We met Kristy Brown, co-founder of Arkansas Regional Therapy Services, soon after we started Motherlode in 2008.
We were immediately impressed with her bubbly personality and passion for her vocation as a speech therapist. When one of our kids received services at ARTS for a while we were able to see Kristy and her business partner, Tara Call, in action. They rock at making learning and “work” seem like one big party for their clients — kids and adults.
We are thrilled to introduce you to Kristy and Tara through a quick-read Q&A:
What prompted you to start Arkansas Regional Therapy Services: We’ve been friends since early on in our undergraduate studies. After graduating with our masters we both began as Speech Language Pathologists in the public school system. After gaining valuable experience in the schools we both decided to pursue practicing as a speech therapist in private practice. Tara began practicing privately in 2006, and Kristy joined her in 2009. Both Tara and Kristy have a strong desire to provide the highest quality services in their clients.
What are some of the unique services you offer at your offices? The therapy world is always changing. As therapists we are always furthering our education and skills. Our clinic is able to cater to the following speech and language needs:
All language delays, articulations delays, hearing impairments, feeding and swallowing, tongue thrust, reading and writing deficits and social skills.
We use techniques from the following methods: applied behavior analysis (ABA), TEACCH, PROMPT, Pivotal Response Training (PRT), and Bechman Oral Motor Method.
We also offer beginning sign language coaching lessons for parents and caregivers, including child care providers. After school hours, we offer social skills groups and programs to encourage social development in children and teens.
We also have a reading/writing specialist and academic tutor on staff.
Tell us about the ARTS therapists: Our therapists are so wonderful and such blessings! We select therapists that have proven their skill level by providing direct treament under the supervision and guidance (of Tara and Kristy). It is actually part of the interview process for us. Each therapist has been supervised to ensure the highest quality treatment is overed to each individual we serve.
ARTS is also affiliated with the University of Arkansas in accepting interns to train under us to help our community gain qualified and experienced Speech Language Pathologists.
Do you test for autism and offer therapy at the clinic? A speech pathologist/ therapist is part of a diagnostic team that can diagnose Autism. As the Speech Language Pathologist on the team we are responsible for evaluating the many aspects of language for an individual who may be diagnosed with Autism. These areas include: receptive and expressive language, pragmatics (social language), inferencing and perspective taking.
Once diagnosed with Autism, we treat the symptoms. Language (expressive, receptive, and social language) is an area that is crucial to address with Autism. We like to say “we don’t treat the diagnosis, we treat the child”.
Many times we see a child months or a year or so before they are diagnosed with Autism. The diagnosis does not change our plan of treatment, it just broadens the horizon when looking for funding that is helpful to the child and family.
Do you have any free screenings coming up? We are always doing something for the community in regards to screening and testing. Any parent is welcome to call and speak to us about their concerns! After that initial conversation it is often determined if the child needs to come in for further evaluation. We also offer free hearing screenings throughout the year to anyone in the community. Please check our Facebook page and webpage/blog for the announcements!
Tell us what a speech therapist actually does: Of course I will give you the long answer, sorry (from ASHA.org)!
A speech-language pathologist is responsible for the diagnosis, prognosis, prescription, and remediation of speech, language, and swallowing disorders. A speech-language pathologist evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty speaking, listening, reading, writing, or swallowing. The overall objective of speech-language pathology services is to optimize individuals’ ability to communicate and swallow, thereby improving quality of life.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Speech-language pathologists, as defined by ASHA, hold the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). Minimal criteria to become an SLP include:
- Master’s, doctoral, or other recognized post-baccalaureate degree. from a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA);
- At least 25 hours of supervised clinical observation and 350 hours of supervised clinical practicum involving evaluation and treatment of children and adults with communication disorders;
- Successfully passing a national examination in speech-language pathology; and
- Completion of a clinical fellowship after completion of the graduate degree that consists of at least 36 weeks of full-time professional experience or its part-time equivalent.
- Demonstration of continued professional development is mandated for the maintenance of the CCC-SLP. Where applicable, speech-language pathologists hold other required credentials (e.g., state licensure, teaching certification).
You treat adults, too, right? Our clinic does treat adults and we help with a wide range of speech language needs. Currently, we are offering the following therapy for adults: accent reduction, feeding and swallowing, exective functioning and socials skills.
What are some red flags that might prompt parents to bring their children in for testing? We are big fans of developmental checklists to give a parent a guideline. ASHA.org is a great resource for these. A few guidelines to keep in mind:
Age one: should be saying several one word utterances and able to attempt to repeat words after adults. They may not be clear and have all of the sounds right, but an attempt is great!
Age 2: they should start to put two words together and be labeling everything, using inflection to ask questions such as “daddy go?”.
Age 3: your child should be speaking so that you can understand him/ her and strangers as well.
Remember, ages listed means “through that age”….give your child time. We offer classes for parents that feel their child could use a boost but don’t qualify for therapy.
If I could tell parents one thing, it would be to not be reactive but proactive when it comes to speech and language. An evaluation is harmless and the children love the one on one play time!
On a side note, qualifications for therapy will depend on the realm of your provider. For instance, to qualify in the public sector (school system), your scores have to be within a qualifying range and affect their education. In the private sector we are able to accept scores that are even just one point below normal and this allows us to be very proactive in treatment. Please, always seek a second opinion from a private therapist if the public system feels you do not qualify.
Tell us a little about your family:
Tara: I am the mother of 3 active boys ages 19, 5 and 16 months. I’m married to my best friend who is a teacher in the public schools and a college basketball official. We enjoy spending time together, alone away from the hustle and bustle, just relaxing. We all pitch in with the chores, gardening and cooking to keep our household organized and happy while both of us enjoy our full time jobs serving our community.
Kristy: I am married to Greg Brown, an attorney, and we have one son, John Lleyton, who will be turning five this summer. We have pets and love to spend time as a family together generally just relaxing. My husband is an avid hunter so I am famous for being a “Hunter’s Widow” in the fall and winter. I do enjoy wild game cooking and eating of course! As a family we also enjoy gardening, local entertainment/events, and traveling.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Tara: I enjoy spending time with my husband and boys taking care of our home. We love experiencing the outdoors in Northwest Arkansas.
Kristy: I enjoy gardening, camping, traveling, reading,the farmers market, and research (I know, nerdy). A girls’ night out is fun too! Most of all I enjoy FAMILY TIME!
We know you love your job. What’s your favorite thing about it?
Kristy: I would have to say my absolute favorite part of the job are the personal rewards I get every day. This may be a child giving me eye contact for the first time, watching a child sign “more” to ask for more tickles, hearing a child say Mama, or teaching a child to answer, “what is your name?”. I also can’t forget the fact that I feel like I am making a difference in someone every day!
Tara: Seeing progress in my clients, most definitely!
Click here to visit the ARTS website and learn more about services that are available to children and adults in Northwest Arkansas. Or call 479-283-4637 for more info! Kristy and Tara are happy to chat with you.
Welcome to another edition of “Good Gossip,” the only guilt-free celebrity column in Northwest Arkansas. We scour your favorite magazines for interesting celebrity news, but we filter out all those nasty, negative rumors so you can enjoy your gossip entirely guilt-free.
As always, this feature is sponsored by Great Day Farms, a national brand based right here in NWA. Look for their products at the Walmart Supercenter. Click HERE to like them and get coupons on their Facebook page.
Thank you to Great Day Farms for being the presenting sponsor for the NWA Mom Prom, held earlier this month. With more than 300 women in attendance, the first Mom Prom was a huge hit and we thank Great Day for helping to make it all happen. Click HERE to see photos from the Mom Prom.
Attention Sue Sylvester fans: Our favorite tracksuit-wearing coach from Glee will be hitting Broadway soon, starring as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Jane Lynch said she never thought she’d be on Broadway and was scared to death when she was first offered the role. She said while growing up, her family was very into musical theater. Her parents would sit at the table drinking Manhattans and harmonizing together.
Are you a beauty product addict? So is Miranda Lambert, country star and one of the members of the Pistol Annies band. Miranda’s bandmates, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe said that Miranda goes to Walgreen’s in every town she plays in. When asked whether or not they share all those beauty products, Ashley said “We share everything except for our men.”
Today show co–anchor Savannah Guthrie just got engaged. The 41-year-old journalist got engaged to Michael Feldman on Mother’s Day weekend. Feldman is a political consultant and has been dating Guthrie for four years. When asked about her big news, Guthrie said “He’s the best person. He knows me inside and out, and we just adore each other.”
Some of our favorite animated celebrities will be back on the big screen this summer with new movies. Here’s a list of upcoming kids’ films: Epic on May 24th; Monsters University on June 21st; Despicable Me 2 on July 3rd; Turbo on July 17th; and The Smurfs 2 on July 31st.
Last month, Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon renewed their wedding vows at the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. The couple, along with their two-year-old twins, arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. After the ceremony, there was a reception in Fantasyland for 250 guests, complete with fireworks and rides.
Julia Roberts has signed on to support Chime for Change, a Gucci-sponsored campaign to raise money and awareness to empower young girls and women. Roberts said her 8-year-old daughter Hazel is her inspiration. “She hasn’t allowed herself to be shaped by popular opinion. She is her own person in every way — loving, tenancious and hilarious. The world is full of joy, wonder and openness to her.”
Sitcom star and fellow mother Sarah Chalke, who stars in “How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)”, said that she and her friends went out recently and had old-school sundaes that had everything on them. “I believe dessert is a very necessary part of life and guilt is a useless emotion, so combining the two would be wrong.” We couldn’t agree more, Sarah!
Source: People magazine May 20 and May 27, 2013 editions
Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day All Natural Eggs. These eggs are produced by happy hens who are fed premium vegetarian diets with no animal fats, animal by-products, or antibiotics. Great Day Farms also offers hard-boiled eggs, which you can find in the deli section of the Walmart Supercenter. (Love the hard-boiled eggs because they’re peeled and ready to eat! Perfect in salads.)
Soon enough all your kids are going to be out of school for the summer. You don’t want them glued to the TV, so why not go for a walk, get some family time, and enjoy the great outdoors?
Our friends over at Uncle Sam’s Outfitters rounded up information on some family friendly local hikes, grouped by age, just for us!
Hikes for Children in Strollers or with Limited Mobility
If you’ve got a little one in a stroller, you’ll want a hike no longer than around two miles total, even if you’re pretty enthusiastic about it.
Hobbs Conservation Area Trails
Historic Van Winkle Trail: At a turn off on the highway with restrooms and picnic tables, this trail goes under the highway through a tunnel, the echoes of which will amuse your family. This trail starts down a hill and goes down on a slight slope into a gulley between two hills and describes the site with signs where the Van Winkle family lived at their mill. The path is graveled and appropriate for strollers.
Ozark Plateau Trail: This trail has both a paved surface and a outer loop that’s crushed gravel and is fully ADA accessible and perfect for strollers. It’s three-quarters of a mile long and goes through pine and oak trees with panels about the ecological and geological examples in the area.
Lake Fort Smith
Warren Hollow Trail: This trail isn’t a loop so round trip it’s 1.2 miles but it is accessible for strollers. It’s a new trail in a new park that starts behind the visitor’s center and ends up at the group lodge. It has beautiful views over the lake, crosses multiple bridges, and goes through the woods and along a road.
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
Battlefield Driving Tour: If you’re looking for something where you don’t even have to get out of the car, this tour will still get you and your family involved with the outdoors. The tour is available with a brochure or CD program that guides you through the area and teaches you about the history of the Civil War.
Battlefield Trail: This paved, one mile trail is over the area most contested during the battle and explains the history of the battle. It’s fully ADA accessible.
Erble Area of the Buffalo River
Koen Interpretive Nature Trail: If you’re looking to go further afield in Arkansas, head out to this trail north of Jasper in the Buffalo River area. This trail is ADA accessible so it’s ideal for families who want to explore Arkansas more than just their backyard. The trail goes through the Koen experimental forest and explains the different plant life along the trail. You can watch an AETN video about the trail to get ready.
Ponds Trail: This trail is also ADA accessible from Highway 7 and navigates through wooded areas and around the pond. Bring your bird book and binoculars to take full advantage of this hike.
Hikes for School-Aged Children and Young Adults
Once your children are a little older, easy trails through wooded areas are completely appropriate, even if they have obstacles strollers can’t get over. You can bring along a bird, plant, or insect guidebook and take the time together to explore nature and stop along the path to investigate what’s going on. Uncle Sam’s, located in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Plaza, has a lot of resources just for Arkansas that you might find useful when planning trips, including a book about hikes with children in Arkansas. Make sure to bring along water and a snack so everyone’s happy and hydrated and use bug repellent in wooded and swampy areas.
Lake Trail: Perfect for a short jaunt in the woods, this trail crosses over the lake with a beautiful suspension bridge. The trail is rocky and has roots that cross the trail so this trail is recommended for children who are sure of their footing. The look over the dam area is beautiful with a deep blue color, especially after a rain. This trail is one-mile round-trip and is not a loop.
Woody Plant Trail: Grab the chart of plants at the Visitor’s Center and be on the look out for numbered markers on this trail to learn about local plant life. This quarter mile trail meanders through the park.
CCC Interpretive Trail: Self-guided tour brochures are available at the Visitor’s Center and explore this easy quarter mile trail that’s suitable for children. There are buildings left from the CCC camps to explore and signs that explain the history of the site. The trail is made almost entirely out of rocks and you’ll find some stairs made of these rocks.
Lake Fort Smith
Ozark Highlands Trail: The western terminus of the Ozarks Highlands Trail, a 127 mile trail, is a great way to start in on longer hikes. Since it goes for such a long way, you can go as far as you’d like and then turn around. As your children grow, their experience of this trail can grow with them. Maybe someday they might set out on a multi-day hike and do the whole thing!
Pedestal Rock Scenic Area
King’s Bluff Loop Trail: This trail meanders through bluffs and wooded areas and goes by one of the tallest waterfalls in Arkansas. Views are spectacular on this 2 mile long trail and it is perfect for middle school aged children.
Hikes for Older Children and Adults
Buffalo River Area
Tyler Bend Trails System: The Tyler Bend area is perfect for an overnight camping trip, with access to campgrounds, picnic tables, and a visitor’s center. There are four trails, all easy, that can be connected together for more than one day of different excursions. This is a perfect area for a first camping trip away from home because there’s plenty to explore and access to the Buffalo River.
Ozark National Forest
Hawksbill Crag Trail: This trail includes the iconic rock bluff that we think of when we picture Arkansas wilderness. This is a moderate 3-mile hike but is something every Arkansan should do at some point in their life. It makes a great day hike in the spring or fall when the trees give their best show.
If you’re looking for a long hike closer to home, Lake Wedington offers a campsite and a 15.4-mile trail. You’ll have to double back to return back home so it’s a perfect trail for an overnight hiking trip.
Looking for more? Take a look at Uncle Sam’s blog for some more kid-approved Northwest Arkansas hikes.
The end of the school year is so close, we can practically hear that old Alice Cooper hard rock song “School’s Out For Summer!” And as the final bell approaches, lots of Northwest Arkansas families are itching to start their summer vacations.
Click the links below to hear each day’s radio segment with ideas and tips for how to make the most out of this year’s summer vacation, including fun ideas for local “staycations.”
Our friend, Lisa Mac of Lisa Mac Photography, is hosting a HUGE giveaway over on her website right now, and you should check it out — but only if you like shopping, free stuff and beautiful photos of your family. Everybody on board? Good.
Lisa is celebrating her 10th year in business and she is, in our humble opinion, one of the very BEST photographers in Arkansas. That’s why we asked her to do the photos for the very first NWA Mom Prom earlier this month, and the pictures she took of people on the red carpet, on the dance floor and in the photo booth are SO good and SO much fun. (Click HERE to see the Mom Prom photos.)
Lisa has also photographed my babies many times over the past five years, and I’m always blown away when I see the shots she gets. (Some of Lisa’s favorite shots of clients are shown here.)
To help make this 10-year Anniversary Giveaway extra special, Lisa has joined with 10 other local business owners to assemble some amazing prize packages for the two winners of this giveaway. Each business is donating either a $100 gift card or two $50 gift cards. Each prize package is worth $1,000!
And here’s the main reason I rushed right over to Lisa’s website to enter the giveaway — Lisa is giving away two sessions that include a $500 print credit for photos. That portion of the prize alone is more than worth spending two minutes to enter the giveaway.
(No worries. You won’t need to cruise all over Facebook to get this done. The app on Lisa’s website made the whole process super easy and it only took me 2 minutes to get it all done.)
Here’s a list of the goodies in each of the two thousand-dollar prize packages.
- Session and $500 print credit to Lisa Mac Photography
- $100 gift card to Dearly Boutique
- $100 gift card to Meridienne Dessert Salon & Cafe
- $100 gift card to Scott Frame & Art
- $50 gift card to Perfect Choice
- $50 gift card to Bloom
- $50 gift card to Baby’s Room
- $50 gift card to District Salon
- Session and $500 print credit to Lisa Mac Photography
- $100 Visa gift card from Redman & Associates
- $100 gift card to Wellquest Spa
- $100 gift card to Ropa
- $50 gift card to Perfect Choice
- $50 gift card to Bloom
- $50 gift card to Baby’s Room
- $50 gift card to District Salon