Sunday, October 3, 2010

Congress changes intellectual disability wording


WASHINGTON — Disabilities advocates on Thursday applauded Congress for passing legislation that eliminates the term "mental retardation" from federal laws.

"Changing how we talk about people with disabilities is a critical step in promoting and protecting their basic civil and human rights," said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc, an organization promoting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The measure, passed by the House by voice vote Wednesday night, changes the phrase "mentally retarded" to "an individual with an intellectual disability" in existing health, education and labor law.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., sponsor of the bill with Sen Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said it would make language in federal law consistent with that used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the health arm of the United Nations and the White House.

"This law is about families fighting for the respect and dignity of their loved ones," Mikulski said. "This change will have a positive effect on more than 6 million Americans."

"Rosa's Law," named after a Maryland girl with Down Syndrome, passed the Senate last month and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.


The bill is S. 2781



Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

I had a great time at the Autism Speaks 2010 Arkansas Autism Now Walk in Little Rock on Saturday, Oct. 2nd. I helped with the Advocacy table and participated in the walk. Preliminary estimates are 1500 participants and over $70,000 raised. Plan now to participate in next year's walk.

Pope Co. Parents of Special Needs Children

Join for our October Meeting on Thursday October the 7th at 6:30 pm. We will be meeting at the Equestrian Zone for this month's meeting. They will be giving us a tour and short presentation. Hope to see you there!

New Healthcare Website

There is a new website - - that offers comparison shopping for over 4,400 insruance plans across the country. It also breaks all the information out (including the Obama Health Care Plan's provisions) by consumer bracket, including a disability category.

Monday, August 9, 2010

ADD Survey

The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) in the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking information about the needs of people with developmental disabilities. ADD funds projects of national significance (PNS) designed to foster systems change in meeting the needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families. ADD is asking people to complete a short on-line survey about the types of programs and projects that would be most helpful to people and their families. The survey can be completed on line until September 1, 2010 at:

Monday, July 26, 2010

DRC Public Input Link

Reach for Your Possibilities! Let Us Help!
Help stop discrimination against people with disabilities!

Disability Rights Center is seeking public input for its 2011 priorities and goals.

Just paste the path below into your web browser and complete the form.

Disability Rights Center
1100 N. University, Suite 201
Little Rock AR 72207

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Arkansas Disability Policy Consortium Summit 2010

Arkansas Disability Policy Consortium (ADPC) will host the
2010 Disability Policy Summit “Arkansans for Full Participation”
OCTOBER 20, 2010
at the Comfort Inn & Suites, Downtown Little Rock @ the Clinton Library, 707 Interstate 30, Room reservation contact 501-687-7700.
8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Registration
9:30 A.M. -11:45 A.M. Disability Networking
12 Noon- 12:30 P.M. Lunch
12:45 P.M.- 2:15 P.M. Candidates Panel
2:15 P.M.- 2:30 P.M. Wrap Up
More information contact

ARC Survey

The National Arc is conducting a FINDS survey

"Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports"

This will take a few minutes to complete but it gives your voice a chance to be heard.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Positively Autism Vol 5 Issue 3
is the link to the latest edition of the online, free magazine. This issue is devoted to Occupational Therapy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Social Skills Group Starting in Conway

Social Skills Groups
We are excited to announce that social skills groups are forming and will begin this September in Conway. The groups will include up to 8 children with 2 group leaders.

The social skills groups are open to children ages 4-12 who need instruction in the area of social skills. Deficits in this area are commonly found in children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders but a formal diagnosis is not required.

Group leaders will utilize research-based strategies and ABA methodology during instruction. Data will be collected during each session to monitor progress on the areas being programmed for.

An intake appointment with both the parent and child will be scheduled for August and will assist group leaders in developing social skill goals and group placement. Ongoing communication with parents will assist in allowing skills that are learned in group to be practiced outside of group times.

Group Leaders:

Jennifer Hennessey, Ed.D., is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has over 10 years experience working with children on the autism spectrum in both home and public school settings.

Shelia Smith, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, has over 6 years experience specializing in early childhood and working with children on the autism spectrum. She is currently completing coursework and receiving supervision required for the BCBA exam.

For more information, please contact Jennifer at 501-940-4435 or Shelia at 501-730-3578

Sunday, May 30, 2010

FYAN Conference and Dr. Ross Greene

I just returned from the first annual FYAN (Family Youth Assistance Network) conference. It was an informative event and one I would recommend. One highlight of the meeting was the presentation on Friday by Dr. Ross Greene on Collaborative Problem Solving. Dr. Greene is the author of "The Explosive Child" and "Lost at School." His technique for dealing with children with challenging behaviors is first rate. If you are interested, he is coming back to Arkansas in June for the ARMEA conference. Here's the link.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Online Arkansas Autism Resources

I was just asked to put together a listing of parent support groups for Autism in Arkansas. Here's what I have come up with so far (in no particular order). Please post comments if you have some to add to the list!

HEAR to host CAM lecture

Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) Lecture Series

H.E.A.R. (Helping Educate about Autism Recovery) presents "Integrative & Holistic Care of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders" by Nancy O'Hara.

Saturday, May 22, 2010
10am to 3pm

Wilson Education Building
1st Floor Lecture Hall
Hooper and Markham Streets
Little Rock, Arkansas

Registration fee is $6.00 (box lunch provided) and registration deadline is Friday, May 14, 2010. To register call Dianna Varady at (501) 526-6084 or email

AR Autism Speaks Kick Off Event May 1st!

I will be attending the Kick Off Event for the Autism Speaks Walk. It is this Saturday at 11 am at the Clinton Library.

2010 Arkansas Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kick Off Event
Saturday, May 1st
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Clinton Presidential Center
For more information please email

2010 Arkansas Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Clinton Presidential Center
1200 President Clinton Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Registration: 8:30 am
Walk Starts: 10:00 am

Walked in the AAROC 5 K Saturday

I did it in the rain too! The 3rd annual All Out For Autism 5K was Saturday morning. Although it was wet, it was a great event. The race benefits AAROC - a great resource for anyone impacted by Autism in Arkansas. is the website.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Autism Waiver Meeting in Conway

Made it to the Autism Waiver Meeting in Conway. Very informative -State will be providing ABA style services via a medicaid waiver with the random selection of 100 kids from the list that apply. Then they will start a waiting list. Age range of those eligible is not set in stone but looking like birth through 10 being the age to apply. Waiver only lasts 3 years. Projecting services being in the field by January 2011 with the application process starting later this year. ABA is a fabulous program if is it a good fit for your family. Lots of research indicates major results from the intervention and programming for the child. I am excited to see this coming to our state and hopefully funding will only increase!

Title V meeting in Clarksville

OK - found the title V meeting in Clarksville last Thursday amidst the turning weather. It was a good session, lead by David Deere from Partners. All the major disability organizations in the state were listening. We had a good session where we put things on the board that we needed to improve the lives of our children. Don't know were the money or services would be coming from to fund some of these but they are out there.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Scholarship

From another list I belong to:

Book Scholarship for High School or College Students with Autism or Asperger's

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UAMS/ACH Autism Conference April 16-17, 2010

Save the Date: Team Up: Building Partnerships for Children with Autism in Arkansas

Jointly sponsored by UAMS with Arkansas Children's Hospital

April 16-17, 2010 Arkansas Children's Hospital

Questions or Register: Jackie Jagers 501-364-1248

Will post a weblink as soon as available. BTW, it is $20 for parents!

Autism Resource Center of Arkansas support group meeting Jan. 30th

The ARCAR is hosting their first support group meeting of the year! Come to New Life Church of Conway on Saturday, January 30th, 2009 from 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Their speaker will be Lynne Holloway, a Peds Plus OT and certified RDI consultant. She will teach us about Relationship Development Intervention and give us some great techniques to use at home in our daily lives. There will also be a poll to find out what you'd like to learn from these meetings this year. (You can even request a speaker!)

As always, refreshments will be served and there will be lots of time for discussion. Childcare is provided with an RSVP. Contact Shayna at if you'd like to RSVP or have any questions.

All About IEPs in Little Rock April 1st is the link to the Little Rock conference. It will be Thursday, April 01, 2010 from 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM (CT) at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.

From the website:

Peter Wright will guide parents and professionals on how to write good IEPs for the disabled child during this all-day conference. He will cover IEP regulations, recent changes in the federal law, and the drafting of SMART IEPs.

The conference features Peter Wright's newest book, the 2010 All About IEPs. Written in a question-and-answer format, this book answers the many questions a parent or educator may have about special education law and children's rights.

All About IEPs

Peter Wright is a leading scholar on special education law and the author of the classic Wrightslaw series on disability rights. His website is a great resource for families and educators seeking help with special education law.

Year-end IEP meetings are coming up soon, and every parent and educator needs to be prepared!


All conference attendees receive:
* From Emotions to Advocacy by Peter Wright
* All About IEPs by Peter Wright, new for 2010!
* CD-ROM on “Legal Requirements of IEPs”
* CD-ROM on “Understanding Your Child’s Test Scores”
a $62.80 value, FREE.

* Early registration starts now until March 10th. You pay only $35.00 for the all-day conference, books and CD-ROMs.
* Standard registration costs $50 until March 29th, two days before the conference.
* Late registration is $70.
* CEU and CLE credit is also available with a $80 registration. This registration will be available shortly.

Payment is due at the time of registration, but those with tickets may designate subsitutes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Title V meetings need your voice!

The Title V Children’s Services Program/DDS
And the Developmental Disabilities Network
(Arkansas Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council,
Disability Rights Center,
and Partners for Inclusive Communities)

Announce a Series of Public Forums on

“Needs of Children with Special Health Care Needs and Individuals with Disabilities and their Families”

This series is to provide four agencies information about services and needs of children and youth with special health care needs and adults with disabilities. The things learned in these meetings will become a part of the state plan for Title V Children’s Services and planning for future activities for the agencies that are members of the Developmental Disabilities Network (Developmental Disabilities Council, Disability Rights Center, and Partners for Inclusive Communities).

The schedule is listed below. Please be aware that if local schools are closed due to hazardous road conditions/inclement weather, then the meeting for that date/location will be cancelled


January 12th
1pm-3pm & 6pm-8pm
Community Bank
1325 Harrison Street

January 14th
1pm-3pm & 6pm-8pm
Valley View Church of Christ
4500 Southwest Drive

January 19th
1pm-3pm & 6pm-8pm
Rich Mountain Community College
1100 College Avenue

January 21st
1pm-3pm & 6pm-8pm
Compassion’s Foundation
1823 East North Street

January 28th
1pm-3pm & 6pm-8pm
Forrester Davis DD Center
1000 West Buchanan Street

February 2nd
1pm-3pm & 6pm-8pm
Phillips Community College
2807 Highway 165 South

February 4th
1pm-3pm & 6pm-8pm
BancorpSouth Community Room
200 South Elm Street

For more information or to request accommodations to participate in this meeting, please call Mary Jo Lewno at 1-800-342-2923 (V/TTY), 501-682-9900 (Voice), or 501-682-9902 (TTY), or e-mail No pre-registration required.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

11 year old with Autism in AR charged with felony

Visit and to get the whole story.

Zakh who is 11, has autism, and has had some pretty significant challenges in his short life - including being institutionalized and the loss of his younger sister - has been charged with felony assault for his actions while resisting being physically restrained by the staff at Beard Elementary in Ft. Smith. It is this school that has apparently denied him FAPE, an IEP, and PBS. His grandmother is trying to raise the $5,000 retainer needed for an attorney to help the family. Please put your thoughts, prayers, and support behind this young man.

I think about Zakh and compare it to our situation. My son is 8, has a full time aide - something Zakh was denied - and the support of both a wonderful school administration and teachers - also denied to Zakh. But we live in Pottsville - not Fort Smith - Arkansas. It is a tragedy that the schools are so different but the law and regulations are the same. Wen has had some meltdowns at school this year, as has Zakh, but our teachers and school leadership understand that this is his disability coming through not "bad behavior." But things are better and we continue to work on how to help Wen learn these coping skills he so desperately needs.

Friday, January 8, 2010

GFCF EasyBake Oven Products

OK - we are several weeks into our GFCF adventure. Wen is taking and eating his lunch at school and we have had a good week back after Christmas Break. I belong to several lists trying to learn as much as I can about Autism. Every once in a while, I read something really unusual. This is one of those tips. If you are GFCF and are looking for kids food, here's a link for you. has mixes you can use in your child's EasyBake Oven that are GFCF. I haven't tried them yet, but can't wait to see how they turn out.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Petition to encourage state action on Autism Legislation

Dayna Miller is circulating a petition to encourage the Arkansas Legislature to
mandate insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders and
appropriate therapy. Please conact Dayna directly for a PDF copy of the petition. Her email address is

Please read, sign and forward. Also, please have
family, friends, coworkers, church members and others sign this
petition. Arkansas came close to passing this legislation in 2009 and
I believe with your help it can become a reality now.

Please print, forward and share with as many people as possible.
Individuals with autism need you to be their advocate. Upon
completion, please mail directly to me:
Dayna Miller
5901 Kersey Lane
Jonesboro, Ar. 72404

Please email me directly with any questions:

Thank you in advance for your help.

Dayna Miller

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Autism Waiver Community Meetings

Autism Waiver Community Meetings

Coming To Your Area

The new Upcoming waiver program to provide intensive early intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is being developed. A series of community meetings are being held for parents/family members and providers. See below for the schedule of dates, locations and descriptions of the sessions. Please share this information with all those who have an interest in this important program. For more information call Barbara or Mary Jo at Partners for Inclusive Communities at 1-800-342-2923 or Karan at 501-551-1754.



1/5/2010 -Tuesday
Fayetteville Public Library (Walker Room); 401 West Mountain St., Fayetteville 72701

1/6/2010 -Wednesday
Ft. Smith
St. Edward’s Mercy Medical Center (Education – Sicard Room); 7301 Rogers Ave., Ft. Smith 72903

1/7/2010 -Thursday
Hot Springs
First Nazarene Church; 3804 Central Ave., Hot Springs 71913

1/19/2010 -Tuesday
Mountain Home
McMullin Lecture Hall/Dryer Lobby, ASU 1600 S College St., Mountain Home 72653

1/20/2010 -Wednesday
PettiJean Electric Cooperative – Hwy 65N, Marshall 72650

1/21/2010 -Thursday
North Little Rock
Pulaski Technical College (Grand Hall B); 3000 W. Scenic Dr., North Little Rock 72118

1/26/2010 -Tuesday
Pine Bluff
Jenkins Memorial Center Cafeteria; 2410 Rike Ave., Pine Bluff 71603

1/28/2010 -Thursday
El Dorado
Ellis Conference Center, AHEC South AR, 460 W Oak, El Dorado 71730

2/2/2010 -Tuesday
Conway New Life Church; 633 South Country Club Rd, Conway 72034

2/3/2010 -Wednesday
Great Rivers Educational Service Cooperative; 100 Campus Dr., Helena/West Helena 72342

2/4/2010 -Thursday
Courtroom – 2nd floor of Dumas Municipal Complex; 149 East Waterman, Dumas 71639

2/9/2010 -Tuesday
Howard County Children’s Center; 1577 Hwy 371 W, Nashville 71852

2/10/2010 -Wednesday
Collum & Carney Clinic (Community Room); 1440 W 1st N, Prescott 71857

2/11/2010 -Thursday
Valley View Church of Christ; 4500 Southwest Dr., Jonesboro 72401

Description of Sessions:

3:30-5:00 PM Session- Provider Session

This session is designed for community-based providers of developmental disabilities services and individual therapists/practitioners who have expertise and experience in developing/implementing intensive intervention programs for children with ASD

6:00- 7:30 PM Session- Parent/Family Member Session

This session is designed for all parents/family members who have sons and daughters with ASD, of all ages. In addition to the discussion of the new waiver program, parents will be able to share their needs and participate in prioritizing the needs for their region. This information will be shared with the Legislative Task Force on Autism, created by SB 938 of 2009. If parents have a personal story they would like to share, please bring it to the meeting in writing so it can be shared in its entirety with the Task Force.

Tentative Meeting Agenda:


·Autism Waiver Program Presentation- an informational presentation will be made explaining the status and process for development of the new waiver; the differences between the upcoming program and the existing developmental disabilities waiver; and a tentative schedule for implementation of the program

·Identification of Needs Process- participants will be engaged in a process for identifying the needs of families/providers in their area related to services for individuals with ASDs. The group will then prioritize the needs for their region. This information will be shared with the Legislative Task Force.

Family members and providers are encouraged to invite their local legislators to attend the sessions so they may hear firsthand the needs of their constituents.

Autism Task Force Documents

To find out what the Arkansas Legisative Task Force has been doing, you need to go to the website. It is a bit tricky to find. First, go to Then go to the right hand side and look under Useful Links - Research - Research Publications. This will take you to the Research Service Division Page on which there is a link to Legislative Task Forces. Click on that link. This takes you to the Bureau's Internet Research Publications Page where there is a link for the Legislative Task Force on Autism. And finally you are at the files!

Surviving Christmas

Well, we made it through another Christmas holiday with relatively few major tramas. I am grateful considering the major change in schedule and routine that two week break from school and therapy can mean to a child with Autism. Not to mention that we are in the middle of going GFCF. That in and of itself is a challenge. His food list has narrowed - if that were possible - from pre diet and he wants everything to taste the same. It is hard to explain to an 8 year old - but we still try daily. I'll be posting a couple of links and messages about upcoming events in the state and information. Stay tuned and I hope everyone survived the holidays!