Hello! We had such a great turn out for our Youth Inclusion Fair from last year that we decided to do it again on March 8th, 2018 from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. We would love to have all of you as a booth or if you're a family with kiddos who have special needs come as a fair-goer! Now that we've done it once we have a little more experience in improving some things and making this year better than ever. Everything is detailed on the application at the link below, however if you have any questions then please direct them toward Veronica Jones (email@example.com or call 479-644-0809). If you know of any inclusive organizations / programs / activity oriented businesses, especially for older kids, please encourage them to apply as well!
Fill out the application here:
THANK YOU for thinking about inclusion and making it a priority in what you do!
October 27, 2017
Amazeum members- free admission
Non-members- $2 per person (children under 2- free admission)PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED! - to register https://cart.amazeum.org/performance.aspx?pid=4327
HallowZING is a special event where play IS the treat! Children with special needs, their siblings and grownups are invited to enjoy a family-friendly night at the Amazeum in their Halloween costumes or play clothes. It’s a night of play and Halloween inspired activities instead of trick or treating or candy. Special thanks to the HallowZING partners: Arkansas Support Network, Autism Involves Me, Down Syndrome Connection, Play with Passion, Sunshine School, and Thrive Autism. Please note: refunds are not available and costumes should be family friendly. For more information, send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our friends at Sources offer several groups and classes that may be beneficial to our families and professionals we work with. See the list below.
Stop Last Ditch Effort to Repeal Affordable Care Act!
Despite public outcry and their subsequent failure to pass health care legislation, some members of Congress are still are attempting to find a way to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.
This most recent legislation, known as the Cassidy-Graham bill, retains many of the most damaging features from previous bills.
Tell your Senators and Representative they should reject Cassidy-Graham's last ditch effort to take away health care coverage for millions of Americans!
(Shared by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families)
Back to School Readiness Event by Altrusa
Believe it or not, back-to-school events are already starting up, and Altrusa is hosting a helpful one. If you're a resident of Farmington, Prairie Grove, Lincoln, Greenland, or West Fork (though no one from Washington County will be turned away), take your kids to Prairie Grove Elementary for a free backpack full of school supplies, a free haircut, and a free lunch (parents, you get a free lunch too!). Games, prizes, face painting, and a vendor fair for parents. Each
child will be able to select two free books to take home. Date: Saturday, July 29
Time: 11am - 2pm
Location: Prairie Grove Elementary School
Back to School Bash
July 29th 4pm to 6pm
Mercy and Grace Cathedral
5185 Apple Rd Springdale
FREE Back to School Garage Sale
Grandview Baptist Church
1001 Highway 143
Berryville, AR 72616
Saturday, July 29, 2017
8:00AM - 2:00 PM
School Supplies * Clean Used Clothes * Toiletries
KIDS NEED TO BE PRESENT TO GET SCHOOL SUPPLIES
July 30th -12pm to 2pm
Variety Insurance- Annual Back To School- 500 Back Pack Give-Away
106 E Emma in Springdale
Backpacks for all Carroll County Children
Beginning Wed, Aug 2nd from 9:40 am to 2 pm
Every Wednesday at that time until the backpacks are gone
489 Bunch Springs Rd, Berryville, AR 72616
Thursday, Aug 3rd from 3-7 pm at the Bobcat Arena (by Berryville Elementary School) Anyone enrolled in Berryville Schools
Will sign up at this event to have school supplies delivered to the classroom
August 3rd School Supplies/ Backpack Bonanza in Farmington at 5pm - 7pm Annual Back to School Bonanza is a community outreach sponsored by the Farmington United Methodist Church. Free event giving away tennis shoes and socks, underwear, backpack,haircuts, some school supplies, vision screenings, dental screenings, and Kindergarten Health Physicals to start school. All are welcome- this community outreach program serves 600 children each year. Student must be present to receive services.
Backpacks for Kids Tickets are available NOW! (until they're gone)
Locations and Times
Samaritan Market in Rogers
Tuesday through Thursday from 9am to 11am
Smaritan Market in Springdale
Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 11am
BackPacks for Kids Day 2017 is Saturday, Aug. 5. Times and locations are listed at the bottom of the page. NOTE: You MUST get your backpack ticket in advance. NO tickets will be handed out Aug. 5 and NO backpacks will be given without a ticket. FREE tickets are now available at the locations listed on the graphic above. We have 3300 tickets available and there's still time to get yours! Questions? Call Joe Raleigh or Shannon Green at 479.636.4198.
Sat, August 5- School Supplies/ Backpack Giveaway in Elkins at 9am pick by 10:30am- Community Center will be giving away over 600 backpacks filled with supplies for ages K-12th Grade at Elkins Community Center. Free haircuts, Hot dogs, games, inflatables, door prizes, and more. Register your students at www.rmccofnwa.com. 479.616.4634 with any questions.**students must be present to receive supplies*
Samaritan's Feet Event on Saturday, August 5th from 9am - 12pm here at the church. We will offer the children of Bentonville & surrounding areas a pair of new socks and a pair of sneakers for children in grades K -12. Must register.
First United Methodist Church Bentonville
August 6th - 11:00am- 2:00pm
Rodeo of the Ozarks
1423 E Emma in Springdale
*Child must have parent present
Altrusa International of Washington County will be distributing 300 bags full of school supplies to families in need. Prairie Grove High School. Saturday August 8th 12:00-2:00pm The group will provide free back-to-school items, as well as haircuts and lunch. DHS registration will also be available on site. Families with children of all ages are welcome.
Back to School Shoe Distribution
Saturday, august 13
All students who receive free or reduced price meals are eligible to pick up a new pair of shoes (Eureka Springs, Berryville, and Green Forest)
First Assembly of God in Springdale is hosting a Back to School Backpack Giveaway and Fun Day on August 15.
The event will take place at the church at 1605 West Robinson Avenue from 10:00 a.m. till noon.
Free backpacks will go to the first 500 children.
The event is open to the public and there will be inflatables & games for kids!
2017 ARKANSAS SALES TAX HOLIDAY
Arkansas will hold its annual sales tax holiday, beginning Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. and ending Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. State and local sales tax will not be collected during this 48-hour period on the sale of: (1) Clothing and footwear if the sales price is less than one hundred dollars ($100) per item; (2) Clothing accessories and equipment if the sales price is less than fifty dollars ($50) per item; (3) School supplies; (4) School art supplies; and (5) School instructional materials. For more information, contact a customer service representative by phone Monday through Friday from 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m. at (501) 682-7104. Clothing- Less Than $100.00 Per Item
-- List provided to us by Dayspring Behavioral Health Services
Candia Nicholas has worked as director of Arkansas Support Network’s Community Parent Resource Center for five years. She is the mother of Bentley, her 13-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome. Candia also directs ASN’s Student Work Experience Program which provides job-related instruction for local high school students who have developmental disabilities. We asked her about her perspectives as a mother and program director and what ideas she might want to share with other parents to help them advocate more effectively for their children. These are some of her observations.
Thoughts on advocacy:
–When I think about being my child’s advocate, I learned early on that I needed to be her voice. I was responsible for speaking for her because she could not speak for herself. It’s often stressful knowing that you have this responsibility. Parenting can be scary, but you must learn to advocate (speak up) for your child, so they can get the services they need and be accepted and understood.
Parents are often the only constant in their child’s life. People come and go all the time in our children’s lives, and just about the time someone gets to know and understand your child, it’s time to move on to the next person (teachers, therapists, etc.), and the process of getting to know each other starts all over again. When I started attending my daughter’s school meetings I quickly realized that I am the expert on my child. I may not be a medical expert, but I am the one who has been by her side, holding her hand through everything. I am the one constant in her life.
Thoughts on following up with professionals providing services:
—As a new parent, I admit that I was not the best with follow-up until I had to figure out the process. As I work with families, I often hear them say that they are missing out on services and opportunities. We expect that once we locate these services and make contact we will get a call back from someone (i.e., professionals, agencies, etc.). I know that most people in this line of work have larger than life caseloads. I recommend that parents kindly follow-up with these professionals if they don’t hear back from them in a reasonable amount of time. Parents often have to be “the squeaky wheel” in order to get the services their child needs. As a parent, I believe we often overthink our actions. Don’t worry so much about offending people. Remember, you are the voice for your child and you are the most important part of their team. You are doing what you need to do.
Example: Common issue we see in our office.
Follow-up is key when dealing with Medicaid Waiver packets. When we send the information in and don’t hear back from the Waiver unit, we can’t just assume that our child has been placed on the waiting list or that someone is going to call us back. We can’t wait and wait, hoping that someone will contact us. I think I learned that early in the process. There are so many forms and applications that you are expected to fill out. I was one of those parents who would wait and wait on a call to be returned or wait on information to be sent through the mail and never receive a reply.
That all changed for me when Bentley went into the hospital for a couple of months and I found that she wasn’t getting what she needed. So I started calling around for resources. I did this over and over until I developed some confidence. When you are learning to advocate you often build confidence the longer you do it. The more involved you get, the more you find your voice and can speak for yourself and your child.
On developing a louder voice on behalf of our children:
–I can tell you the exact moment when I developed a louder, more confident voice. It was when my daughter was in the hospital and she received the wrong medication. I realized this because my mother had been writing down everything– she was the thinker. I was just living in the moment, day-to-day, ignoring the details, and just praying for my daughter to live.
After heart surgery, Bentley was on 21 medications, tube fed, and connected to a number of lifesaving machines. The nurses came and went from her hospital room constantly. The days and numerous shift changes started running together. One day, a nurse brought in formula, put it in Bentley’s stomach tube, and left the room. I looked at the formula running through the tube and told my mother that it looked darker than the formula she had been taking. She looked through her notes to find the name of the formula and when we looked at the can of formula they had just given her we could see that it was different. I had to do/say something.
I was worried about offending the nurse when I asked her about it so I spoke to her very timidly. As a new parent, in a vulnerable situation, I believed that doctors and nurses were somewhat “godlike” and not to be questioned. After all, they were saving my daughter’s life. These two misfortunes made me realize that everyone makes mistakes and that I needed to speak up. I still have the utmost faith in doctors and nurses but it’s important to realize that mistakes can happen with anyone.
Hindsight is 20/20. Years later my mom wrote a beautiful, detailed book about Bentley’s first years of life.
Successful parent advocacy:
–This definition can vary from parent to parent. My definition of successful advocacy for my daughter is…being included in General Education at school, having friendships with typical peers and peers with disabilities, functioning well in the community, being included and accepted, and being confident in advocating for herself.
Advice for other parents:
–Follow your gut instincts, ask questions if you feel you need to, and don’t be afraid or think that your questions are stupid. Doctors and other professionals know a lot that you don’t know, but it’s important for you to share what you know and feel as well.
Here’s an example: I typically give Bentley two consecutive days of being extremely ornery and acting up at school and then it’s off to her PCP. Bentley used to see this doctor that I loved. When she wasn’t acting like herself, I took her to him and told him that I thought she had an ear infection. He gave me a funny look and asked, “Why would you think that?” I said, “She’s been ornery for two days”, and he replied, “Isn’t she always ornery?” He knew Bentley very well, and I chuckled at his response. I replied, “Well yes, but this time it’s more than usual.” I let him know that things were even more difficult at home than at school. When he did the examination, he found that she did have an ear infection.
You learn these things as a parent and they are different with every child. I’m often told that my child does not follow the normal trajectory of a child with Down syndrome; she writes her own book as she goes. After 13 years, I know this to be true. As parents we just have to be really tuned in to our children and figure out what works best for them. My last piece of advice is don’t beat yourself up for every little thing that goes wrong or not as planned. Slow down and enjoy your children, they grow up way too quickly.
NWA Motherlode has compiled a great list of summer camps and activities for the 2017 season here: nwamotherlode.com/archives/209879
DreamCatcher's Program for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders through Equestrian Bridges
Wednesday GROUPS Available
Starting February 8th 2017
4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 Sessions
3100 Oakland- Zion Drive, Fayetteville AR 72703
“See how the Touch of a Horse can open the Door to a whole
new World for Child!”
Equestrian Bridges’ is a non-profit dedicated to improve upon the Social Skills
of Children & Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders and intellectual delays through Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies (EAAT), no diagnosis needed. Many theories exist about the benefits of a horse; however, research proves that simply petting a horse causes our brain waves to calm. It is a sensory experience unlike any other. Please register early because space is limited. This 8-week course is offered to Children & Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders or Social Skills ages 5-18 and will help teach
communication, respect for others, and build your child’s confidence. The children learn how to work together in a group using Horses. There is $75 initial assessment fee for new clients and a $100.00 registration fee to reserve a miniature therapy horse for your child to work with. Parent groups are offered while the children are working with the horses to explain the “lesson” of the day and how you can apply the techniques at home
**If you cannot afford the registration fee, please contact us, assistance and sponsorships are offered! Thank you for your support and we hope to bring more advanced Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies to more Families in the future.
Please contact us at email@example.com or call 479-301-2814.
3100 N. Oakland Zion Road * Fayetteville * AR 72703
As I’m sure you all know that the minimum wage in Arkansas was increased on January 1, 2017. The increase of $.50 per hour raises the state minimum to $8.50 per hour. I’m pretty sure I can speak for my colleagues in the state when I say that I’m happy for the dedicated folks who provide supports to individuals who have disabilities—any increase in wages for our employees is welcome.
Sadly, our state’s Department of Human Services isn’t as happy with the increase. At Arkansas Support Network, we began preparing for this increase in wages as soon as annual plans for the individuals we support were up for renewal. With very few exceptions, we don’t generally start any of our employees at minimum wage. We believe it’s necessary, however, to increase our other hourly employees to keep pace with the higher minimum wage, and when we submitted new plans, we included those wage increases for all staff. They were summarily denied. The managers who work for DHS actually refigured the plans, and reduced the rates without consulting with us at all. When I asked about this, I was told that, if we had employees who are paid minimum wage, they would look at those individuals on a “case by case basis.”
I asked how one branch of our state government (our legislature) could pass a law dictating that wages be increased, and another branch (DHS) could ignore this law, or just refuse to abide by it. The answer, of course, isn’t one that I can accept. According to the DHS leadership, they aren’t telling me not to increase wages, they’re just saying that they have no responsibility for helping make that happen. That’s just ridiculous in my opinion. The whole point of raising the minimum wage is to increase wages for all workers, not just those on the bottom rung.
Our State Economic Forecaster, Dr. Michael Pakko, in a report on KTHV Channel 11, said, “If you’re basically transferring $1 to a minimum wage employee, that dollar is coming from somewhere else.” Because our industry is built on a cost reimbursement system, that “somewhere else” should logically be DHS. Our employees depend on that reimbursement for their livelihood. For our state to increase wages, but to then turn around and refuse to increase our reimbursements sends a sad message. That message comes through loud and clear—we don’t care about the employees who do this important work, and by extension, we don’t care about the people they are paid to support.
Here are the facts: Anyone who runs a business will tell you that, when the minimum wage is increased, hourly wages must be increased for existing staff, or those individuals will leave and go elsewhere. In our part of the state, the unemployment rate is 2.6%. If you drive down any street in the region, you will see “we’re hiring” signs in front of every business. In Northwest Arkansas, a manufacturing company that starts new, inexperienced employees at $13.50 per hour is displaying a huge sign looking for new employees. If we can’t compete at some level for those employees, our services and supports will suffer.
My message to families is this: We, along with our colleagues across the state, will work hard to continue to provide good supports, but we all know that if we can’t hire good workers, the eventual result will be, at best, mediocre supports. I don’t even want to think about the “at worst” scenario. Let’s just agree that those outcomes could be tragic. Please talk to your legislators. Talk to the Governor. Talk to everyone who will listen. This is critical to the future of our services, and to the future of quality community supports in Arkansas.
Keith Vire, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Arkansas Support Network
Wednesday | January 25 | 5:30-7:30pm
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18 (* and those statistics are HIGHER for those that have special needs!*)
Learn how to protect the children you love
Stewards of Children is a 2 hour workshop that addresses child sexual abuse in the context of today’s issues and teaches you a simple, 5-step approach that protects the children you love.
You also receive a free workbook to take with you and a certificate of completion.
The Children’s Safety Center’s team knows first hand that ending child sexual abuse takes a cooperative, community effort. To end child sexual abuse we must first address the issue head on, be open to have conversations with each other and our children, educate ourselves on the facts, and learn how to prevent abuse from happening.
Space is limited!
RSVP by contacting CSC Program Director, Casey Atwood: firstname.lastname@example.org 479.872.6183
(training provided by Children's Safety Center)
Staff of the Northwest Arkansas Community Parent Resource Center (including original content as well as curated links to various authors around the web.)