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  • Russell Haggard’s Transformative Journey: Thriving Beyond Project SEARCH

    Russell Haggard’s life took a remarkable turn when he embarked on a transformative journey with Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative in partnership with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, a program designed to empower individuals with diverse abilities by providing vocational training and career opportunities. Karen and Dan Haggard, Russell’s devoted parents, recount their journey alongside Russell, navigating through challenges and ultimately finding hope and success through Project SEARCH.

  • Embracing Differences, Building Friendships: Cross’s Transformation with ACCESS Life

    In the heart of Little Rock, where resources for young adults with special needs were scarce, our son Cross found his place to thrive. As parents, we always believed in Cross’s ability to overcome challenges, even his speech limitations, if he felt embraced and accepted.

  • Realizing Potential: Kenian’s Individual Potential Shines Bright at ACCESS Academy

    My daughter, Kenian Tiner, grappled with challenges in public schools from an early age. Diagnosed with ADHD at four, she later faced a severe anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder. As divorced parents, Kenian lived with her mom in Missouri during the week and spent weekends with me in Arkansas. Despite the geographical split, our unwavering priority was to do whatever it takes to get Kenian the help she needs.

  • Realizing Potential Through Early Intervention: Ellie’s Journey at ACCESS

    We were first introduced to ACCESS when our daughter Ellie was about six weeks old. She was born with Down syndrome and a number of other complex medical conditions that kept her in the hospital. She had never been outside to breathe natural air, but the team at ACCESS was already at work, propping up her parents and formulating a plan to get her body strong enough to keep her alive through her next open-heart surgery.

  • The Power of Positive Mental Health: How Mental Health Therapy Gave the Carter Kids the Tools for Success

    When our son Max’s anxiety started impacting him and our family in many hard and potentially dangerous ways, our pediatrician recommended three things – medication, comprehensive testing, and therapy. I knew immediately that the only people I would trust with something so serious was the ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center (AERC). My children have grown up at ACCESS, and this was big and scary, but being at ACCESS made it feel like home.

  • Unlocking Potential: How Shakavia’s Journey Through the AERC Provided a Pathway to Success

    On July 7, 2017, a beautiful little girl named Shakavia Tra’miya Highsmith entered the world, weighing 4 pounds 12.9 ounces. As she grew, her mother Nekena Litzsey and her family noticed peculiarities in her behavior. “As time went by, we started noticing little things about her,” recalled Nekena. “By the age of two, we noticed her spinning around in circles regularly, flapping her hands, putting non-food items in her mouth like ice, dirt, sticks, dust, etc., and her moods changing frequently.” At three, she developed specific routines and struggled with changes, resisting tasks outside her comfort zone.

  • Writing New Chapters: ACCESS Unveils Challenge Grant

    The ACCESS Starry Starry Night committee is excited to share an unprecedented matching grant, giving Starry Starry Night: The 25th Chapter the opportunity to be the biggest event yet for the organization.

  • A Solid Foundation for the Future: How the ACCESS Academy Prepared Claire for Academic Success

    Claire’s time at ACCESS Academy set her up for success and gave her the confidence to achieve her goals. When Claire started receiving therapy at ACCESS, she was three years old and had a very limited vocabulary.

  • Realizing Her Passion for Providing Lifelong Opportunities and Independence

    At 15 years old, I began working at a local camp for children and young adults with disabilities. My experiences there were truly life-changing for me. I quickly fell in love with this field and knew exactly what my future would hold.

  • Adult woman working in laundry room.

    From Timid to Team Player: How Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative Gave Katie the Confidence to Find Success

    In 2019, Betty Caughron’s daughter Katie began the St. Bernards Project SEARCH program in Jonesboro, Arkansas, one of seven host business sites for Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative in partnership with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. “In high school, Katie was shy and struggled with a speech impairment that made it difficult to converse with others,” explained Betty. “When Katie learned about Project SEARCH, she was excited about meeting other young adults like her and developing essential job skills for the future.”

  • Adult woman posing with a peace sign.

    Bailey Dettmer: Finding Independence

    According to her mother Bobbi, Bailey Dettmer has been a miracle from the start. Born second in a set of triplets to a mother who was told she wasn't likely to have children was only one in a series of miracles for this bright young adult. Bailey suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2003 at nine months of age, survived when doctors said she wouldn't, and changed the trajectory of her family's lives forever.

  • Why is Speech Therapy Important for School-Age Children?

    Oftentimes, people think of speech therapy as something children need when they are just learning to speak or communicate. Yet, speech therapy encompasses the development of important parts of language and communication used throughout a child’s development, including school-age children.