Ashley Elliot and Artistic Realization Technologies

Standing in front of a paint-splattered wall, 16-year-old Ashley Elliott slides a pointer stick along a partially completed canvas until 21-year-old artist Sam Hill tells her to stop. When he gives the word, Elliott splashes black paint diagonally across the canvas. Continue reading

What Happens Next? Vocational Training for Teens With Disabilities

As high school graduation approaches, parents of teenagers with physical, developmental or learning disabilities may wonder about the next phase of their child’s life. Many local organizations, programs and services are available to help these teens transition to adulthood and into the workforce. Continue reading

Therapeutic Recreation’s “Little Rockers” Wrap Up Marathon

Around 90 kids and teens took to the track at McClellan Magnet High School on Friday, Feb. 22, to complete their final mile of the Little Rock Parks and Recreation’s Therapeutic Recreation “Little Rockers” walking program.

In its fifth year, the program, which is part of the Little Rock Marathon, is for students in grades K-12 with disabilities. Schools sign up for the program in early November and kids start accumulating walking miles, said Sherrie Shinn, therapeutic recreation coordinator at Little Rock Parks and Recreation.

The goal is that all students complete 25.2 miles of the marathon individually or with their schools, and everyone walks the last marathon-mile together, she said. Those who completed the last mile received medals and T-shirts. Shinn said she’s heard that students are so proud of completing the marathon that they wear their medals to school for weeks afterwards.

“It’s a huge, prideful thing for them,” Shinn said. “They hear about the Little Rock Marathon, and being part of this community event is something to be proud of.”

Though the final-mile “race” was noncompetitive and untimed, someone has to cross the finish line first. And, that first-place finisher was 9-year-old Couryion McFadden, 9, a student at the Arkansas School for the Deaf, which took part in the event for the first time this year.

With a big smile, McFadden said it was a good race and he was very happy to have finished first. A few of his teammates, 10-year-old David Parker and 11-year-old Andrew Canu, were also excited and proud to have completed the marathon. The ASD team was led by Coach Jon Parker.

First-place finisher, Couryion McFadden (right), with teammate

First-place finisher, Couryion McFadden (right), with teammate

Brianna Jordan, 14, a student at Benton Junior High, also took part in the program for the first time this year. She said she enjoyed training for several months at school and she was happy to have completed all 26.2 miles.

“I’m really excited. It made me feel really good,” she said.

Brianna Jordan

Brianna Jordan

Mom Barbara Saunders said she was proud of her 8-year-old son, Will, a student at Crestwood Elementary in North Little Rock, for taking part in the program, and finishing the last mile despite the cold weather.

“He loves being active,” she said, explaining that healthy lifestyles are important in her family.

Shinn said her office reaches out to local schools to get them involved in the walking program, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive because teachers are interested in finding ways to get kids active. This year, students came from schools and homeschools all over central Arkansas.

“We want to make exercise fun, and this is a great way to do that,” Shinn said, adding that organizers of the Little Rock Marathon have been supportive at every step.

Free Seminar: Special Education and Individualized Education Plans

ACCESS, Autism Speaks Arkansas and Riley’s Warriors are hosting an event for area parents entitled, “Special Education and Individualized Education Plans: Hear from Other Local Parents, Get Resource Information.” This community-wide event will be held at the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ Family Life Center, Southeast Entrance, 10900 Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock Saturday, Jan. 19, 8:30-11:15 a.m.

This free seminar will include information about special education services, including individualized education plans. Several special needs providers will also be on hand to answer questions. Registration and resource tables will open up at 8:30 a.m., followed by a parent panel at 9 a.m., and a presentation at 10:15 a.m. by Rebecca Walker, a special education teacher with the Conway School District with more than 10 years of teaching experience.

Walker’s talk, “Special Education Services in Public Schools,” will differentiate between a 504 plan and an Individualized Education Plan. The referral process, response to intervention, goals and objectives, modifications and more will be discussed.


To sign up for this free conference, click here. For more information contact Dawn Itzkowitz at 501-951-0115. 


Lindsey and Skylar Stone

Over the years working as Editor of Savvy Kids, I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful parents and children living in the central Arkansas community. In this special issue of Savvy Kids I would like to introduce you to Lindsey Stone and her daughter Skylar. Lindsey and Skylar have been fans of Savvy Kids for some time now, and if you’ve paid attention, you’ve seen Skylar’s photograph printed from various community events. Continue reading