Dennis Developmental Center (DDC)
The James L. Dennis Developmental Center (DDC) specializes in the assessment of developmental conditions that result in delayed milestones, communication impairments, inattention and/or hyperactivity, atypical social interactions, and other developmental concerns. The DDC coordinates the expertise of multidisciplinary teams, including developmental behavioral pediatricians and nurse practitioners, pediatric psychologists, psychological examiners, speech-language pathologists, social workers, and family navigators, in order to provide individualized, evidence-based assessment and interventions. More information can be found here: https://uamshealth.com/location/dennis-development-center/ and here: https://www.archildrens.org/programs-and-services/dennis-developmental-center?&journey=symptoms
Community-based Autism Liaison and Treatment Program (CoBALT)
What is the CoBALT (Community-Based Autism Liaison and Treatment) Project?
CoBALT’s mission is “the right child to the right services at the right time and right place.”
The James L. Dennis Developmental Center (DDC) is the primary center to conduct developmental diagnostic evaluations on children in the state of Arkansas. Therefore, many families may face long waiting times to be seen at the DDC. This waiting period can cause a child to lose valuable time in getting access to treatment. Additionally, slow referrals and lack of information on how to access therapies and waiver programs can contribute to a family’s frustration.
To help with this problem, CoBALT was created.
CoBALT is a joint venture between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pediatrics and the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities Children with Special Health Care Needs (Title V CSHCN).
In this program, DDC clinicians conduct annual trainings for “mini-teams” who learn to do Tier 2 assessments for developmental delays and Autism Spectrum Disorder concerns. As their skills mature, clinically experienced CoBALT teams can receive additional training and have the capability to diagnose autism. However, the primary goal of the CoBALT teams is to diagnose developmental disorders that are NOT autism and to help families find appropriate services in their local community. When a CoBALT teams suspects an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis, the child is referred on a “fast track” to the Dennis Developmental Center for a full autism team evaluation. CoBALT teams therefore assist families obtain quicker access to local resources, or specialized developmental evaluations which results in a timely and appropriate diagnosis, and quicker referral for therapy services.
Who is on a CoBALT mini-team?
CoBALT teams are comprised of:
1) medical professionals (Physician or Advanced Nurse Practitioner) who are seasoned in assessing young children with developmental delays, has an interest in expanding diagnostic skills and being a knowledgeable provider of Early Intervention/Early Childhood referrals and family support.
2) another professional that has knowledge of child development, who can complete diagnostic testing (Speech Pathologist, Psychologist, or Behavioral Specialist).
CoBALT teams also work in close partnership with Early Intervention, Early Childhood and Title V services in their area to make referrals and help families access therapies and care coordination services.
In their respective local areas, CoBALT teams assess children ages 12-42 months, who present with developmental delays and ASD concerns.
Who is in charge of the CoBALT Project?
The Cobalt leadership team is based at the UAMS Dennis Developmental Center (DDC) . This team keeps track of quality improvement data , supports and provides further training for existing teams, and also trains additional parties that are interested in becoming a CoBALT team.
The team is comprised of :
Director: Jayne Bellando, Ph.D.
Co-director: Jaimie Flor, M.D.
Specialty nurse/Triage nurse: Ebony Greer RN
Coordinator/Logistic Support: Stefanie Jernigan
CoBALT representative: Sheryl Davide-Ureta, M.D. (ACH CoBALT team)
Who are the current CoBALT teams?
We envision a hub model, with trained regional providers linked to CoBALT leadership at UAMS DDC for training, support, continuing education, and clinical consultation.
These regional teams are:
Sheryl Davide-Ureta, M.D.;
Laura Clark, APRN;
Aubrey Berber APRN
ACH General Pediatrics
1 Children’s Way
Little Rock, Ark. 72202
Curt Patton, M.D.
East Ar. Children’s Clinic
901 Holiday Drive
Forrest City, Ark. 72335
Ron Beckel, M.D.
Kelley Dotson, APRN
Mountain View Clinic
1102 Crestwood Circle
Mena, Ark. 71953
Rogers (currently inactive)
Barry Allen, M.D.
Community Clinic of Northwest Arkansas
1233 W. Popular St.
Rogers, Ark. 72756
Mandi Williams, APRN
Center for Psychiatric Wellness
7217 Cameron Park Dr.
Fort Smith, Ar. 72903
Vern Ann Shotts, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Clinic
1204 W. Kings highway
Paragould, Ark. 72450
Ayesha Shah, M.D.
200 Pine St.
Marion, Ark. 72367
Needing additional resources?
CoBALT is committed to promoting awareness and providing educational opportunities regarding ASD. With this in mind, CoBALT has a didactic series program on Autism, with the Connecting Across Professions (CAP) tele-education series through UAMS Learning on Demand. The lecture series is entitled: Autism Spectrum Disorder: Moving the Needle to Help Children and Families in Arkansas. To register for Learn on Demand and series notifications, visit www.learnondemand.org
For More Information:
To learn more about CoBALT and see our information about providers and families, visit www.cobaltar.org.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the CoBALT family, please contact:
Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)
The Arkansas LEND program is a unique interdisciplinary training program for future leaders in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities. LEND is organized through UAMS and is a unique collaboration among the UAMS Department of Pediatrics, the Association of University Centers of Disabilities (AUCD), University Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and the state’s Title V organization. The Arkansas LEND program is part of a national network of similar collaborative programs and funded through the national Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration. The national LEND network recognizes that 15-18% of children have developmental and behavioral problems, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. The reported prevalence of ASD continues to be on the rise nationally and, specific to Arkansas, current estimates are that out of every 66 children in the state have ASD. The Arkansas LEND program recognizes too few health professionals have the necessary skills to diagnose and intervene with neurodevelopmental disabilities. LEND is comprised of a wide range of faculty and experts for the primary purpose of improving the health of infants, children and adolescents with disabilities through training and education. LEND programs accomplish this by preparing trainees from diverse professional disciplines to assume leadership roles in their respective fields and by ensuring high levels of interdisciplinary clinical competence. More information about our Arkansas LEND program can be found at: xxxxxx (and add here the page the LEND student is going to be updating).
Eldon Schulz Service Awards
Dr. Schulz received his medical degree at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in 1980. He completed his pediatrics residency at the University of California, San Diego and continued his training with a developmental/ambulatory pediatric fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. For the next six years Dr. Schulz practiced as a civil servant for the U.S. military in the Exceptional Family Member Program in Heidelberg, Germany.
Dr. Schulz joined our faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics in 1991 and received an additional appointment in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation three years later. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1996 and to Professor in 2005.
Dr. Schulz served as Medical Director of Rehabilitation Services at Arkansas Children’s Hospital since 2001. He was Section Chief for Developmental-Behavioral and Rehabilitative Pediatrics for the majority of his UAMS career, and previously served as Medical Director of the Dennis Developmental Center, in 1992-1999 and 2011-2012. In 2008 Dr. Schulz was invested as the inaugural recipient of the Rockefeller Endowed Chair for Children with Special Needs at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. He led grant-funded initiatives that improve the lives of children, including the Arkansas Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) training program and the Community-Based Autism Liaison and Treatment (CoBALT) project. Dr. Schulz served our state in innumerable other ways, including many years as Medical Director for the Arkansas Division of Developmental Services, Medical Director of the Arkansas Title V Program for Children with Special Health Care Needs, and Medical Director for the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center.
We lost Eldon in June 2018, but his legacy will forever be respected and cherished in our Section. His passions for interdisciplinary care and community advocacy continue to inform and inspire the work we do. The LEND program within our Section established the Eldon Schulz Service Awards to recognize current and future leaders in our state dedicated to providing outstanding service, and advocating for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Eldon Schulz Award Winners
Faculty Award Winners
- 2020 — Elizabeth Cleveland, ABD, CCC-SLP
- 2019 — David Deere, MSW, MTh
Trainee Award Winners
- 2020 — Chayla Slaton, M.S.
- 2019 — Andrew Cope, MHA