Wal-Mart Store Manager recognizes SE Client

Shown in photo: Ted Parks, Wal-Mart Store Manger (left) and Terrence Dickerson, SE Client (right)

     Terrence Dickerson, SE client, was recently recognized by Wal-Mart Store Manager, Ted Parks, and associates for his outstanding integrity and customer service. Local customer, Christy Neubert, recently praised Terrence for his integrity in a Facebook post that went viral – over 115K Likes, 15.5K Comments, and 46.1K Shares! Mr. Parks shared with his associates that recently a school teacher here on vacation from Texas came into the store asking to meet Terrence.

    First Step, Inc. Supported Employment Coordinator, Joanne Mitchell, commented, “From the first, we recognized Terrence as a genuine and congenial person. Possessing an excellent work ethic, he has proven himself to be a dependable, honest, and valuable employee of Wal-Mart!” 

Congratulations Terrence!


First Step Staff Participates in Homeless Count

POINT IN TIME Homeless Count 

First Step’s social worker, Holly Sadowski (center), participated in the POINT IN TIME Homeless Count conducted on 1/24/2017. The purpose of this count is “to provide the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with accurate numbers of homeless citizens for the purpose of distributing Federal dollars for homeless programs to areas where it is needed most.” Holly along with many other volunteers went out to the homeless camps in Hot Springs and surrounding areas, where they not only gathered data but also distributed baskets carrying hygiene and food items.
Adult Development Annual Christmas Bazaar


Hot Springs Adults – Archwood

2016 Craft Bazaar

Thursday, December 15, 2016

       101 Archwood St. – Adult Development     

       9:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

         Cards for Sale! Ornaments for Sale! Goodies for Sale!*  

adult-xmas-pictre              *All items are handmade by the adults! Limited Quantities!


Hope to see you there!!


Breakfast with Santa

breakfast-with-santaFirst Step Annual ‘Breakfast with Santa’ 

December 15, 2016

in the First Step Doyle-Shirley gym

7:30 am -9:00 am

Breakfast will consist of biscuit, gravy, sausage, fruit, and milk.

The cost for breakfast will be $3.00 per person, except for consumers that are currently enrolled in First Step.

Money for breakfast will be collected at the entrance. Cash only. No Refunds and No Checks will be accepted.

Santa will be available for pictures.

Cost per 5×7 photo is $5.00. Photo money envelopes must be presented to the photographer when photo is taken.

Note: Students not accompanied by a parent will eat in their classrooms at regularly scheduled times. Santa will visit all the classrooms at a later date.

Malvern Location pays off their note


Mortgage and debt free at the First Step RL Petty Center!!!! This is an incredible group of people that got it all started years ago! Thank you to the Volunteer Council and the community of Malvern for making this possible over the many years!!!!

Have YOU Remembered First Step in Your Estate Plans?

A Planned Gift is a term that applies to several types of gifts that are arranged now and benefits First Step later. When making our estate plans, we all want to provide for our families. By arranging a planned gift now, you may be able to create more opportunities for your family and give to First Step in the process.

Planned giving can reduce taxes on your income and estate, resulting in a larger gift. Many planned gifts bring additional advantages, such as steady, secure income for you. Planned gifts can include cash, securities, retirement plan assets, real estate or life insurance proceeds, and more. The following are examples of a planned gift:

  • Bequests
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Tax-free IRA Transfers
  • Gifts of Real Estate
  • Gifts of Securities
  • Gifts of Life Insurance
  • Charitable Lead Trusts

The First Step Development staff will meet with you to discuss your planned gift. Whether your interest is in providing therapy programs for children, art programs for adults, or preparing a child to enter the world of education, our staff will work with you to insure that your gift will be applied to your area of interest. Planned gifts to First Step can support one or all of our programs and services.

Consult with your attorney and tax adviser to determine how various options might affect your personal tax and estate-planning objectives. If you’ve already included First Step in your estate plan, contact us to ensure that your gift is properly recognized and that your intentions are carried out.

Learn More

To learn more or to setup planned giving, contact Nancy Baxter, Director of Development, at (501) 620-6615.


Helpful Resources

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Between 7 and 12 Million American youth suffer from mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders at any given time. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is the leading national professional medical association dedicated to treating and improving the quality of life for children, adolescents, and families affected by these disorders.

Arkansas Department of Education
Creating a Smart Arkansas is what the Arkansas Department of Education is all about. How do we do this? By supporting students, teachers and school administrators through top-notch curriculum development and ongoing, research-based learning opportunities for educators, the state has already witnessed unprecedented gains in educational attainment of students.

Arkansas Department of Human Services
Engaging in statewide planning that ensures optimal and innovative growth of the Arkansas service system to meet the needs of persons with developmental disabilities and to assist such persons to achieve independence, productivity, and integration into the community.

Arkansas Disability Coalition
In conjunction with Arkansas Support Network in Bentonville, the Arkansas Disability Coalition works with parents who have children ages 0-26 with special education needs. Staff members across the state teach parents about their rights under IDEA how to develop and monitor effective educational plans for their children. The project helps parents network and organize support groups in their communities.

Arkansas Medicaid
A collection of tools for individuals and organizations that provide health care services to Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries.

Arkansas State Resources Information
The offices listed on NICHCY state sheets are primarily state-level offices. Even if an office is not close to your home, they can usually put you in touch with resources in your community, as well as provide you with information and assistance about disability issues in your state.

Autism Society of America
The Autism Society is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization which exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. Click here to find A Guide to Keeping Your Autistic Kids Safe.

About Cerebral Palsy
The mission at CerebralPalsy.org is to provide you with the most comprehensive resource and compassionate voice for all things related to caring for a child with Cerebral Palsy, Erb’s Palsy, and other neurological injuries. Go to Cerebral Palsy Guide for additional information.

College Resources for Students with Disabilities
Prospective college students with disabilities will find that many campuses are equipped with offices and services that address accessibility, accommodation, and assistive technology for a diverse range of needs.

Information on Failure to Thrive
Most babies double their birth weight by 4 months and triple it by age one.  But kids with failure to thrive often don’t meet those milestones. Sometimes, a child who starts out “plump” and who shows signs of growing well can begin to fall off in weight gain. After a while, linear (height) growth may slow as well.

National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is dedicated to eliminating birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy and to improving the quality of life for those affected individuals and families.

National Down Syndrome Society
The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.  The National Down Syndrome Society envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities.

National Park Medical Center – Hot Springs
As a 166-bed full-service hospital, NPMC provides a comprehensive range of medical services and high quality care. We are a forward thinking, innovative hospital where trust, teamwork and technology come together to make a positive difference in the health of our community and region. Our Joint Commission accreditation powerfully demonstrates our commitment to meet the highest national standards for quality and safety.

The Spina Bifida Association
The Spina Bifida Association (SBA) serves adults and children who live with the challenges of Spina Bifida.  Since 1973, SBA has been the only national voluntary health agency solely dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with Spina Bifida and those whose lives are touched by this challenging birth defect.  Its tools are education, advocacy, research, and service.

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center – Hot Springs
Since 1888, St. Joseph’s Mercy Health System has served the healthcare needs of Hot Springs, Arkansas and surrounding communities.

Dawson Education Services Cooperative
Dawson Education’s mission is to provide service to member districts beyond that which they could provide for themselves.  Efforts are focused on promoting a cooperative attitude among member districts so as to address their identified needs.  These cooperative efforts facilitate an efficient and economical delivery of services and directly impact the education opportunities available to the students of participating districts.

American Association on Mental Retardation
Also known as the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,  AAIDD promotes progressive policies, sound research, effective practices and universal human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Administration on Developmental Disabilities
The Administration on Developmental Disabilities ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to culturally competent services, supports, and other assistance and opportunities that promotes independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion into the community.

Developmental Treatment Services for Young Children

Developmental Treatment Services at First Step

Whether it’s developmental delays or any of a number of other developmental concerns, the Developmental Treatment Services program at First Step helps families find the right answers for their children. Upon referral from your child’s physician, our staff can evaluate your child’s skills and strengths to help determine the best path for his or her future.

The First Step Developmental Treatment Services for Children focuses on getting your preschooler ready for school. We teach your child basic skills and offer the special attention essential for paving the way to a successful venture into the public school setting.

Upon the referral of your child’s physician, our staff will evaluate your child’s skills and strengths, identify goals and needs, and then chart a fun and exciting course toward success.

We use creative strategies and professional expertise to work alongside each child, encouraging him or her to develop a sense of pride and accomplishment—something that sometimes can be difficult for children with developmental delays to reach on their own.

At First Step, there are no failures or disappointments. It’s just your child, working hard to become his or her best.

[box type=”arrow” top=”” bottom=””]For more information, contact the First Step location closest to where you live or our main office in Hot Springs at (501) 624.6468.[/box]
Help for Our Kids

Are you aware that service such as the day programs, residential programs, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, early intervention, and home and community based waiver services for Arkansans with Developmental Disabilities are in danger of being cut in the federal budget fight?  Congress is considering large cuts to Medicaid which funds these services.

70,277 full-time jobs in Arkansas are attributable to the Medicaid program, which is equal to 6% of all employment in the state.

Medicaid provides health insurance to 26 percent of Arkansans (750,000 people) with an annual budget of $3.14 billion.

Medicaid is a vital safety net for 120,200 children and adults with disabilities, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, and autism.

Medicaid is an important economic driver in Arkansas – approximately $5.9 billion is generated as a result of direct Medicaid (state and federal) spending of $3.7 billion in Arkansas.

Every federal Medicaid dollar that flows into a state stimulates business activity and generates jobs.  In Arkansas, every federal dollar spent on Medicaid has an economic impact of $6.31.

So, the loss of the “economic multiplier effect” that states would experience as a direct result of federal Medicaid cuts would be large and much greater than the amount of the dollar cuts themselves.

For every 5% (12% is being proposed) that is cut from the Medicaid budget, it means about $242 million in lost economic activity for Arkansas and a loss of 2,400 jobs.

Please send an email or make a call to the President (White House), our Senators, and our Congressmen. At this minute, negotiations in Washington are threatening 46 years of success and positive change in the lives of Individuals with Disabilities – and their families!  We have provided the contact information below for you convenience.  Tell your elected officials to lobby The White House and Congress for protection for our intellectually disabled!  Community Services for these individuals are the least expensive systems and morally the right thing to do.

Ask for their help in supporting the most vulnerable members in our society.  Explain that community funded Medicaid stops costly institutionalization, puts consumers with disabilities and their families into jobs, and protects community in each town in America.

We are counting on each of you.  Send a link to this page to your friends and family.  Put it on your Face Book page.  Washington MUST hear your voice!!!


Pam Bland, Executive Director
First Step, Inc.



President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500


U.S. Senator John Boozman
320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone:  (202) 224-4843


U.S. Senator Mark Pryor
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510
Phone: (202) 224-2353


U.S. Representative Rick Crawford – 1st District, North Central & Northeast Arkansas
1408 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC  20515
Phone:  (202) 225-4076 Fax:  (202) 225-5602
(Counties:  Baxter, Fulton, Sharp, Randolph, Clay, Izard, Lawrence, Greene, Searcy, Stone, Francis, Lee, Phillips, Monroe, Arkansas, Prairie, Crittenden, and Lonoke)


U.S. Representative Tim Griffin – 2nd District, Central Arkanas
1232 Longworh HOB
Washington DC  20515
Phone:  (202) 225-2506 Fax: (202) 225-5903
(Counties:  Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pulaski, Saline, Van Buren, White, and Yell)


U.S. Representative Steve Womack – 3rd District, NW Arkansas
1508 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone:  (202) 225-4301 Fax:  (202) 225-5713
(Counties:  Benton, Boone, Carroll, Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Pope, Sebastian, Washington, and Newton)


U.S. Representative Tom Cotton – 4th District, South Arkansas
415 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC  20515
Phone:  (202) 225-3772
(Counties:  Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleveland, Chicot, Columbia, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Garland, Grant, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Little River, Logan, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Polk, Scott, Sevier, Union)