Meeting special needs

I want to thank Arkansans everywhere who have contributed to the Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids program and encourage others to do the same. By designating your sales-tax bill for scholarship funding, you create something special for my granddaughter Teegan and hundreds of other students across the state.

Teegan, who has autism, attends the Lighthouse, which provides not just learning but growth. She receives all her therapies--speech, physical, occupational--there on scholarship. More importantly, she is loved there, and she is safe. It is a place where progress is not measured in test scores but beginning to verbalize after a year.

Her mother and I constantly weigh the sacrifices we must make for her well-being, and that includes the cost of these invaluable services. We will do whatever it takes, whether that's working another shift or even forgoing a meal if it comes to that. Because others care about education, we don't have to make those sacrifices.

When you don't have these needs, it can be hard to imagine wondering where you will come up with this money, always wanting what's best for this child. It is perhaps easier to imagine all private schools as elite students in matching uniforms sitting around reading Greek classics, but that's not what my granddaughter's school is. In fact, they avoid using the word school at all.

We're so incredibly thankful to have found the learning environment that meets her needs and for those who have helped her find her place there.



A weight’s been lifted

When covid started, I was a single mom trying to teach two special-needs children with two very different abilities by myself. Trying to juggle work, teaching, and taking both my boys to their different therapies alone was defeating. But I knew they could not reach their full potential with just my help.

I started looking into alternative education opportunities for my non-verbal son Eli as he was about to transition to kindergarten. I found the Lighthouse and knew it was the best place for him. He may not learn and understand the same things as other children his age, but I didn’t want him isolated. I wanted him to be in an environment where he could learn to his ability but be around other children who would love and accept him.

I worked extra hours on the weekends while my sons visited their dad in order to pay tuition. I told myself I would work as many hours as I could for Eli to stay, but ultimately I knew I could not do it for his entire educational experience.

Getting the Succeed Scholarship, and now the LEARNS educational freedom account, was a weight lifted off my shoulders and such a blessing! Like any parent, I want my child in a place where he will benefit the most. I want him to be safe, understood, and loved. The EFA program allows that to happen where he is. It allows him to be exactly where he needs to be.



Blind to Trump ills

Give me a break! That’s my response to Mike Huckabee’s letter to the editor in the Sept. 24 paper. He is obviously Trump-blind.

He accused the Biden “regime” of using the justice system to abuse the U.S. Constitution but, of course, makes no mention of Trump and crew ignoring the Constitution and his whole Jan. 6 mess, where people died and were injured in his attempt to unlawfully stay in power.


North Little Rock

A dangerous passage

The recent addition of automated speed ticketing cameras in the Interstate 30 construction area from Benton to the 70 East exit is simply adding insult to injury. Anyone fool enough to look down at their speedometer even for a split second risks catastrophe, especially at night.

The section aptly called “The Walls” by police is congested, at times insanely skinny; being surrounded by 18-wheelers on that stretch is a true joy. Some truckers can’t stay in their lane (it can be that tight) and cars shoved into the walls are the result. Nothing like having the side of your car dragged against a concrete barrier for a few hundred feet to make your day complete. Local residents unlucky enough to have to pass through this construction daily have put up with broken windshields (three in my family alone), flat tires, broken wheels, chipped paint, mega potholes, totaled vehicles and more.

Add at night the reflectors on the sides of the walls are all gone, there is no light, it’s as dark as a black cat at midnight, there are odd little shifts in the lanes for no apparent reason; it’s just the way it is laid out. Like a guy who really hates cars planned it. Just look at the hundreds of skid marks on the walls, each the result of some poor soul grinding along the barrier. And in the rain? Ha! Say your prayers. Add the daily traffic jams, often incredibly long with traffic backed up all the way to Bryant.

I hear the state is fining the company involved for being over the contract date. If so, I think the authorities are double-dipping; sure, fine the folks coming through at 35 mph over the limit, but leave the locals alone. They have paid far, far too much already.



He was a great man

I read Wally Hall every day and have done so for years. I’ll continue reading Wally every day for the rest of my life. Some days Wally is good. Some days Wally is great. Some days (very few) Wally’s subject is not very interesting to me, but that’s not his fault.

And some days Wally is more than great, more than awesome and some days Wally is totally outstanding and right on with his column like he was Sept. 28 in his column “There’s no questioning Robinson’s greatness.” For someone that met Brooks Robinson in the summer of 1973 and ate dinner at his restaurant in Baltimore, Wally’s column brought tears to my eyes while reading his totally outstanding words about how great Brooks Robinson was. RIP, Brooks.


North Little Rock

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