Hector Elementary Students Raise $1,500 for Autism Work at UAMS

By David Robinson

A check was presented to UAMS’ Melanie Taylor, administrative director of the Dennis Developmental Center, during the Hector school’s recent Autism Awareness Mega Party to celebrate the students’ efforts. April is National Autism Awareness Month. The students raised money from the community and even donated large sums of their own money.

This year’s fundraiser was the school’s third on behalf of autism, bringing the total raised to $4,400. The UAMS Dennis Developmental Center in Little Rock is a regional referral center for children with developmental disorders.

“I am touched by the generosity of spirit and compassion shown by the students at Hector Elementary,” said Melanie Taylor, administrative director of the DDC.  “This is about kids helping kids. It is also a testament to the positive influence of parents and teachers who have instilled these important values in these children.”
n its first fundraiser in 2007, the students raised $700 by collecting pennies for the UAMS autism program. Sandi Lyons and Christie Proctor, parents of students at Hector Elementary, are the driving force behind the annual fundraiser.

Hector Elementary Principal Kathy Freeman said the autism project was chosen because one of the school’s students has autism, which has made the school more aware of the needs of Arkansas’ children with autism.
A UAMS study found that 1 in 145 Arkansas children has autism, the fourth highest rate among14 states participating in a study by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com.