Exceptional Times
December 2014

  Exceptional Times is a monthly electronic newsletter produced by Families Helping Families and Louisiana Parent Training & 
Information Center

You Are Your Child's Best Advocate!
by:  Mary Jacob, Executive Director

We tell parents daily, "You are your child's best advocate", but sometimes we feel parents just don't get it. Nobody knows your child better than you and no one will ever care about your child more than you. This is why you will always be your child's best advocate.  

Becoming an advocate doesn't mean you need a fancy degree, it simply means you care about your child's best interests and will be there to make sure these interests are never jeopardized by others that may put their own interests first.  

We also tell parents as an advocate, you need to empower yourself with knowledge so you can be an effective advocate. Families Helping Families is here to help empower you with knowledge. No matter the age of your child, it's important to understand the services that are available to them.  If your child is in school, you need to know everything you can about education laws.  If your child is no longer a child, it's important to understand adult services.  FHF provides endless trainings on many different topics that will help arm you with knowledge.  We encourage you to attend or participate in these opportunities as often as you can to keep up with the latest information on specific topics.

Here are a few tips on how to be an effective advocate for your child:

Practice telling your story - concentrate on your child's strengths, not weaknesses. The more you tell your story, the more comfortable you get with telling it to the professionals that provide services to your child.

Ask lots of questions when in doubt.  Don't ever be afraid to ask questions.  If the system you are advocating in starts using professional jargon or acronyms you are not familiar with, ask them to talk in parent language.

Don't be afraid to talk about your concerns or fears.  If you keep them inside, you will never be at peace. 

Always dream with your child.  Don't let the disability determine your child's lifetime outcomes.  Every day we hear about someone with a disability doing an extraordinary thing.  When you give up on the dream, so does everyone else.  

Don't ever forget - you are your child's best advocate!  Below are some great articles that will get you on your way to becoming an effective advocate.


Learning Opportunities provided by FHF
Educating and Training

FHF has a lot of opportunities to learn for the month of December. Keeping Good Records Helps Special Education Stay on Track will help you organize all important documents used for special education planning and to keep track of your child's educational progress; We offer, Where are we with Act 833? on  December 5th or December 11th, which will cover what is Act 833 of 2014 and discuss alternative pathways for certain students with disabilities to be able to be promoted to the next grade level; In this session of "Ask Karen" we will present an update with information from the December System Transformation Workgroup meeting and the MLTSS Advisory Group meeting concerning services for individuals with developmental disabilities in Lousiana and implementation of managed care for those services. 

View our full calendar of events here.  



Learning Opportunities Provided by Others
Education and Training

FHF thinks it is important for individuals to be armed with enough information to either assist or make decisions around disability issues that impact your life or that of a family member.  Therefore, we are happy to share the following training opportunities others are doing around the state.  Please note we do not handle registration for these opportunities.  

Brackin & Associates is excited to offer a webinar series designed to provide Direct Support Professionals (DSP) with the knowledge and skills required to support persons with disabilities to lead self-determined lives. 
The Role of the DSP - December 3, 2014  
Supporting Individuals to Make Choices - December 10, 2014
Achieving Cultural Competence - December 17, 2014 
To receive information on these webinars email: [email protected]

National Center on Deaf-Blindness - December 3, 2014
Learning Links
Education and Training

If you've ever done an internet search on a topic, you know first-hand how difficult it is to sort through the thousands of links that come up with the search.  Below is a list of some of our favorite links for the month that others have shared with us. We hope you find them as informative as we did.  

Jefferson Parish Resource Fair 
for Individuals with Disabilities

Saturday, March 28, 2015 is the date for the 3rd Annual Jefferson Parish Resource Fair for Individuals with Disabilities.  The Fair will, once again, be held at Clearview Mall in Metairie.  Last year over 70 agencies participated and shared information on the services they provided to individuals with disabilities and their families.

If you'd like your agency to participate, please click here to fill out a registration form.  

A 6 foot table and 2 folding chairs are provided free of charge.  Very limited electricity is available and only available on a first come basis.  

If you have any questions, please contact Bebe Bode at 504.888.9111 or [email protected] 

Legislative Round Table

The Annual LaCAN and LaTEACH Legislative Round Table will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church - Fellowship Hall, 5290 Canal Boulevard, New Orleans, LA  70124.

After the devastating vote for Constitutional Amendment 1, it's more important than ever to become a vocal advocate for yourself or your loved one with a disability. How do you become a vocal advocate?  Meet with your elected officials and let them know the support you need for yourself or your loved ones.  Get involved with advocacy groups like LaCAN and LaTEACH.  It's Time!  Get Involved!  

If you have any questions, please contact Rickii Ainey, LaCAN Leader for Region 1 and 10 at 504.943.0343 or email [email protected]

Lending Library

Families Helping Families has an extensive lending library. Books, dvds and more are here, free of charge for families and professionals to check out.  You are welcome to come and browse our library during our office hours, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm.  If you cannot make it into our office, you can see a complete list of our inventory and an item can be mailed to you.  Just click here  to see a complete list of items in our lending library.   

Changing Lives. Every Day.
Success Story of the month.

Every day we hear wonderful things about the work we 
do for individuals in the community. One of the things 
that keep us going daily are the success stories we hear. 

What does autism + bullying - inclusion = My son's life.  


Read this touching story about how FHF was able to bring peace into this families life after what seemed like insurmountable obstacles. 


Click here to read this touching story.  

Developmental Disabilities Services Directory



The Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities provides supports and services through a variety of locations throughout the state to support the dignity, quality of life and security in the everyday lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families, acting as the Single Point of Entry.


OCDD Central Office

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities
628 North 4th Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802


PO Box 3117, Bin #21
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3117


Phone: 1.225.342.0095
Toll-Free: 1.866.783.5553
Fax: 1.225.342.8823

Waiver Registry Dates

As of November 25, 2014 the following dates have been reached on the waiver registry, a.k.a the waiting list.  

New Opportunities Waiver (NOW) -  8/18/2004

Children's Choice Waiver -  7/5/2005

Supports Waiver - 2/29/2012

Not sure where you are on the registry?  Call 1.800.364.7828.

We can't exist without your help
Supporting All Disabilities

FHF is a 501 (c) 3 not for profit organization.  In addition to our grants and contracts we depend on the generosity of individuals like you.  All donations are tax deductible.  In addition to cash donations, there are many other ways you can show your support for people with disabilities. Click here to learn more about how you can help FHF.

Financial Assistance to Attend Training

FHF has limited funds to offer stipends to individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members to attend and/or participate in conferences and training events to enhance their knowledge of community-based supports and resources for persons with developmental disabilities.  If you live in Jefferson Parish and want to request a stipend, please click here for a stipend application.  If you live in other parishes, please contact the FHF office in your region.  

OTHER places to find us:
Visit the Families Helping Families Booth at the following events:

Amerigroup Welcomes Healthy Start to Jefferson Parish
Parish Wide Community Partners Baby Shower on the following dates:

December 4, 2014, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
La Maison Creole
1605 8th Street
Harvey, La. 
Brunch Provided

December 10, 2014, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Clearview Mall
4436 Veterans Blvd.
Metairie, La. 
Refreshments Provided

A Little Lagniappe:
A little of this and a little of that - more stuff that might interest you.  
  • Kay Marcel, Longtime Advocate for Louisiana's citizens with developmental disabilities moving out of Louisiana.  Click here to read Louisiana Development Disability Council article.  
  • FREE Diapers - FHF diaper stock has grown over the past few months.  If you need diapers please give us a call.  This is what we currently have in stock:
Tena - S/P 22" - 36" waist - Unisex
Sleepover cuties - XLarge 85 - 140 lbs. - Unisex
Simply Right Underwear for Women - S/M - 40" waist
Nightingales Extra Adult Briefs - Large - 45" - 58" waist - Unisex
Depend Briefs - S/M 19" - 24" waist - Unisex
Underwear for Men or Woman - S/M 115 - 170 lbs - Unisex
Certainty Briefs - Large 45" - 58" waist - Unisex
Simply Right Underwear Briefs - Large 45" - 58" waist - Unisex
  • Jefferson Parish Regional Advisory Committee for Developmental Disabilities has a vacancy for a parent of a child with a developmental disability or an individual with a developmental disability.  If you are interested in learning more about the Jefferson Parish RAC, please call Mary Jacob at 504.888.9111 or email at [email protected]
  •  APPLY TO BE A WHITE HOUSE FELLOW!  The 2015-2016 White House Fellows application officially launched online on November 1, 2014! Open season is from November 1, 2014 to January 15, 2015. The program's mission is to expose Fellows to first-hand, high-level experience in the Federal government. The program consists of a full-time work placement in the offices of Cabinet Secretaries, senior White House staff, and other high-ranking Administration officials. During a year in Washington, DC, Fellows also participate in a robust education program designed to provide a behind-the-scenes look into the inner workings of the Federal government. It is an extraordinary year that yields a lifetime of rewards. Learn more about the White House Fellows program here

The Board and Staff of Families Helping Families
wish you Happy Holidays!
We will be closed from
December 22, 2014 to January 2, 2015

Laura, Shanida & Bebe at InclusionMATTERS 2014!

Our Team

Click here for a list of Staff or Board Members.

The Mission of Families Helping Families is to educate and connect children and adults with disabilities and their families to resources, services & supports to attend school, work and thrive in their communities.
Two Groups You Want to JOIN!
Louisiana Citizens for Action Now

LaCAN is a statewide grassroots network of individuals, families and advocates who have worked together since 1988 advocating for a service system that supports individuals with disabilities to live in their own homes rather than having to be segregated from their communities in a facility to receive support.  Specifically, they have advocated for implementation of Louisiana's Community and Family Support System Plan.  To join or learn more about LaCAN,   

Louisiana Together Educating All Children

LaTEACH (Louisiana Together Educating ALL Children) is a statewide grassroots advocacy network created for the purpose of effecting systems change.  LaTEACH promotes appropriate, inclusive education for all students. LaTEACH works to make parents, educators, the general public, and state leadership informed and supportive of research-based and effective practices used appropriately for each student.  To join or learn more about LaTEACH, 

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter     

Families Helping Families
800.766.7736 (toll free)
[email protected]

The Mission of Families Helping Families is to educate and connect children and adults with disabilities and their families to resources, services & supports to attend school, work and thrive in their communities.

Give us a call today!
Changing Lives.  Every Day.