Exceptional Times
January 2015

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

Happy New Year!
by:  Mary Jacob, Executive Director

This is the time of year we sit back and count our blessings and make our new years resolutions that we hope to keep for more than 5 days.  

Yep, January 8th will roll around and we will have already forgotten about those resolutions.  Seventy-five percent of resolutions don't survive long enough to see week 2 and only 8% report they succeed.  After all, Mardi Gras is right around the corner and every device that makes us happy are the very ones we pledged to give up as one of our resolutions.  By Kings Day we will be desperately seeking out our favorite king cake, preparing for our Superbowl parties, and enjoying Mardi Gras parades and festivities and all the treats that come along with these events.  

I'd like to challenge us to something a little different in 2015.  Below are my top resolutions for 2015.  Please pick one or two out for yourself and together, let's be part of the 8% that make it through the whole year.  

1. Tolerance - To practice more tolerance of people not like myself.  
2. Acceptance - To accept people for who they are and not try to change them.
3. Educate - To continue to learn new ways to improve lives for ALL. 
4. Purpose - Find our true purpose in life and make it happen.
5. Volunteer - Give your time to an organization or someone in need.
6. Enjoy Life - Stop and smell the roses - really.  Slow down and enjoy life's simple pleasures. If you resolve to any of the first 5 items - you will enjoy life more.

Together we can make a difference!  I hope your 2015 is fabulous!      

I hope you enjoy the January newsletter and the following articles.

Free New Orleans Pelican Tickets for 
TONIGHT'S game!  First come, first serve.  
Call now to get your tickets!

Learning Opportunities provided by FHF
Educating and Training

FHF has a lot of opportunities to learn for the month of January. 

Parents as first advocates can learn to participate in the development of the IEP as an effective team member. We will cover The Essential Components of an IEP. We start by teaching you about Parent Notice and how to prepare for the meeting. Each part of this series will be offered as a morning session or night session.  In the first of our series, What Should Happen BEFORE the IEP Meeting?, you will learn the importance of getting written notice in advance and what to do once you have it. Click here for the morning session, Click here for the night session. Next  in, What every parent should know about General Student Information, we will discuss how the GSI page of Louisiana's IEP document is broken into two different pages. You will learn how to include your information about your child so services will be built on that information and included in the Parental concerns block of GSI. Click here for morning session. Click here for night session. In the third part of this series, General Student Information: Consideration of Special Factors, we will discuss and highlight the importance of the five special factors that the IEP team must consider in the development, review, and revision of each child's IEP. Click here for morning session. Click here for night session. In  the final part of this series  Developing IEP Goals, we will be discussing the instructional Plan Block of the IEP Document. Learn to increase your comfort level so you will be confident in developing IEP goals and suggesting how they will be measured. Click here for morning session. Click here for night session. We will also offer these webinars, A Crash Course in Unaccompanied Minors: What you need to know, this webinar is designed to provide an overview of the current humanitarian crisis, history of the unaccompanied children's program, services provided while in government care, reunification, legal and social service for released children. A Job in the Community: Selecting quality service providers, will provide an overview of the legislated services and supports for individuals with disabilities. In Explore the various pathways to a Louisiana High School Diploma, we will discuss alternative pathways for certain students with disabilities to be able to be promoted to the next grade level. Join us in, Best Practices for Social and Communication IEP Goals for Students with ASD where we will review best practices surrounding assessing, creating, and monitoring social interaction and communication IEP goals. Collaborative strategies and relevant resources will also be shared. In this session of "Ask Karen," she will provide an update on advocacy initiatives she is involved in and discuss basics of managed care. 

FHF will be offering a workshop on Self Direction for the Children's Choice & New Opportunities Waivers on January 27th.  Click here to register.

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.  
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.  

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]

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] 

Run Walk & Roll Against Bullying

Saturday, September 26, 2015 is the date for the 1st Annual Run Walk & Roll Against Bullying Event.

Did you know that individuals with disabilities are bullied   3 - 4 times more frequently than those without disabilities? It's time to bring awareness to this problem and do what we can to end bullying. 

We are currently seeking members to serve on our planning committee.  This committee will meet once a month until August and then more frequently until Race Day.  Additional information will be coming in the coming months.  Save the date now and be ready to Run Walk & Roll Against Bullying.  

If you have any questions or interested in being on the planning committee, please contact Mary Jacob at 504.888.9111 or [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. 

Have you ever felt like a hamster running around on a wheel and never getting anywhere?  Read this great letter how FHF helped this mom end the run around and get the services she needed for her daughter.


Click here to read her letter.  

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 December 19, 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 -  11/30/2005

Supports Waiver - 11/3/2012

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:

SPDG Day for Pre-Service Teachers on January 22, 2015

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.
  • 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
  • Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council - Open Meeting Notice For more information, click here!
  • The LA DD Council is currently recruiting applicants from Regions I and X (Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes) for an immediate vacancy.  The deadline for applications in order to be considered for this position is January 5, 2015.   Applicants must be an individual with a developmental disability.  For more information, please click here!



 Families Helping Families wishes everyone a Happy New Year!  We will be closed the following days in January:
January 1 - 2, 2015 - New Year's Holiday
January 19, 2015 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

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, 

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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.