia is home to the largest gold deposit found east of the Mississippi River and a visit to Dahlonega’s many gold sights is worth its weight in gold! In 1828 a deer hunter had no idea the craze he was about to ignite when he stumbled over a rock a few miles outside of Dahlonega. Upon further investigation, he realized this rock contained gold, marking the beginning of the gold rush in Georgia. Today, signs of this gold heritage are everywhere from the gold dome that crowns the state capital in Atlanta to the Dahlonega Gold Museum and consolidated gold mines in Lumpkin County. A trip to the consolidated gold mines is often referred to as traveling 200 feet underground and 100 years back in time. Two miles away you can try your luck panning for gold at Crisson Gold Mine and you may just strike it rich! Besides a history full of gold, the quaint town square of Dahlonega offers something for everyone. Visitors will also enjoy the many scenic drives that border a variety of waterfalls and vistas. Purchase the Gold Fever Package from the Dahlonega Visitors Center offering reduced rates on admission to museums and gold mines. Next enjoy a meal at one of many restaurants on the square. After lunch, grab an itinerary from the Visitors Center for the Lumpkin-Union Loop or the Brasstown Bald Loop, depending on the time you have. Each of these driving tours starts and ends in Dahlonega and provides access to waterfalls. The Brasstown Bald Loop takes visitors to the highest point in the state of Georgia. End the day with a family style dinner at the Smith House and we recommend the fried chicken!! Before you leave, check out the Gold Mine Shaft inside the building. You don’t have to walk far to rest your head

12 • Augusta Family | October 2017

Consolidate Gold Mine, Dahlonega, Georgia

photo by Flickr/Rain0975

By Mary Ashton Mills

tonight because the Smith House is also an inn that is registered with Historic Hotels of America. DISTANCE: 3 hours 10 minutes, 163 miles BUDGET: Rooms at The Smith House start at 149.00 and go up. Cottages are available for larger parties. WHAT TO SEE: Consolidate Gold Mine, Crisson Gold Mine, Dahlonega Gold Museum, The Smith House, Amicalola Falls, DeSoto Falls, Dicks Creek Falls, Anna Ruby Falls, Brasstown Bald. IF YOU GO: Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas in the square runs November 24-December 23 and features parades, lights and more.


news&notes

SAFE KIDS

FAST FACTS

Halloween is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for kids, but Safe Kids recently discovered some scary statistics with a firstof-its-kind study on Halloween safety. Did you know that young pedestrians are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween? “One of the most important things you can do to protect your children is to make sure they are highly visible and that they only cross streets with the assistance of an adult,” said Renee´ McCabe, injury prevention and program manager of Safe Kids Greater Augusta. “There is a much greater danger of children being struck by a vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, so be very, very careful out there and obey the traffic laws.” Here are important precautions that Safe Kids recommends: • Talk to your children about Halloween safety, including the dos and don’ts to follow before you go out. Some of those include, do put devices away; do keep your head up; do stay on sidewalks; do let parents check candy; and don’t chew on or break glow sticks; don’t go inside homes; and don’t run in the street. • Use reflective tape on costumes or have your children wear glow sticks

and similar lighted adornment so that they are easily spotted by drivers. • Drivers should slow down on Halloween, especially in residential neighborhoods, because kids often move in unpredictable ways. • Children 12 and under should not cross the street without an adult. Always cross at the corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Also, be sure to watch for cars turning or backing up. • It’s recommended that a parent or other responsible adult accompany children as they go from door to door. Teens need supervision too. • Finally, if you are driving your children from house to house in a vehicle, don’t compromise their safety. Safety seats, seat belts and other appropriate restraints still should be used.

“Even though it’s tempting to take shortcuts, it’s best to follow the rules in order to better protect your children and others around you,” said McCabe. “It’s better to have a costume that scares you on Halloween than a near miss caused by an unsafe situation.” Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 19. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids Worldwide network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606, or visit augustahealth.org/safekids. To view the Safe Kids Worldwide Teens and Distraction campaign and videos, visit SafeKids.org.

Augusta Family | October 2017 • 13


Eating well with Kim

photo by Sergey Zolkin

b y Ki m B e a ve rs , M S , R D, L D, C DE

14 • Augusta Family | October 2017


Eating well with Kim

Picking Pears Berries are the nutritional powerhouses of the fruit world, but today I’d like to show the lowly pear a little love. Pears are impressive for their fiber content one medium pear has 6g fiber, in addition they are a good source of vitamin C plus they are juicy and delicious when perfectly ripe. However knowing when pears are ripe is a little on the tricky side. Pears resemble avocados….there is a perfect level of ripeness in which to eat them and then there are less perfect times of ripeness, when you wish you had either eaten them earlier or waited just a little longer to eat them. Pears do not actually ripen on the tree, they are harvested when mature but not fully ripe, left at room temperature they will slowly reach sweet, juicy maturity as they ripen from the inside out. The best way to tell if a pear is ripe is to push on the neck of your pear by applying gentle pressure to the neck, or stem end, of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, then it’s ripe and

Pear and Pickled Onion Salad Just add a grilled chicken or fish and you have the perfect fall outdoor eating experience. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons cider vinegar; divided use 2 teaspoons honey or agave syrup ¼ teaspoon kosher salt Pepper to taste 6 cups mixed greens ¼-1/2 cup lightly pickled red onion (see note) 1 yellow pear, cored and chopped 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) Combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey or agave, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk vigorously. Add the chopped pear and coat (to help avoid browning). When ready to serve remove the pears from the dressing with a slotted spoon. Toss the salad dressing with the salad greens and evenly distribute onto each of 4 plates and top with the pears, red onion, and pepitas.

ready to eat! For a little kitchen fun practice this “pear-neck” technique with the kids at home to involve them in food selection. Once the pear is ripe, it can be refrigerated to slow the ripening process and saved for use up to five days. May you forever more enjoy deliciously ripe pears!

Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/eatingwellwithkim. To search for specific recipes go to www.universityhealth.org/ewwk. You can also watch the segments

Yield: 4 servings Nutrition Breakdown: Calories 180, Fat 12g (2g saturated), Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrate 14g, Fiber 3g, Protein 4g, Potassium 90g. Percent Daily Value: 60% Vitamin A, 25% Vitamin C, 15% Iron, 4% Calcium Note: To make the pickled red onion: slice a large red onion into the shape that you like and place in a colander and pour boiling hot water over the onion. In a separate bowl combine ~3 tablespoons cider vinegar with 1-2 teaspoons agave nectar and ~ ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss the drained onions with the cider mix and let it sit for several hours in the refrigerator. Store in the refrigerator and use over grilled meat, on sandwiches or on salad as I have done here. This recipe came from The Heart of the Plate cookbook by Mollie Katzen. I highly recommend the recipe and the book!

at www.wrdw.com/ewwk.

Augusta Family | October 2017 • 15


Bash SAVE THE DATE!

OCTOBER 10TH, 2017 SACRED HEART CULTURAL ARTS CENTER 6pm - 8pm www.AugustaMagazine.com


Dr. Dad

b y J. Ro n E a ke r, M . D.

THERE IS AN APP FOR THAT Need groceries delivered…there’s an app for that.

well being and treatment whereas the others (almost 24,000) had no im-

Want to name a new kitten…there’s an app for that.

pact on patient wellness or health.

Want to get pregnant… there’s an app for that, but it turns out it’s probably not very helpful.

One example sited in another study specifically looked at apps to help diagnose skin melanoma. Essentially you upload a photo of a lesion and then the app follows an algorithm and tells you the likelihood of the lesion

A new study out of the Georgetown School of medicine suggests that

being cancer. The team found that even the most accurate of the apps

the majority of fertility apps blanketing the market are of minimal useful-

that used algorithms missed 18 of the 60 lesions diagnosed as melanoma

ness in either predicting fertility or timing to prevent pregnancy.

and deemed them low-risk for cancer. The danger in these and apps like

This study, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, looked at ninety five fertility apps that were commonly

it is not so much in the inaccurate information, but the potential delay in treatment or diagnosis due to complacency or false reassurance.

available on sites such as iTunes or Google Play. The number of apps

As previously noted, part of the problem with health apps is there

available in this one area should raise a red flag from the outset, but

is virtually no guidelines regulating what can be promoted as accurate

then, when scrutinized, the study’s authors noted over half of the apps

health information. Some government entities, such as the FDA, are at-

had a disclaimer that stated the app should either not be used to prevent

tempting to set up guidelines for reliability, but they are hampered by the

pregnancy or admitted to using non-scientifically based data. It ap-

volume and diversity of existing sites.

peared that many of these apps were little more than games and gimmicks with no real medical value. In fact, only six of the ninety five apps reviewed correctly pre-

On the flip side, there are some apps that are incredibly useful and are having a very positive impact on patients’ health. Many of these are of the genre of data collection in which things like blood pressure, pulse,

dicted a woman’s fertile days, according to the authors. Lead author

respiratory effort, blood sugar levels and even heart tracings (EKG) can be

Dr.Marguerite Duane stated, “The effectiveness of fertility awareness-

accumulated and transmitted to a health care provider, thus allowing for a

based methods depends on women observing and recording fertility bio-

productive interaction in a more convenient and timely fashion. Many of

markers and following evidence-based guidelines. Apps offer a convenient

those at the forefront of virtual medicine technologies predict that these

way to track fertility biomarkers, but only some employ evidence-based

types of apps (data collection) may revolutionize patient care, especially

data.” In other words, some of the apps are little more than calendars in

in rural or underdeveloped areas where health care access is a challenge.

which you can record your cycle days and have little to do with true pre-

For example, getting serial blood pressure information to a health care

dictability of fertility.

provider days, maybe even weeks, before a patient may be able to come

This is but one example of where the explosion of health apps has largely gone unregulated and has led to the potential for disastrous health consequences. It’s one thing to have an unfettered market for games or

into a clinic or office can facilitate quick and effective interventions that may prevent future complications. The use of health care apps is best served by the adage “buyer beware”

news sites, but apps that claim to offer health advice need to be held to a

as a healthy dose of skepticism is critical to safe and effective usage. Do

more stringent standard.

your homework. Review what you are wanting to accomplish and re-

By some estimates, 20% of cell phone users have downloaded at least one health related app. That adds up to 500 million users worldwide that could be getting health information or using health related tools to

search what a app can actually do…or not do. There are plenty of websites that regularly review apps for accuracy and reliability. And, of course, there is an app for that.

monitor everything from blood sugar levels to blood pressure. The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics recently looked at over 40,000 health related apps and found that only 16,000 had any relevance to a patient’s

Dr. Eaker is an Augusta Ob/GYN and author. He and his wife, Susan, have two daughters in college.

Augusta Family | October 2017 • 17


Smart Mom’s Guide b y C a m m i e Jo n es

Advantages and Disadvantages of Labeling a Special Needs Child in the School System As parents, we are so aware of learning disabilities and chil-

(IDEA) was signed into law and basically ensures that children

dren with special needs today. There is a plethora of informa-

with disabilities in the United States will receive special educa-

tion right at our fingertips and resources available to help par-

tion services. Talithia F. Newsome, director of Special Educa-

ents if they feel their child is struggling in school. What exactly

tion and Support Services in the Richmond County School

does “special needs” mean and what are the advantages and

System, says there are 13 categories of exceptionality defined

disadvantages of labeling a child in the school system? How

under the Disabilities Education Act. “In order for students to

can parents make sure their child is getting the best education

receive special education they must be identified under one of

possible in the most positive environment?

the categories and be in need of special education and support services,” she says. There are both advantages and disadvan-

In 2004, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

18 • Augusta Family | October 2017

tages to being labeled as a child with special needs.


Smart Mom’s Guide

AdvAntAges

some. These students may feel that they cannot do well in school or are not smart.

1.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

An obvious pro of labeling a child who has special

2.

needs in the classroom is that teachers can use this

Parents and teachers may be guilty of having lower

information to help the child learn using their limita-

expectations for children with special needs. They

tions as a guide. “Once a student is identified, the stu-

may believe the student cannot do what is required of

dent can receive an individualized education program

the other students and therefore lower the learning

designed to meet his/her unique needs,” says New-

expectations for the child. Basically, if the teachers and

some. “Identifying students in specific categories of

parents don’t believe in the child, then the child won’t

disability allows professionals to design an educational

believe in himself either. “Lower expectations sets up

plan specifically for the student which will best meet

the student for failure,” Newsome says.

Lower Expectations from Parents & Teachers

the students’ educational needs.” 3. 2.

Extra Learning Support

Peer Issues

Fellow students can be mean and make fun of the

By labeling a child, they will receive extra services

student with special needs because they are different.

that they may not have been able to receive other-

“This may lead to the student having difficulty making

wise. For example, the child may be able to receive

friends and/or make them vulnerable to bullying or

instruction in a learning support room at a pace that

other mistreatment,” adds Newsome. It’s very impor-

works for them. “They can receive frequent repetition

tant that teachers and parents help these students to

and instruction in a much smaller setting with other

build a positive self-image and boost their self-esteem

students just like them,” says Rose Kivi, author of “How

by helping them build healthy relationships with oth-

the ‘Learning Disabled’ Label Affects Students,” posted

ers and to recognize their strengths.

on brighthubeducation.com. In order to ensure that the positives outweigh the 3.

Targeted Instruction

negatives when labeling a child as special needs in the

Kivi says that by labeling the child as “learning dis-

school system it is necessary that parents get involved

abled” these students are able to get help in order to

and become educated about the process. “It is im-

remediate their specific problem. “Receiving instruc-

portant for parents to attend IEP meetings and other

tion based on what students need is crucial in helping

parent conferences,“ advises Newsome.

them excel and be successful in the future,” she says. The teachers and staff are better equipped to teach

Parents are considered to be full and equal members

the child in a way that ensures learning by know-

of the IEP team, along with school personnel. Be-

ing what the specific learning disability is for each

cause parents have inside knowledge of their child’s

student.

strengths and needs, they are crucial members of

disAdvAntAges

the team. “Parents have the right to be involved in meetings that discuss the identification, evaluation, IEP development and educational placement of their

1.

Low Self-Esteem for the Student

children,” says Newsome. They are encouraged to stay

There are many laws in place that protect the rights of

engaged with the school and communicate to work

students with disabilities including access to services

effectively with the staff. “Most importantly, parents

and helping to ensure these students are not discrimi-

should be there for their child to listen and to support

nated against. However, many children do have low

them as needed throughout the school year,” New-

self-esteem once they are labeled. “Students who

some says.

are identified as students with disabilities may doubt themselves, feel that they are not as smart as others and create a sense of learned helplessness,” says New-

Cammie Jones is an Augusta freelance writer and mother of three.

Augusta Family | October 2017 • 19


Raising Readers by Mere d i th Fl o r y

Reading for the Hearing Impaired The image of reading a bedtime story to our children, snuggled up as a family while turning the pages of one of our own childhood favorites is in the minds of many parents as they await a new baby. We know that reading to your children is a strong predictor of success in school, and it can be a part of a calming bedtime routine. However, what if as a parent you discover that bedtime stories may not look exactly like you expected them to? I spoke with Kandice Hunt, a consultant and teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on ways to incorporate reading into a household that is also meeting special needs. Hunt works for Carter Hears! a company that serves students with hearing loss in public schools across the state of South Carolina. Many hearing adults associate sound very heavily with learning – we expect that we will give our children instructions, teach them about the association of letters to specific sounds, and use verbal cues to communicate. For special needs children, depending upon their specific diagnosis, parents may not be able to rely on communication skills they already have, but they can still encourage their child’s development for the abilities they have. For the families Hunt works with, reading is still an important and vital part of family bonding and learning, with adjustments to support the child that may not be able to hear the book being read aloud.

20 • Augusta Family | October 2017


Raising Readers

Hunt addressed the first steps that parent’s take

will know sign language.” She encourages using resources

when parents learn that their child is deaf or hard of

such as Signing Time and ASL Nook and to reach out to

hearing. She states, “they immediately have to jump

your state’s early intervention services “to pursue a Deaf

into research to decide upon the best technology and

mentor who should assist the parents in beginning to

communication mode for their child and their family”

learn sign language” and also looking for local parent orga-

and lists that some of those choices include hearing

nizations that provide sign language classes.

aids, American Sign Language, or cochlear implants.

She also points out that “there are several strategies

Even focusing on this one particular medical challenge,

that parents should think about when reading to their

“how parents approach reading to their children will

children regardless of communication mode.” Many

depend on the type of hearing loss, type of technol-

deaf/hard of hearing children face a delayed vocabu-

ogy, and the mode of communication.” She encourages

lary, and children who are not read to, or face a learning

that parents “can read to their children either through

disability may face this challenge as well. She shares

spoken language or sign language, or both!” Many of

that to combat this delay, both parents and siblings “can

her suggestions may be helpful to families facing other

pull out key words and idioms that are used in every-

challenges as well, or families that want to make story

day language and discuss the meaning and use of those

time a more dynamic experience.

words.” Siblings can help at story time by helping to

As a child with hearing loss ages, the approach to story time may need to change and Hunt explained that,

elaborate on texts and connecting the story to the real world as they talk to a younger brother or sister.

“for infants, it is best to read to your child face to face.

Family role playing with stories or possible world

As the child develops, it is best to sit the child in your

experiences can also help expand vocabulary and help a

lap and either read into their ear or engage them with

child feel more comfortable in different environments.

signing on the pages of the book. This will help children

Hunt shared that thinking about ways a sibling can help

develop a connection to print.”

their brother or sister is “very dear to me because I grew

As children with special needs age and develop,

up with a Deaf brother. Siblings can become involved by

learning to read may be a source of frustration, but

reading and acting out stories together. Some communi-

family members can work to help the child find reading

ties offer sign language classes for children as well.”

to be a worthwhile and enjoyable pursuit. Hunt points

Choosing stories of interests to the child is often a

out that if families are choosing a listening and speaking

common theme in this column, and Hunt stated that

route “they will want to ensure that technology is giving

this is an important concept with a special needs child

their child the best access to sound as possible.” She

as well. In addition to their interests, making sure

advises working with a speech therapist who specializes

to cultivate a reading lists that has characters with

in Auditory-Verbal Therapy. For children with other

special needs can help a child feel empowered and can

special needs, making sure to have a team in place of

build empathy even in families where children do not

therapists, medical specialist, and educators can give

face these challenges. Hunt shared some of her favor-

you the right advice for your families unique needs (be

ites are The Junkyard Wonders by Patrica Polacco, El

sure to look through the guide in this edition for local

Deafo by CeCe Bell (a Newberry Honor book), Out of

support groups and resources that may help with this).

My Mind by Sharon Draper, and Deaf Child Crossing

Hunt also recognized that this journey will be dif-

by Marlee Matlin.

ficult at times for the parents as well as the children, and household that “have chosen a sign language, bi-lingual, or total communication route” will require a learning curve for parents as well because “90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. It is highly unlikely that the parents

Meredith Flory is an Augusta-area freelance writer, military spouse and mother of two. She has a masters degree in children’s literature from Kansas State University and has taught high school and college English.

Augusta Family | October 2017 • 21


AGENCIES FOCUSING ON SPECIAL NEEDS POPULATIONS

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kids OUR ANNUAL GUIDE TO SPECIAL NEEDS RESOURCES THROUGHOUT THE CSRA

Children with special needs and their families face particular challenges. Disorders and defects may be apparent at birth or present as developmental delays at a later stage. Injury and illness may impact functioning. Whatever the source or cause of a disability, the child it affects has the same basic need for love and care as other children. His or her parents want the best for their treasure now and in the future. Attaining the right services for a special needs child can turn challenges into triumphs.

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Able Tree Autism Treatment Center 3736 Executive Center Dr., Augusta. 706-426-4200. www.abletreeatc.com. Services include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, professional development, educational support/ advocacy, social skills groups, and certified music therapy. All About Developmental Disabilities 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 300, Decatur. 404-881-9777. www.aadd.org. Offers family support services, advocacy and education. Center for Disability Resources University of South Carolina School of Medicine 8301 Farrow Rd., Columbia, S.C. 803-935-5231. www.uscm.med.sc.edu/cdrhome. Programs support families and their children with developmental delays, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, autism and other diagnoses through assistive technology programs, education, supported community living programs, supported employment and more. Easter Seals East Georgia 1500 Wrightsboro Rd., Augusta. 706-667-9695. www.easterseals.com/eastgeorgia. Work programs help disabled teenagers transition from school into the workplace. There are also work-related programs for disabled adults. The Champions for Children program provides financial assistance to families of special needs and medically fragile children who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the TEFRA/Katie Beckett Medicaid program. Family Connection of South Carolina 1800 St. Julian Place, Suite 104, Columbia, S.C. 803-252-0914. www.familconnectionsc.org. A statewide non-profit organization that connects families of children with special healthcare needs or disabilities with helpful resources, support and education.


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The Foundation for Therapeutic Options P.O. Box 3421, Augusta. 706-564-6172. www.therapyoptions.org. Provides families of children with special needs with funding for therapeutic supplies and treatment. Georgia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 2302 Parklake Dr., NE, Suite 210, Atlanta. 404-325-6973. Georgia@cff.org www.cff.org. Conducts fundraising to fund research for a cure. Provides information and resources for parents of children with cystic fibrosis. The Georgia Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 3525 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Building 6, Suite 300, Atlanta. 404-420-5990. georgia@jdrf.org. www.georgia.jdrf.org. This organization has the Family Network, which provides support, encouragement and programming for families of children with diabetes. Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities 2 Peachtree St., N.W., 24th floor, Atlanta. 404-657-2252. www.dbhdd.georgia.gov. To access mental health, substance abuse and crisis and emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call 1-800-715-4225. To locate treatment or support services for individuals with mental illness, substance abuse disorders or developmental disabilities, visit www. mygcal.com. Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities - Region 2 3405 Mike Padgett Highway, Building 3, Augusta. 706-792-7733; 866-380-4835. Behavioral Health Regional Services Administrator: Dawn Peel, 706-792-7671, dawn.peel@dbhdd. ga.gov. Developmental Disabilities Regional Services Administrator: Karla Brown, 706-792-7695, karla. brown@dbhdd.ga.gov. www.dbhdd.georgia.gov/region-2. Operates a community-based system of care. The community-based system allows clients to receive

care in the least restrictive setting possible while helping them to obtain a life of independence and recovery. Provides planning for and coordination of provider network; offers technical assistance; and serves as the point of contact for consumers who have questions about accessing services. Georgia Department of Community Health 2 Peachtree St., N.W., Atlanta. 404-656-4507. www.dch.georgia.gov/waivers. The New Options Waiver (NOW) and the Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP) offer home- and community-based services for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) or developmental disabilities (DD) through the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) Division of Medical Assistance Plans. To read information on Medicaid waivers: www.dch.georgia.gov/sites/dch. georgia.gov/files/imported/vgn/images/portal/ cit_1210/49/43/92560099NOW_COMP_FY12.pdf. Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services and Division of Family and Children Services 2 Peachtree St., Suite 29-250, Atlanta. 404-651-6316. CustomerService@dhr.state.ga.us. www.dhs.georgia.gov. The agency provides a variety of services, including administrating the Wednesday’s Child Program which finds adoptive families for special needs children. HealthSouth Walton Rehabilitation Hospital 1355 Independence Dr., Augusta. 706-724-7746. www.healthsouthwalton.com. An excellent resource for information and assistance with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Learning Disabilities Association of Georgia 4105 Briarcliff Rd., N.E., Suite 3, Atlanta. 404-303-7774 or ldaofgeorgia@gmail.com. www.ldag.org. One of 50 volunteer state organizations which comprise the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). For more than 30 years their mission has been to enhance the quality of life for individuals of all ages with learning disabilities and/or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD). Members are served by a state office and volunteers who provide resources and sponsor events.

National Down Syndrome Society 800-221-4602. info@ndss.org. www.ndss.org. Provides information and resources for parents and expectant parents of infants and children diagnosed with Down Syndrome. National Federation of the Blind of Georgia and South Carolina 1901 Montreal Rd., Suite 102, Tucker, Ga. 404-371-1000. www.nfbga.org. The organization provides public education, information, referral services, literature and publications about blindness, adaptive equipment for the blind, advocacy services and job opportunities for the blind, plus support for blind persons and their families. Serenity Behavioral Health System 3421 Mike Padgett Hwy., Augusta. 706-432-4800. www.serenitybhs.com. Provides a range of services for people with mental retardation, developmental disabilities and mental health issues. SC Association for the Deaf 437 Center St., West Columbia, S.C. 803-794-3175. 803-794-7059 (TTY). 803-403-9255 (video phone). www.scadservices.org. Promotes equal treatment toward deaf and hardof-hearing citizens in education, employment, legislation, healthcare and other fields pertaining to the deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens of South Carolina. Compiles and updates contact information to help you connect with the many agencies and groups offering assistance and services for the deaf and hard of hearing. Soto ALG 3736 Executive Center Dr., Augusta. 706-426-4200. www.sotoalg.com. Soto ALG provides residential and day services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Services include community residential alternative services, community access (group and individual), supported employment services, prevocational services and ABA therapy. Additional services include community living support and specialized

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medical supplies. They accept NOW/COMP Medicaid waivers and private pay. Spina Bifida Association of Georgia 5072 Bristol Industrial Way, Suite F, Buford, Ga. 770-939-1044 or sbag@spinabifidaga.org. www.spinabifidaga.org. Provides information and education for parents, plus raises awareness of this birth defect and promotes prevention. Tri-Development of Aiken County 1016 Vaucluse Rd., Aiken, S.C. 803-642-8800. director@aikentdc.org. www.aikentdc.org. A United Way-funded agency providing services

for children and adults with autism, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, mental retardation and related disorders. United Cerebral Palsy Georgia 3300 NE Expressway, Building 9, Atlanta. 770-676-2000. www.ucpga.org. Headquartered in Atlanta, the organization offers services in the Augusta area. Some of its statewide services include information and referral, employment services and residential services. United Cerebral Palsy South Carolina 1101 Harbor Dr., West Columbia, S.C. 803-926-8878. info@ucpsc.org.

www.ucpsc.org. In South Carolina, UCP offers adult day services, family support and residential services. Reaching Milestones 3706 Executive Center Dr., Suite A, Martinez. 706-863-9699. www.reachingmilestones.com. Augusta clinic services include Applied Behavior Analysis, language assessments, center and home based behavioral therapy, social skills, treatment of problem behavior, and more.

MEDICAL, THERAPY AND TREATMENT PROGRAMS

BABIES AND TODDLERS Aiken County First Steps 1 Willis Circle, Graniteville, S.C. 803-663-5604 www.aikenfirststeps.org First Steps is a results-oriented, statewide, early childhood education initiative designed to ensure that South Carolina children arrive at first grade healthy and ready to succeed. A+ Kids 6140 Woodside Executive Court, Aiken. 803-642-0700 or info@apluspta.com. www.apluspta.com/main/apluskids. Early intervention services for infants and toddlers evidencing delays in growth, development and learning. Babies Can’t Wait (Statewide interagency service delivery systems) Georgia Department of Public Health 2 Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta. 404-657-2700. www.dph.georgia.gov/Babies-Cant-Wait. For infants and toddlers with develop-

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mental delays or disabilities, from birth to age 3. Georgia Chapter of March of Dimes 1776 Peachtree St., Suite 2005, Atlanta. 404-350-9800. www.marchofdimes.com/georgia. The March of Dimes works to prevent premature births, prevent birth defects, improve the health of babies and support families if something does go wrong. The Genetics Department at Children’s Hospital of Georgia Medical Office Building, 1447 Harper St., 3rd floor, Augusta. 706-721-5437. www.augustahealth.org/childrens-hospital-of-georgia/pediatric-specialties/genetics. The pediatric genetics specialists evaluate and test for genetic disease in children or birth defects, such as chromosomal disorders (for example, Down Syndrome), neurofibromatosis, cystic fibrosis, or other disorders.

Aiken Therapeutic Riding Center (formerly STAR) www.greatoakatrc.org info@greatoakatrc.org ATRC is an affiliate of PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). ATRC is designed to promote certified therapeutic riding for children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. Augusta Developmental Specialists 1303 D’Antignac St., Suite 2100, Augusta. 706-396-0600. www.augustadevelopmentalspecialists.com. Specializes in helping people with healthcare and developmental needs. The group provides developmental assessment, care coordination between therapists and school staff, a wheelchair clinic and more. Led by Karen Carter, M.Ed., M.D., the group includes a licensed massage therapist and recreational therapist. Offers speech, occupational and physical therapy. Blue Ribbon Riders 987 Reynolds Farm Rd., Grovetown. 706-854-0644. Equine-assisted activity and hippotherapy program for ages 3 and up. A Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International) premier accredited center. Hippotherapy uses the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy to address impairments,


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functional limitations and disabilities in patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. Contact Claudia Morin. Children’s Hospital of Georgia Pediatric Audiology 1447 Harper St., 2nd floor. 706-721-6009. www.augustahealth.org/childrens-hospital-ofgeorgia/pediatric-specialties/peds-otolaryngology/ pediatric-audiology. Patients receive comprehensive audiology, speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy services from a team of skilled professionals in a facility designed and equipped for children. Children’s Hospital of Georgia Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology 1447 Harper St. 706-721-0433. www.augustahealth.org/childrens-hospital-ofgeorgia/pediatric-specialties/peds-diabetes/pediatric-diabetes-and-endocrinology-home. Delivers care for children with growth problems, over and under-active thyroid, advanced or delayed puberty and juvenile diabetes. The pediatric diabetes team helps children manage diabetes and live active lives. Children’s Hospital of Georgia Pediatric Psychiatry 706-721-9331. www.augustahealth.org/childrens-hospital-ofgeorgia/pediatric-specialties/psychiatry/pediatricpsychiatry. Offers outpatient and inpatient treatment for children ages 6-16 years with emotional and behavioral problems. Children’s Medical Services Georgia Department of Public Health 2 Peachtree St., N.W., 11th floor, Atlanta. 404-657-2850. www.dph.georgia.gov/CMS. A community-based comprehensive system of health care services available for Georgia’s children with chronic medical conditions from birth to 21 years who live in low income households. Children’s Medical Services (CMS) provides care coordination and other needed medical/health services for eligible children and their families. CMS may provide, arrange for and/or pay for comprehensive physical evaluations, diagnostic tests, inpatient/outpatient hospitalization, medications and other medical treatments, therapy, durable medical equipment, hearing aids related to the child’s CMS-eligible condition, and genetic counseling.

CSRA Therapy Services, Inc. 2485 Hwy 88, Hephzibah. 706-592-5565. Providing occupational and speech-language therapy services for children with special needs in the CSRA. Ducktails Pediatric Therapy & Wellness 568 Blue Ridge Dr., Evans. 706-364-5262. www.ducktailspediatric.com. Ducktails provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and athletic development for children from infancy through 21 years of age. Services address, but are not limited to, neuromuscular development and abnormal tone, developmental delay, balance and posture, sensory integration, ADHD, handwriting and fine motor skills, and speech language and auditory processing. Augusta University Developmental Pediatrics Medical Office Building, 3rd floor, Augusta. 706-721-3791. www.augusta.edu/mcg/pediatrics/adolescentmed/developmentalpediatrics.php. Specializes in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, general pediatrics and adolescent medicine. Accepts new patients by physician referral. Hitchcock Healthcare 690 Medical Park Dr., Aiken. 803-293-4371 (children’s therapy). www.hitchcockhealthcare.org. A provider for adults and children, offering a full range of quality services including, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Lighthouse Care Center 3100 Perimeter Pkwy., Augusta. 706-651-0005. www.lighthousecarecenters.com. Offers a serene residential setting for adolescent patients to recover from psychological issues and/or substance abuse. In addition to clinical care, a number of recreational opportunities and an accredited on-campus school are also available. These services aid patients in recovery by keeping their minds and bodies active and providing an opportunity for social interaction. They also offer an acute care unit and partial hospitalization. Neuro-Developmental Treatment Programs, Inc. 817 Crawford Ave., Augusta. 706-736-1255 or ndtprograms@gmail.com. NDT Programs is a small outpatient PT and OT

clinic that specializes in serving those with developmental disabilities of all ages (birth through adult). Services are individualized to meet the family desires and are offered in a variety of settings including home based infant intervention, clinic based, aquatic or pool based and therapy at a community gymnastic center. The Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children’s Hospital of Georgia 706-721-5437. www.augustahealth.org/childrens-hospital-ofgeorgia/pediatric-specialties/pulmonary-cysticfibrosis/pediatric-cystic-fibrosis-center. Offers in and out-patient care and education by pediatric pulmonologists. It is one of only two facilities in Georgia accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Pediatric Therapy of Aiken 6140 Woodside Executive Court, Aiken. 803-642-0700 or info@apluspta.com. www.apluspta.com. Skilled professionals provide speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy service to children infancy to 17 years. Sensational Kids! Pediatric Rehabilitation 3628 Old Petersberg Rd., Martinez. 706-364-3470. Sensational.kids@comcast.net. www.sensationalkids.net. A full-service therapy practice offering a unique blend of services for children and families with special needs that specializes in evaluation and intervention for infants and children (birth to 13 years) who have various developmental challenges. Therapeutic Interventions of Georgia 2315-C Central Ave., Augusta. 706-364-6172 or info@tiofga.com. www.tiofga.com. Offers occupational therapy, feeding therapy, physical therapy and speech-language therapy to pediatric patients. Facilities feature private speech therapy rooms, an outdoor playground, and OT and PT gyms. THERAPY SOLUTIONS, LLC 2250 Woodside Executive Ct., Aiken. 803-226-0146 or uscslp@bellsouth.net. www.therapysolutionsllc.net. A private company offering pediatric speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and early intervention services. An early intervention team provides support and services in the home, daycare or clinic setting.

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EDUCATION Augusta Christian School of Talent Development 313 Baston Rd., Martinez. 706-863-2905, extension 231. www.augustachristian.org. The school is designed for students with a specific learning disability and/or those with attention deficit disorder. Classes are available in grades 1-12, depending on availability, offering low teacher-student ratios and individualized instruction. The curriculum is designed for students with special learning needs while incorporating a standard curriculum. American Sign Language Augusta Health 706-721-6929. www.augustahealth.org/classes-and-events. American Sign Language courses are available for kids and adults, beginners and more advanced signers. College Board Services for Students With Disabilities 212-713-8333. www.collegeboard.com/ssd/student/index.html. The College Board works to provide appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities when taking the SAT, AP tests and PSAT/NMSQT. CSRA EOA, Inc. Head Start 1261 Greene St., Augusta. 706-722-0493. www.csraeoaheadstart.org. Provides professional, comprehensive, quality services to preschool children, families and staff. Individuals with disabilities receive the full range of developmental services in an inclusive environment. This includes children with physical disabilities, health conditions, vision, hearing, speech or learning impairments. Special services such as screenings, evaluations, speech or physical therapy and transportation also may be provided. Southeast Georgia Learning Resources System 144 Barnes St., Baxley, Ga. 912-705-8898. www.southeastglrs.org. Statewide network of 17 resource centers offering free services to parents and educators of students with disabilities.

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Georgia Academy for the Blind 2895 Vineville Ave., Macon, Ga. 478-751-6083. www.gabmacon.org. Campus and outreach programs are designed to meet the educational needs of students who are blind, visually impaired and have adjacent multiple sensory disabilities. Georgia PINES (Parent Infant Network for Educational Services) 800-522-8652; 404-298-4882. www.gapines.info. Information/assistance to families of vision/ hearing impaired, multi-handicapped, sensory impaired children, under age 4. Parent advisors make home visits to teach families how to help their child. Georgia Virtual School www.gavirtualschool.org. Georgia Virtual School is a program of the Georgia Department of Education Office of Technology Services. It is SACS accredited and offers middle school and high school level courses across the state. Parents and teachers partner in the online education of the individual child. GLASS- Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services glass@georgialibraries.org. www.georgialibraries.org/glass. 1-800-248-6701. This is a talking book service sponsored by the Augusta-Richmond County Library System. Books and magazines are available in audio formats, Braille and digital downloads. They loan playback machines for recorded materials with more than 500,000 titles to choose from; more than 70,000 titles accessible for download on digital downloads. Free delivery to your door via U.S. Postal Services. Immaculate Conception Catholic School 811 Telfair St., Augusta. 706-722-9964. www.icaugusta.org/special-education. Special education for children ages 4-14. Full inclusion program, learning lab, and self-contained programs. All special education programs offer small class sizes with low student/teacher ratio. Diagnostic testing in reading and math modules using specialized consultation and classroom intervention. Speech therapy, OT and PT offered. Disabilities include but not limited to autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, learning

disabilities, dyslexia, attention deficits, speech and language impairments, cognitive processing deficits, and physical disabilities. Kumon Math and Reading Center 500 Furys Ferry Rd., Unit 502-5, Martinez. 706-993-2232. www.kumon.com. The center strives to help each student perform at his/her full potential by using techniques that improve speed and accuracy to master the basics in reading and math. Students meet with a highly trained Kumon instructor during the week and continue with home assignments daily to close any learning gaps that may be hindering them. Preschool through high school. Mathnasium 1384 Whiskey Rd., Aiken. 803-226-9090. 205 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Pkwy., Augusta. 706-737-1992. www.mathnasium.com. Helping elementary, middle and high school students excel in math, whether your child started out far behind or is already ahead. Mathnasium’s unique assessment process determines (with great accuracy) exactly what each child knows and what they need to learn. M.A.E.S. Education Center 4116 Evans to Locks Rd., Evans. 706-860-8585 or info@maeseducationcenter. com. www.maeseducationcenter.com. Offers tutoring, high school success classes, home-school classes, college counseling and skills-building in reading comprehension. Monday-Thursday, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday hours, as well. Oxford Learning Center 4272 Washington Rd., Suite 2A, Evans. 706-650-2225. www.oxfordlearning.com. Students preschool through adult receive help with study skills, homework, reading, writing, math, spelling, grammar and more. Partners in Achievement 454 Furys Ferry Rd., Suite B. 706-650-1877. augusta@partnersinachievement.com. www.pialearningcenters.com. PIA offers programs for children ages 6 and up


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with attention problems and/or learning disabilities help children overcome the underlying barriers to academic success. South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind 355 Cedar Springs Rd., Spartanburg, S.C. 864-585-7711. www.scsdb.org. An academic institution providing highquality education programs, both day and residential, for students ages 2½ to 21 who are deaf, blind or multi-sensory disabled. VirtualSC www.virtualsc.org. The South Carolina virtual school program delivers flexible online options for the diverse educational needs of South Carolina students and their families.

MILITARY FAMILIES Fort Gordon Exceptional Family Member Program 307 Chamberlain Ave., Room 155, Darling Hall, Fort Gordon. 706-791-4872. www.fortgordon.com/programs. This program, designed to aid active-duty service, provides information and coordination of services as well as respite care for any family member who has a chronic medical problem or special education need, regardless of age, that limits ability to function on a daily basis and/or requires ongoing counseling, training, education, therapy or treatment. Assistance with issues receiving Social Security disability benefits.

SPEECH PATHOLOGY AND AUDIOLOGY

issues, swallowing problems and other speech issues.

Augusta Ear Nose Throat 340 N. Belair Rd., Evans. 706-868-5676. 720 Saint Sebastian Way, Augusta. 706868-5676. 74 Physician Dr., Aiken. 803-649-0003. www.augustaent.com/what-is-anaudiologist.html. A trained audiologist evaluates and treats hearing problems and related disorders.

Communication Station, LLC 601 N. Belair Square, Suite 19, Evans. 706-364-1486 or speechyleigh@yahoo. com. www.communicationstation.biz. Speech therapy for patients from infancy to 21 years. Specializing in autism spectrum disorders.

Augusta Hearing and Balance 1215 George C. Wilson Dr., Suite 3A, Augusta. 706-364-2378. www.augustahearing.com. Dr. Rebecca B. Hopkins and Dr. E. Robin Bohannan perform hearing diagnostics for children. Bright Start 720 Gracern Rd., Suite 450, Columbia, S.C. 803-929-1112 (24 hours a day). brightstart@sc.rr.com. www.brightstartsc.com. With a location in Aiken, Bright Start is a private provider of speech therapy and autism services to children, teenagers and adults with special needs and developmental delays. Families of special needs children from infancy to age 6 benefit from the early intervention services offered. Service coordination assistance aids families in navigating the complex service delivery system. Children’s Hospital of Georgia Speech Pathology 1447 Harper St., 2nd floor, Augusta. 706-721-5437. www.augustahealth.org/childrenshospital-of-georgia/pediatric-specialties/rehabilitative-services/speechpathology. Children’s Hospital of Georgia’s speech pathologists provide individualized evaluation and treatments to help children with language problems or delays, hearing loss, stuttering, resonance

Snyder Speech Therapy Services 229 Hillbrook Dr., Augusta. 706-860-9385. marysnyderspeech@hotmail.com. Provides speech therapy services for clients of all ages, infants through adults via telepractice over the Internet. Southern Medical Hearing Center 2916 Washington Rd. 706-993-3269. www.southernmedicalhearing.com. Provide hearing aids, free hearing screenings, financing options and the gift of hearing to needy and qualified patients. Southern Otologic Clinic 818 St. Sebastian Way, Suite 204, Augusta. 706-724-0668. www.moretzmd.com. Provides evaluation and treatment of hearing issues. Hearing aid guidance and fitting for children and adults. University Hospital Speech and Hearing Center 1430 Harper St., Suite C3, Augusta. 706-774-8666 or 706-854-2630. 4321 University Pkwy., Suite 102, Evans. www.universityhealth.org/speech-andhearing. University Hospital’s Speech and Hearing Center provides evaluation and treatment services for children with speech, language, feeding, swallowing and hearing disorders. The speech pathologists and audiologists strive to improve their patients’ ability to communicate and function as independently as possible.

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INFORMATION AND REFERRAL Beginnings SC www.scbegin.org. info@scbegin.org. 803-216-1171(office). 803-929-7785 (video phone). Beginnings is an expanded nonprofit providing professional expertise, education and guidance to anyone in South Carolina with the ability to impact deaf or hard of hearing families. They help parents or caregivers of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing (ages birth-21), parents who are deaf or hard of hearing and professionals who serve these families. Charity Locator—Combined Federal Campaign of the CSRA www.cfcofthecsra.org/locator.php. A comprehensive list of local, state and national agencies and organizations that provide a vast array of assistance.

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Cystic Fibrosis Foundation www.cff.org. An online source for information about diagnosis, research, treatment, clinical trials and more. The DRM Regional Resources Directory www.disabilityresources.org/GEORGIA.html. Disability Resources, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established to promote and improve awareness, availability and accessibility of information that can help people with disabilities live, learn, love, work and play independently. Georgia Council of the Blind www.georgiacounciloftheblind.org. Works to improve education and rehabilitation and broaden vocational opportunities. Meetings are held at the Columbia County Main Library, Evans Town Center Blvd., on the second Saturday at 1 p.m. For more information, please contact Deborah Lovell at (706) 726-4054 or lovell.d2000@ gmail.com.

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities 2 Peachtree St., N.W., Suite 26-246, Atlanta. 888-275-4233. www.gcdd.org. Provides resources that promote independent living. Georgia Disability Resources; South Carolina Disability Resources www.christopherreeve.org. An extensive list of organizations serving people with special needs in Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia Hands and Voices P.O. Box 133128, Atlanta. 678-310-5886. info@gahandsandvoices.org. www.gahandsandvoices.org. A parent-driven, non-profit organization that supports families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. They currently have a free guide by your side program that assists newly diagnosed families of deaf of hard of hearing children. The


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website provides resources and information. Georgia Snap4Kids www.snap4kids.org/id137.html. Lists providers, organizations and agencies in Georgia that serve children with special needs and their families

that provides a map to securing services for special needs children. SC Access 803.734.9900. www.scaccess.communityos.org. A guide to resources and services for people with disabilities and their caregivers.

Gerald Powell Augusta. 706-796-6856. Gcp930@gmail.com Gerald Powell is semi-retired and offers assistance/ advice on a volunteer basis to children and adults who are trying to establish or are having problems receiving Social Security disability beneďŹ ts.

South Carolina Autism Society 806 12th St., West Columbia. 803-750-6988. scas@autism.org. www.scautism.org. A statewide agency that educates and promotes awareness.

Parent to Parent of Georgia 3070 Presidential Pkwy., Suite 130, Atlanta. 800-229-2038. www.p2pga.org. The organization has a comprehensive website

South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs 3440 Hardin Street Ext., Columbia, S.C. 803-898-9600. www.ddsn.sc.gov.

Plans, develops, funds and oversees programs for people with severe, lifelong disabilities in regard to intellect, autism, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 461, Columbia, S.C. 803-734-0465. 803-734-1147 (TTY). www.scddc.sc.gov. Advocates for people with developmental disabilities and provides leadership in planning, funding and implementing initiatives. United Way of the CSRA 1765 Broad St., Augusta. 706-724-5544. www.uwcsra.org. The 211 system provides a link to information and referral on a variety of services in the community. Other resources for families are available on the website as well.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY, PHYSICAL THERAPY AND SPEECH THERAPY

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RECREATION AND LEISURE Camp Twin Lakes 404-231-9887. contact@camptwinlakes.org. www.camptwinlakes.org. Camp Twin Lakes, located in Rutledge, Winder (Camp Will-A-Way), and Warm Springs (Camp Dream), provide camp experiences for children in Georgia facing serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges through weeklong summer camps and year-round weekend retreats. Campsites are fully accessible and medically supportive. Champions Made from Adversity P.O. Box 980, Evans 706-364-2422. info@cmfa.us. www.cmfa.us. Provides adaptive sports, recreation and leisure activities such as water skiing, archery, bowling, cycling and golf, to people with physical disabilities at no cost. The Family Y, Wilson Branch 3570 Wheeler Road, Augusta, GA.

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706-922-9623. www.thefamilyy.org. For more information, please contact Claudia Collins, Adaptive Aquatics Coordinator at 706-922-9664 or at ccollins@thefamilyy.org. Financial assistance is available for all Family Y programs. Adapted Aquatics Special Populations Individual Adapted Aquatics offers one-on-one half-hour classes for all physically and developmentally challenged individuals of all ages. Specially trained staff use swimming and aquatic fitness skills to improve participants’ independence and quality of life. Sessions are by appointment only. Family Y BlazeSports Team For more information, please contact Claudia Collins, Adaptive Aquatics Coordinator, at 706-9229664 or at ccollins@thefamilyy.org. www.thefamilyy.org. BlazeSports is a swim team for all ages of physically challenged swimmers that provides them an opportunity to train for competitions. (This program is part of the BlazeSports Clubs of America training for future Paralympians).

Miracle League Baseball For more information please contact Rina White, Sports Director, at 706-922-9597 or rwhite@thefamilyy.org. www.thefamilyy.org. Provides a barrier-free baseball field for children and adults with disabilities to play on. Miracle League Teams play on a special, rubberized surface with flat bases that for allows safe play for those in wheelchairs or other assistive devices, such as crutches or walkers. Registration is open for ages 4 and up. Fall season runs September-October and spring season runs March-May. Teams practice and play are held at the sports complex located at the Uptown Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center. For more information please contact Rina White, Sports Director, at 706-922-9597 or rwhite@thefamilyy.org. www.thefamilyy.org. Kathryn M. York Adapted Aquatics Center (Katie’s Pool) For more information, please contact Claudia Collins, Adaptive Aquatics Coordinator, at 706-922-9664 or at ccollins@thefamilyy.org. www. thefamilyy.org. This pool is dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. It is a shallow and deepwater therapy


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pool with a wheelchair ramp at the shallow end. It also includes adapted changing rooms with a lift system to accommodate disabled individuals and a state-of-the-art sanitation system. Total Access Room For more information, please contact Claudia Collins, Adaptive Aquatics Coordinator, at 706-922-9664 or at ccollins@thefamilyy.org. www.thefamilyy.org. This facility, located off the fitness floor at the Wilson Family YMCA Branch, provides adaptive equipment for both a non-disabled exerciser and for people with mobility limitations, including those in wheelchairs. Each exercise piece is easily adjustable to each exerciser’s height and strength level. Camp Lakeside For more information, please contact Faye Hargrove at fhargrove@thefamilyy.org. www.thefamilyy.org Serves children with disabilities or serious and chronic health conditions in a medically safe environment. Expanded programs for kids of all backgrounds and abilities so that every child can have access to learn, grow, and thrive through the life-changing, thrilling experiences of camp. Camp Ivey For more information, please contact Sterling Ivey at snivey70@knology.net. www.thefamilyy.org Camp Ivey is an overnight camp held at Camp Lakeside in Lincolnton, GA. The purpose of this adaptive camp is to empower high functioning children with developmental disabilities by promoting independence in life- skills, relationships, physical activity and leisure, communication, and self-confidence through recreation and the arts. Georgia-Carolina Council Boy Scouts of America 706-733-5277. www.gacacouncil.org. Scouting programs are available for special needs children. Georgia and South Carolina State Parks www.gastateparks.org. www.southcarolinaparks.com. Find state parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails across the state that are accessible to people with disabilities. The RECing Crew 336 Georgia Ave., Suite 206-A, North Augusta. Pamela Stickler, 803-426-1284 or therecingcrew@ comcast.net. www.therecingcrew.com. Based in North Augusta, The RECing Crew is a nonprofit organization providing leisure and recreation

opportunities for all ages and disabilities. Fees vary but are nominal. The Cruisers: A social group for teens and adults that meets monthly for dances or field trips. Alley Cats: A weekly bowling league for teens and adults in Aiken and North Augusta. T-RecS: An adaptive basketball and baseball program for ages 6 and up. Games are played on Saturdays in the spring and fall. ART-Ability Studio: Spend one hour on a visual art project and one hour in music held in North Augusta and Columbia County. Jazzercise: Enjoy Jazzercise and line dancing once a month at Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta. The Crew Chorus: Perform musical selections in the community. Ballet Tout le Monde: An adaptive ballet program for those 21 years of age and younger. Dance Studio: Contemporary jazz and tap dancing for ages 6 and up. Steps of Grace: Ballet for Special Needs 476 Flowing Wells Rd., G-2, Martinez. 912-531-2719 or stepsofgrace@aol.com. www.stepsofgraceballet.com. Ballet and tap classes are offered for children with special needs, ages 3 and up, at Pulse Dance Center and are taught by Mallory Lanier, a pediatric occupational therapist with more than 10 years of experience teaching ballet. Adult volunteers experienced in working with children with special needs are an integral part of the class. Students receive one-on-one assistance should they need it. The Foundation for Therapeutic Options 706-364-6172. www.therapyoptions.org. A local non-profit organization that provides therapy services to children in the CSRA. It is an opportunity for children to be recognized for their abilities instead of their disabilities.

with traumatic brain injury. Camp TBI staff provide one-on-one care which increases the campers’ level of independence in the areas of personal hygiene, following a schedule, making friends appropriately and just having fun. Campers enjoy horseback riding, a ropes course, group games, sporting activities, swimming, fishing and arts and crafts along with social activities such as dances, karaoke and talent nights. Walton Winter Weekend 706-826-5809. www.waltonfoundation.net Open to children ages 6-18 with physical disabilities and their families. Walton Winter Weekend takes place in February at a fully accessible campsite where each family gets their own private cabin. Activities include fishing, ropes course, rock climbing wall, hayride, movie night and much more. This two-night camp is free for each family except for a $25 application fee. Application opens October 1, 2016 on Walton Foundation’s website: www.waltonfoundation.net.

TRANSPORTATION ADA Paratransit Van Service 1535 Fenwick St., Augusta. 706-821-1819. www.augustaga.gov. Curb-to-curb van service available to qualifying individuals with permanent or temporary disabilities. Adaptive Driving Solutions 3027 Riverwatch Pkwy., Augusta. 706-765-2036. www.accessiblevans.com. www.augustamobility.com Specializes in wheelchair van rentals and sales. They also modify vehicles to make them accessible and install vehicle lifts.

Walton Foundation for Independence Adaptive sports, 706-434-0150. www.waltonfoundation.net. Wheelchair Tennis: For all ages at Newman Tennis Center. Adaptive Golf Clinics: For ages 15 and older, MarchOctober in Augusta and Aiken.

Georgia Department of Driver Services 2206 East View Pkwy., Conyers, Ga. 404-968-3800. 855-406-5221. www.dds.ga.gov/drivers (Scroll down and click on Disability Parking Permits) www.motor.etax.dor.ga.gov. Application for a disabled parking permit is on the website.

Walton Foundation Camp To Be Independent 706-826-5809. haley@waltonfoundation.net www.waltonfoundation.net/camptbi Camp TBI is a free, safe overnight summer camp environment for children and young adults, ages 8-21,

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Disabled Parking Permit www.scdmvonline.com. Click on the forms and manuals link on the left side of the screen, then scroll down to the link for the disabled placard application.

Augusta Family | October 2016 • 31


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ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY & MEDICAL EQUIPMENT/SUPPLIES Augusta ALS Clinic - Center of Excellence Department of Neurology, EMG Lab 1120 15th St., Augusta. 706-721-4581 or 706-721-2681. info@alsaga.org www.alsa.org. Offers one-on-one patient consultations, medical equipment and assistive technology. Patients and their caregivers are trained in the proper use of the assistive technology. Other services include support groups, educational programs and respite care. Augusta Ear, Nose and Throat 720 Saint Sebastian Way, Suite 201, Augusta. 340 North Belair Rd., Evans. 706-868-5676. www.augustaent.com. Highly trained audiologists evaluate hearing and fit patients with appropriate hearing aids. Augusta Orthotics and Prosthetics 2068 Wrightsboro Rd., Augusta. 706-733-8878. www.augustaprosthetics.com. Customizes orthotic and prosthetic solutions to meet each individual’s needs, from custom-made braces to artificial limbs. Fragile Kids Foundation 3350 Riverwood Pkwy., Suite 1400, Atlanta. 770-951-6111. www.fragilekids.org. Fragile Kids Foundation helps medically fragile children and their families with equipment, medical supplies and other support that is not covered by insurance and that they cannot afford. Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics 630 13th St., Suite 200, Augusta. 706-724-2481. www.hanger.com. Creates prosthetic and orthotic devices to suit the needs of each client. Midlands Prosthetics and Orthotics 1018 Druid Park Ave., Augusta. 706-737-7371. 690 Medical Park Dr., Aiken. 866-641-6007. www.midlandsprosthetics.com. Produces upper and lower extremity prosthetics and orthotics using state-of-the-art components and orthotics.

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South Carolina Assistive Technology Program Midlands Center, 8301 Farrow Rd., Columbia, S.C. 800-915-4522. www.scatp.med.sc.edu. Works to provide assistive technology to people with disabilities. Tools for Life 512 Means St., Suite 250, Atlanta, Ga. 404-894-0541. info@gatfl.org. www.gatfl.org. Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program aids people with disabilities in accessing assistive technology. Walton Options STAR Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program 948 Walton Way, Augusta. 706-724-6262. www.waltonoptions.org/services. Collects, cleans and repairs used assistive technology and matches it to recipients with special needs. Additional assistive technology services are also available.


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FAMILY COUNSELING AND PSYCHIATRIC RESOURCES Center for Care & Counseling 4434 Columbia Rd., Ste 203, Martinez 706-305-3137. centerforcare@c4sra.comcastbiz.net www.centerforcareandcounseling.org A faith-sensitive counseling service that helps individuals and families draw on their own strengths and values to begin their healing process. Offers a wide range of counseling services to families, couples, individuals, adolescents and children. Eastern Georgia Transitional Family Services 3643 Walton Way Ext., Building 4, Augusta. 706-364-1404. www.tfsga.com. Offers a range of family preservation services. Approved by the state to offer Comprehensive Child and Family Assessments (CCFA), Core services (C&A and adult) and Intensive Family Intervention Services (IFI) through Medicaid. Therapy and counseling services, and parent aid services through Homestead Family Preservation.

516 Georgia Avenue, North Augusta, SC 29841

Family Counseling Center of the CSRA 3711 Executive Center Dr., Suite 201, Martinez. 706-868-5011. www.fcccsra.org. Strengthens individuals and families to achieve their own goals and to network with other agencies and institutions to improve family life. Families Forward 3506 Professional Circle, Suite B, Martinez. 706-210-8855. www.familiesforward.co. Specializing in children ages 3 to early adulthood. Dara Delancy, Ph.D., and Amy Holsten, Ph.D. Georgia Family Crisis Solutions 4145 Columbia Rd., Martinez. 706-869-7373. www.gfcs.info. Provides the most current, correct information concerning therapy in a manner that is nurturing, non-threatening and non-judgmental. Mind-Body Health Services 3830 Washington Rd., Suite 317, Augusta. 706-364-5228. www.mindbodyhealthservices.com. The providers at Mind-Body Health Services take into account the whole person in helping him or her ďŹ nd the solution to deal with what is causing discomfort. Connie Stapleton, Ph.D.

4408 COLUMBIA ROAD, MARTINEZ, GA 30907 (706) 868-6543

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SUPPORT GROUPS

TRANSITION SERVICES

Augusta Food Allergy www.augustafoodallergy.org. A non-profit support group that educates and supports families affected by food allergies and raises awareness in the community. Visit the website for meeting and event information.

Accent on Independence 2606 Commons Blvd., Augusta. 706-550-0527. Accent Inc. on Facebook Promotes and enhances independence of adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

Augusta Autism and Disability AugustaAutismandDisability@gmail. com. Facebook page: Augusta Autism and Disability Support Group. Wesley United Methodist Church, 825 North Belair Road, Evans. This meeting offers education and support for families and friends of children with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities. Parents, educators, community support representatives, caregivers, medical representatives and anyone affected by autism spectrum disorders are invited to attend. Visit the facebook page or email for schedule.

Augusta Training Shop 1704 Jenkins St., Augusta. 706-738-1358. www.augustatrainingshop.com. A non-profit work center that employs mentally and physically challenged adults. They learn to repair, strip and refinish furniture, re-cane chairs and polish metals with the goal of performing purposeful work independently.

Blood Cancer/BMT Support Group 1411 Laney Walker Blvd., 1st floor, Community Room. 706-721-1634. www.augustahealth.org/classes-andevents. This group provides educational and emotional support to patients, families, friends and caregivers. Meets the third Wednesday of the month, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Common Bond Parent Support Group Geneice McCoy, 706-729-0012. mccoyg@comcast.net. For Augusta-area parents of children of all ages and diagnoses with challenging disabilities but remarkable perseverance and resilience. Dates and locations of meetings vary. Call for information. JDRF Type One Nation www.typeonenation.org. Provides an online support group and information for parents of children with juvenile diabetes.

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Center for Financial Independence and Innovation 794 Marietta St., Suite 93862, Atlanta. 404-385-7029. www.gatfl.org/cfii. The agency’s goal is to make independence affordable by improving the financial self-sufficiency of Georgians with disabilities. Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency 1220-D West Wheeler Pkwy., Augusta. 706-650-5600. www.gvra.georgia.gov. Promotes independence of people with disabilities by aiding with employment, accessibility and living accommodations. Serenity Behavioral Health System-GA TASC Center 818 White Oak Rd., Thomson. 706-595-4027. www.serenitybhs.com. Provides supported vocational opportunities for people with disabilities. South Carolina Commission for the Blind Aiken District Office 855 York St., N.E.

803-641-7658. www.sccb.state.sc.us. Provides vocational rehabilitation services, independent living services and prevention services to people who are blind or visually impaired. South Carolina Statewide Independent Living Council 136 Stonemark Lane, Suite 100, Columbia, S.C. 803-217-6244. scsilc@scsilc.com. www.scsilc.com. Promotes independent living for adults with severe disabilities and their inclusion in mainstream society. South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department 855 York St. NE, Aiken. 803-641-7630. www.scvrd.net. Provides an array of services to help people with disabilities find employment. Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia 770-270-6860. www.silcga.org. An advocacy organization that provides resources and answers to questions regarding independent living. Walton Options 948 Walton Way, Augusta. 706-724-6262. www.waltonoptions.org. Empowers people of all ages and all types of disabilities to reach their highest level of independence. The caring, trained staff work with clients to develop individualized plans and goals. Services include, but are not limited to, peer support groups, assistance with money management, assistance with nutrition and assistance with home modification and accessibility issues.

Information is provided by the organizations listed or from their website and is subject to change.


Therapy Dogs By Naimah Shaw Perhaps it is the particular way a dog wags his tail and fondly licks your face when you return or the manner in which your cat patiently climbs to rest with you, the satisfaction of grooming your horse after frolicking together or the excited swimming of the fish when you feed them; whatever it is, animals allude to greater self-esteem for children but especially for those with special needs.

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Photo by Flickr/Artic WArrior

In today’s ever evolving society, it is proven that animals who provide therapeutic support to families are filling a void often overlooked. Dogs, in particular, have long since been considered man’s best friend and often deemed his most loyal partner and confidante. This becomes very clear when talking to Allison, who suffers from moderate autism and uses her dog solely to calm her when she becomes agitated in an effort to de-escalate the possibility of selfharm. Her dog, Beth, responds to these situations by placing her weight against her owner’s leg or gently laying across her lap, giving Allison the opportunity to pet her. Beth was specifically trained to detect the precursors of the sensory processing disorders that plague Allison and to provide the relief. Allison also enjoys reading to her dog even more than she enjoys reading to her siblings because in her own words, “the dog doesn’t judge me if I don’t know the word so I can practice over and over”. Her parents agree that in the year that she has had the dog, she has not only learned empathy for a non-verbal being but she has also gained a better self-esteem through the love that has been showered upon her by her therapy dog. Apart from helping children, these dogs are also helping to forge better home environments as parents too are benefiting immensely. When I sat down to chat with Gisel Elsheikh, her trusty 65-pound German Shepherd donning the US Air Force badge and a “SERVICE DOG” sign. She noted that traumatic situations in her past which have since led to post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety

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and ultimately non-epileptic seizures were the factors behind her resolve to find therapy and calmness through daily interactions with her dog, Casey. It was quite visible that Casey would become aroused when her owner became worked up around a particular issue. Her ability to sense a heightened heart rate and respond to it with the quiet assurance of a whimper denoting “I’m here for you” was unparalleled. Her stance was definitely one reminiscent of a soldier doing their task as she stood there, poised in nature, her playful dog mannerisms subdued. Elsheikh’s daughter, a neurofibromatosis survivor will also utilize the use of a service dog for sight when she is older. Elsheikh notes that having a service dog is a tremendous responsibility which feels like adding a new family member and that it should not be taken lightly. When asked if the same service dog can work for both her and her daughter, Elsheikh was quick to note that just like humans trained with specific tasks; dogs are also trained with their tasks that make them incapable of performing different services to everyone unless otherwise specifically trained to do so. While doing research, I found that the 5 Top Benefits of Having Pets for Special Needs Children are: 1.

They teach children values and empathy– Learning how to shower love on a non- verbal animal while figuring out their cues is something every child should definitely learn. As adults take on the bigger tasks, children can also be tasked with the


responsibility of feeding and walking their pets. They can even help select treats and other accessories. Helping your child choose items for their pet also instills in them kindness and the desire to shop for someone other than themselves. 2.

They help with learning– Most people are aware of therapy dogs which are used to assist children with developmental or learning problems. Similarly, many classrooms have a pet such as a hamster, fish or a turtle to not only give children first hand insight into caring for a pet but they also utilize their reading time to sit next to the designated class pet and read to him/her. This has been proven to dramatically increase reading scores, social and communication skills and a notable improvement in behavior as well. Children with a pet are more diligent in accomplishing tasks faster, especially when the pet is used as a reward for completion of a task. For example, a child may be awarded 20 minutes to walk a pet if their book report is done.

3.

Pets encourage nurturing– This is a quality that is not simply manifested as an adult but rather a quality that has to be ingrained in a child throughout his childhood. For children suffering from special needs, this can be especially challenging. However, having pets is a sure way to help children become natural caregivers. Nurturing animals is said to be especially important for boys who do not necessarily nurture dolls the same way little girls do.

4.

Mood- Children who have a designated pet definitely have better attitudes and exude a different sense of positivity than children without a pet. The Brain Balance Achievement Center explains that, “The presence of a pet can reduce the amounts of cortisol, a stress-response hormone produced by an autistic child upon waking in the morning. The amount of cortisol in a waking autistic child decreased from 58 percent to 10 percent when a service dog was present. When the dog was taken away for a short while, the amount of cortisol increased to 48 percent.”

5.

Health- Research has shown that pet ownership leads to lower blood pressure and heart rate which therefore correlates to the idea that this is something that is relaxing and enjoyable.

But, how do you choose the right pet? Ensure that all of the necessary factors have been taken into consideration. Some key things to consider are: 1. Who will feed/walk/groom the pet? 2. Is anyone allergic to it? 3. Do our housing rules facilitate it? 4. Do we have the space? 5. Do we have the time to allot to pet care?

Photo by Flickr/Artic WArrior

It is evident that pets provide children and families with the ability to better cope when dealing with special needs but before making the critical decision to own a pet, one has to be certain they are ready to take on the additional responsibilities that will ensue. Naimah Shaw is a Freelance Writer, Copywriter, Blogger and homeschool mom of four who has lived in Evans for almost a decade. Prior to that, she graduated with a Masters of Science in Information Technology and taught computer programming for a few years at local colleges.

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Inspiration Station by Dr. Da na Ha r r i s

Talking to Your Children about Race, Bias and Diversity As violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, August 12 with three killed and dozens more injured, TV screens, news reporters, as well as individuals of all shapes, sizes, and colors filled with streets with images of violence, chaos and terror. The weekend’s events were as disturbing and repulsive as they were demoralizing. Not since the turn of the century has the United States experienced as much diversity as in the last two decades. While this diversity has given our country its vitality and cultural richness, it has also caused some serious problems including racism, prejudice, discrimination, and a lack of respect for one another. We are without a doubt facing a new demographic landscape that is reshaping the nature of our schools, our cities and our nation at large. As parents, we have a moral responsibility to help children process and understand what they

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are exposed to and to counteract negative messages they may hear. While children certainly need us to protect them, they also need us to be honest about the way the world is and share with them information about the way we think it should be. Children learn biases from important adults in their lives, from the media, from books and from peers. While we may want our children to understand that shared characteristics, language and customs are expressed in different ways. Attitudes are similarities and differences among people should begin in early childhood. Both the seeds of respect and seeds of intolerance need to be planted when they are very young and nurtured by real life experiences along with the attitudes of those around them as they grow up. Our goal as parents is to help in the process of enabling our children so that they are able to flourish in a diverse society. If we want to lift up

the next generation of children, a powerful way to do so is by initiating those courageous conversations. Children are quite perceptive. They hear and see what is happening around them. They are also able to acknowledge the injustices that exist and feel confused and unsafe when they understand why this is occurring. Yes, it’s reasonable to want to protect our children, to maintain their innocence for as long as possible. But this can be a disservice in the long run. Your child is going to secure the news somewhere, and controlling their first exposure allows you to make sure they’re getting accurate information in an age-appropriate manner. A golden rule of parenting using best practices is to present key strategies, create strong family bonds, and guide them towards becoming happy, responsible adults while raising them to be inclusive, accepting and racially conscious children.


Inspiration Station The greatest anthropologist, Margaret Mead once said that she could never understand our priorities. She further commented, “We are required by law for people to get a driver’s permit, but we allow people to bring up their children without demonstrating any aptitude for parenting.” Let’s face it; there is no ideal parent and no ideal child. Raising a child and fully understanding that as parents, each of us try to do the best we can with the tools and resources we have. Few of us ever enter into the sacred journey of parenthood with the tools necessary for success. They reality is; most of us are totally unaware of the extraordinary dynamics that exist in the relationship we have with our children. It’s never too early or too late to talk to children about respecting others, diversity, or cultural biases. After all, raising our young people to live an authentic and self-fulfilling life is a process that continues throughout our lives. The conversations are rarely easy. Don’t feel badly if you don’t have all the answers. As parents however, we must take the time and patience to ensure that our children learn and grow to become responsible adults who will always value and honor diversity. After all, they deserve nothing less. The following are valuable tips to help begin important conversations with your child. These suggestions were published in the Teaching Tolerance Booklet; Beyond the Golden Rule; A Parent’s Guide to Preventing & Responding to Prejudice. Be Honest - Don’t be afraid to bring it up. Let’s face it, the race talk is as difficult as the birds and the bees talk. This may be attributed to the awkwardness to a lack of communication about race in many of our own childhoods. Parents may naively believe that is they talk about issues of race with their children, it may cause them to notice race in a way that they did not before. What’s most important is that parents don’t encourage children not the see color or tell children that we are all the same. Rather, discuss differences openly and highlight diversity by choosing picture books, toys and games that feature diverse characters in positive, non-stereotypical roles. emBrace curiosity - Be careful not to ignore or discourage your youngster’s questions about differences among people, even if the questions make you uncomfortable. Not being open to such questions sends the message that difference is negative. Explain to kids that very real issue of racism and prejudice. While racism and prejudice aren’t factors in every incident, they certainly are factors in many. When your child has faced such

an incident, don’t be afraid to name it. model equity - As parents, we are our kids first teachers. When it comes to teaching tolerance, actions speak louder than words. Do something – Take a stand when you witness injustices. Challenge racism, bigotry and stereotypes, and encourage your child to take action too. live congruently – Discuss the important of valuing differences is essential, but modeling this message is even more vital. Do your actions match the values you discuss with your child? Teens are more likely to be influenced by what you do than what you say. admit your own issues – We all struggle with prejudice, bias and stereostypes. Be honest with kids about your own issues and how you want to overcome them. Not everyone who struggles with bias or prejudice is “bad”. Knowing this can help kids grow to recognize their own biases and encourages them to search for common ground with others. talk regularly - Don’t wait for an incident of racism or bias to occur before discussing such issues with kids. Look critically at stereotypes and race issues in the media and in everyday life. Incorporate discussions about such issues in day-to-day conversations. When we are honest with our children about our country’s history, of bigotry, sexism and stereotypes, we help prepare them to challenge these issues when they arise. A child who knows the racial history of the Confederate flag, for example, is less likely to brandish that symbol out of ignorance. empHasize tHe positive – Just as you should challenge your child’s actions if they indicate bias or prejudice, it’s important to praise them for behavior that shows respect and empathy for others. Catch your child treating people kindly, let them know you noticed and discuss why it’s a desirable behavior. seize teacHaBle moments - Look for everyday activities that can serve as springboards for discussion. School-age children respond better to lessons that involve real-life examples than to artificial or staged discussions about issues. lead By example – The best way to reduce children’s prejudices is to model an inclusive home, demonstrating that you have friends of all backgrounds. Parents who have learned to lead multicultural lives, connecting with people different

from themselves are more likely to have children who develop those important life skills at an early age. Feel free to combine these powerful suggestions using scenarios from your everyday life. In this way, you will be able to build your own ‘Parenting Toolbox’ based on what is most helpful and/ or appropriate for your and your family. Our work on many critical issues continues. I passionately believe that if more people found ways to examine their day-to-day interactions and began to sit down and honestly discuss race issues, our nation would be a healthier place and more tolerate for it. Source: SPLC Southern Poverty Law Center Publication; Beyond the Golden Rule; Contributor Writer, Dana Williams; Illustrations by Vincent Nguyen.

Recommended Books that teach childRen aBout Race • The Colors of Us – written by Karen Katz • The Skin You Live In - written by Michael Tyler and illustrated by Davis Lee Csicsko • A Rainbow of Friends – written by P.K. Hallinan • Shades of People - written by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly • Chocolate Me! - written by Taye Diggs and illustrated by Shane W. Evans • I Love My Hair - written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and illustrated by E.B. Lewis • It’s Okay to be Different – written by Todd Parr • Black is Brown is Tan – written by Arnold Adoff and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully • Dancing in the Wings – written by Debbie Allen and illustrated by Kadir Nelson • Whoever You Are – written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Leslie Staub • God’s Dream – written by Archbishop Desmon Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by LeUyen Pham • Snow in Jerusalem - written by Deborah Da Costa and illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu and Cornelius Van Wright • My Name is Yoon – written by Helen Recorvits and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska • My First Biography Martin Luther King, Jr – written by Marion Dane Bauer • Cassie’s Word Quilby – written by Faith Ringgold • Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans – written by Kadir Nelson • Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr – written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier • I am Rosa Parks – written by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins • Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad – written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – written by Mildred D. Taylor

Dr. Dana Harris is a retired educator and educational consultant Augusta Family | October 2017 • 39


GeORGIA CAROLINA STATe FAIR When the weather feels like fall, residents of the CSRA know it’s not long until the Georgia Carolina State Fair comes to town James E. Strates Shows will have even more enormously popular rides and shows than in past years. There will be fun for the entire family including children’s activities, live entertainment, agricultural exhibits, music, rides, commercial vendors, and a wide variety of food and attractions. October 12-22 www.georgiacarolinastatefair.com. .

We’d love to hear from you. If you have an event you’d like to add to our next issue, send an email to renee.williams@ augustafamily.com.

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calendar OctOber

Oct. 3-14. The 10th annual Westobou Festival will offer patrons a variety of performances, exhibitions and screenings that represent the very best in music, dance, film, spoken word and visual arts, bringing the world stage to Augusta. For schedule of events, visit www.westoboufestival.com. October 1-31. Annual Quilt Exhibition. Brown Sugar Stickers Quilting Guild of Atlanta is a diverse group of African American quilters from the metro area. Oct.

8, opening reception. 3-5 p.m. Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History. www.lucycraftlaneymuseum. com. Oct. 1. Morris Museum of Art. Artageous Family Sunday: Symphony Petting Zoo. 2:00 p.m. Touch, play and learn about a variety of instruments with musicians from the Symphony Orchestra Augusta. Free Oct 2. Wind Ensemble Performance. 7:30 p.m. USC Ai-

ken Etherredge Center, www. etherredge.usca.edu. Oct 5. A Tribute to the King. Travis LeDoyt has developed an uncanny ability to channel the talents of Elvis. A celebration of a musical icon that shaped a generation. 7:30 p.m. Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center. www.augustaamusements.com. Oct 5. Old Dominion. Proving that they are not your typical band, Old Dominion translates old-fashioned


Photo by JoN-MIChAEL SULLIVAN

calendar

country charm, lyrical with and rock-and-roll grit into radio friendly, hook heavy pop nuggets. 7:30 p.m. Bell Auditorium. www.augustaentertainmentcomplex.com. Oct 5. Opening Reception: Robert Amato and the Tire City Potters. 5-7 p.m. Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta. Exhibits on display through Nov. 3. www.artsandheritagecenter.com.

Oct. 6-Nov. 26. Face Value: Artists’ Portraits by Alphonse van Woerkom. A master of the medium, van Woerkom uses a variety of drawing techniques to create a likeness that is realistic yet full of evocative and provocative marks. Columbia Museum of Art. Columbia, S.C. www.columbia museum.org. Oct. 6, 13, 20 & 27. Augusta Canal. Augusta

Music Cruise featuring Gaffney Jarrell, Double D, Chris Ndeti, The Henry’s. Visit www.augustacanal.com for more info. Oct 7. Molly Ringwald. An actress of the stage and screen, Ringwald earned a Golden Glode nomination at age 13 and went on to star in Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. She is now touring her concert act celebrating her first jazz album. 7:30 p.m. Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center. www. augustamuseuments.com. Oct 7-8. Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart tickets to his What Now? tour are selling faster than any other comedy show right now. Lighting up the comedy circuits around the country for the past several years, Kevin Hart is the funny man that everyone wants to see live. A star on the stage, Kevin Hart has also been fashioning himself quite a career on the big screen and

television. However, Kevin Hart is his funniest during stand-up acts. See for yourself how great he truly is. 7:30 p.m. Bell Auditorium. www.bellauditoriumaugusta. com. Oct. 7. 2017 (18th) POP Walk The CSRA Parkinson Support Group will host its 18th annual POP Walk for the People of Parkinson’s fundraiser at First Baptist Church, 3500 Walton Way Ext. Registration opens and activities begin at 9:00 a.m., the walk starts at 10:00 a.m. and ends by noon. The festivities include interactive exercises, entertainment, refreshments, children’s activities and a raffle. For more information, to form a team or to make a donation, call (706) 364-1662, or go to www. popwalk.org or email info@parkinsoncsra.org. Oct. 10. Best of Augusta Event. 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Meet The Winners, Taste The Food, Augusta Family | October 2017 • 41


calendar Listen To Their Music and Enjoy The Fun! For more information: 706-823-3722 or visit www. augustamagazine.com. All proceeds benefit the Greater Augusta Arts Council and Sacred Heart Cultural Center. Oct. 12-15. University Theatre Performance. 7:30 p.m. USC Aiken Etherredge Center. www. etherredge.usca.edu.

and Kiran Fernandes. Athens-based father and son duo perform improvised ambient soundscapes. Free. Oct. 17. Porter Fleming Public Art Symposium. Featuring keynote speaker Patricia Walsh, public art programs manager for Americans for the Arts. Augusta University. www. augustaarts.com.

Oct 13-22. Georgia Carolina State FairAugusta Exchange Club. When the weather feels like fall, residents of the CSRA know it’s not long until the Georgia Carolina State Fair comes to town James E. Strates Shows will have even more enormously popular rides and shows than in past years. There will be fun for the entire family including children’s activities, live entertainment, agricultural exhibits, music, rides, commercial vendors, and a wide variety of food and attractions. For complete info go to www.georgiacarolinastatefair.com.

Oct. 19. Exhibition Preview Party: Hattie Saussy: The Rediscovery of an Artist. Enjoy a sneak peek of the upcoming exhibition Hattie Saussy: The Rediscovery of an Artist. Lecture, 6 p.m., reception in the galleries to follow. 6-8 p.m. Morris Museum of Art. RSVP to (706) 828-3867 or kara.eum@themorris.org. www. themorris.org.

Oct. 13. Melissa Manchester. An intimate performance by a legendary Grammy Award winning artist. 7:30 p.m. Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center. www.augustaamusements.com.

Oct. 20. Morris Museum of Art. Noon. Art at Lunch. Film Screening: Jonathan Green’s Seeking. Director Allan Smith screens his moving documentary about celebrated Jonathan Green.

Oct. 13. Southern Soul & Song: The Becky Buller Band with Special Guests Kenny and Amanda Smith. The 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association Fiddler and Female Vocalist of the Year, Becky Buller is one of the most sought-after performers in the industry. Add in the sweet melodies of duo Kenny and Amanda Smith and the you have Southern Soul & Song. 7:30 p.m. Imperial Theatre. www. imperialtheatre.com

Oct 21. Aiken Symphony Orchestra. Noon. USC Aiken Etherredge Center. www. etherredge.usca.edu.

October 13-14, 20-22 & 27-28. Breath of Spring. When Dame Beatrice receives a mink stolen from her maid, she is reminded of the maid’s shady past and immediately suspects it is stolen. Others endeavor to return the item and a plan is devised and all of them take such delight in the scheme that they wonder why they don’t do it more often. Oct 13,14,20,21,27 & 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct 22 at 3 p.m. Aiken Community Playhouse. www. aikencommunityplayhouse.com. Oct. 15. Music at the Morris: 2:00 p.m. John

Oct. 19. A Taste of Wine and Art. 7-9:30 p.m. Aiken Center for the Arts. www.aikencenterforthearts.org.

Oct 21. Chris Janson. Last year, Chris Janson’s breakthrough number one platinum single, Buy me a Boat was the seventh best-selling country song of the year. 8 p.m. Bell Auditorium. www. augustaentertainmentcomplex.com. Oct. 22, Brava, Jessye! A musical tribute by Russell Joel Brown & Damien Sneed. Presented each year, the Annual Jessye Norman School of The Arts benefit concert is an opportunity for the school, it’s students, and the community to play host to a number of world class artists and entertainers. This year, Russell Joel Brown and Damien Sneed will pay tribute to Ms. Norman directly in a lively show that will be sure to delight all who attend. All proceeds from the concert will help to ensure continuing operation of the free after school program. 4:00 p.m. www. imperialtheatre.com.

Oct. 23. Augusta Canal. 2 Milledge Rd. Augusta. Third Annual Out of the Darkness Walk. 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide prevention. There is no cost to register and no minimum fundraising requirement. All are welcome. More information at www.afsp.org/augusta. Sponsorship opportunities available- please contact warren. marie.e@gmail.com for more info. Oct. 24. Veggie Park Farmer’s Market. Augusta Canal. Visit www.augustacanal.com. Oct 24. Oswald Writer’s Series, 7:30 p.m. USC Aiken Etherredge Center. www. etherredge.usca.edu. Oct 25. Kansas. With a career spanning four decades, Kansas has firmly established itself as one of America’s iconic classic rock bands. 7:30 p.m. Bell Auditorium. www.augustaentertainmentcomplex.com. Oct 26. The Reduced Shakespeare Company. Shakespeare’s long lost first play is a comic misadventure as performed by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Bringing new life to timeless characters, philosophy and monologues. 7:30 p.m. USC Aiken Etherredge Center. www.etherredge.usca.edu. Oct. 28 Terri Gibbs and Friends. The Lions Club of Augusta will host “Terri Gibbs and Friends” – a benefit concert for Augusta University’s James and Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute at 6:00 p.m at the Imperial Theatre. Gibbs, a Grammy-nominated performer in country and contemporary Christian music genres was raised in Augusta and graduated in 1972 from Butler High School. Gibbs, 63, is best known for the 1981 hit single Somebody’s Knocking. The song reached No. 8 on U.S. country charts, No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Nov. 1. Chicago live in concert at the Bell Auditorium. 7:30 p.m. Chicago will perform their unforgettable collection of music and their greatest hits to include; Make Me Smile, Saturday In The Park and songs from their Now Chicago XXXVI! From the signature sound of the Chicago horns, their iconic vocalists, this band’s concerts are celebrations. Augusta Family | October 2017 • 43


Family Fun! BULLS SCHOOL

OF EXCELLENCE

AND MIDDLE SCHOOL TRAINING PROGRAM

AGES 4-14. STARTS NOV. 1ST THRU FEB. 14TH Cost of this program will be $160.00 and players will receive 2 Training Tops, Shorts and Socks. Monday and Wednesday Nights from 6:00-7:30. Designed to teach and enhance the technical skills required to develop and grow as a complete soccer player. There will be 60 Minutes of technical training and game play. Staffed by Bulls Coaches and Players, High School Coaches and Players, and College Players. Go to www.ga-scbulls.com and click on the Register FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CALL THE BULLS SOCCER CLUB AT 706-550-2858 OR EMAIL BULLSDOC12@GMAIL.COM | WWW.GA-SCBULLS.COM

Robert Howard Community Center • 103 Diamond Lakes Way Diamond Lakes Community Center

Augusta Family | October 2017 • 45


Girl Go

PHOTO BY JOHN HARPRING

b y Ren ee William s

Monét ‘Nefertiti’ Robinson AGE: 28 | PROFESSION: Jazz Vocalist / Financial Aid counselor at AU | SPOUSE’S NAME AND PROFESSION: Chris Robinson, Founder of Overtime Academy, a boutique basketball training company | CHILD: Neptune Robinson , 10 months One word you would use to describe yourself: Nonconforming What quality do you admire the most? Vulnerability Dream vacation? Touring all over Africa Favorite place to take the kids? Barnes & Nobles If you had a super power, what would it be? Moms already have super powers so I’ll focus on mastering those since I’m a new mom! Favorite TV show: Blackish What did you want to be when you grew up? I’ve known since my childhood that I wanted to perform and sing. Hobbies? Writing, producing electronic/hip hop beats, reading Is there an important life lesson you’ve learned? Life is more about who you are becoming, not about what you’re doing. If you’re an outstanding person, you will make an outstanding impact. What would surprise people about you? Even though I’m a performer and I’m very vocal in the community, I’m an introvert.

46 • Augusta Family | October 2017

Best thing about being a mom? It’s such a privilege and blessing to see the miracle of life unfolding from the unique perspective of parenthood. Hardest part about being a mom? Motherhood is servanthood. It is intensely demanding in every way, externally and internally. Whom do you admire most? My mother, Thelma Mae Epps. Are you a planner, a dreamer or a doer? Give us an example of why: I am a dreamer/planner. I am a perfectionist and love to imagine new things and I love the process of preparation. Greatest hope: Unity within diversity and true peace. Biggest fear: Not having something to wear! What are you reading right now? The book of Genesis. What inspires you? Seeing women confidently and courageously loving, accepting and being themselves. Song playing in your head? “I Like to Dance” from Yo Gabba Gabba


Augusta Family Magazine October 2017  

Annual Special Needs Directory Therapy Dogs - The role they play for kids with special needs