Exceptional Times
March 2015

  Exceptional Times is a monthly electronic newsletter produced by Families Helping Families of Jefferson and Louisiana Parent Training & 
Information Center, a project of FHF of Jefferson.
Cracking the Behavior Code

by:  Mary Jacob, Executive Director

Behavioral problems have long been an issue schools and families struggle to resolve.  No one, no family, or school is immune.  Some would argue that they are worse than ever.  The truth is we've seen changes in behaviors and some are definitely more offensive.  I'm not talking about the occasional school shooting.  Not that school shootings should ever be minimalized - the reality is, if schools and parents work together to solve social issues facing our youth, we could in fact see a substantial decline in behavior problems. 


As an advocate, I heard from educators the behavior problems start at home and parents argue the behaviors are picked up in school.  Instead of placing blame on where the behavior started, parents and educators need to join forces to do whatever they can to eliminate behaviors.   


Over my many years of working with parents and schools to resolve behavior issues, the single thing that resonates almost every time was lack of fidelity.  A Specialist comes in to create comprehensive behavior plans, but nobody, not the educator or the parents, follow the plan.  We cannot expect a behavior plan to work when the adults responsible for implementing the plan is not doing it correctly.  In all fairness, some plans are partially implemented.  It's like going through Piccadilly and deciding what you want to eat today.  If you pick out all meat and desserts only, you won't have a well-balanced meal.  The same thing can be said for a behavior plan.  If you go through it and pick out what you want to do, then you compromised the plan and lost all fidelity.  The plan is designed to work only if used as it was designed. 


In my early years of advocacy I went to many IEP meetings where the school wanted to move the child to a more restricted campus.  We'd go over the behavior plan that wasn't working.  The parents and I would ask some questions and it became painfully obvious that the plan was collecting dust.  Every good plan requires a collection of data to determine if the plan is in fact working or needs tweaking - yet, 9 out of 10 educators have no data collected when they decide the plan is a failure. 


Managing behaviors is exhausting and overwhelming for the educator and parent, however; the cost of giving up on the child will be far more devastating. 


On March 6, 2015, we are offering an all-day conference on "Cracking the Behavior Code".  If you have a child, grand child or student(s) that have challenging behaviors, this conference is for you.  Come hear from local behavior experts on how to manage difficult behaviors.  Pre-registration is required.  Read more about this conference and other great Trainings we are doing below. 


Below is a list of articles on other topics we thought you'd be interested in reading. 


Helping You Learn for a Lifetime (English)


Helping You Learn for a Lifetime (Spanish) 


Identifying Communication and Learning Disorders 


Behavior and Education  


The ABLE Act Update


Augmentative and Alternative Communication


Learning Opportunities by FHF
Educating and Training
FHF has a lot of opportunities to learn for the month of March. 

Friday, March 6th is the date for Cracking the Behavior Code Conference. The Conference will focus on understanding the function of behavior, practical behavioral strategies & interventions, parental rights & school responsibility, parents and teachers working together and Information on home & community supports. Registration is required, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736.
ABLE Act workshop is on Thursday, March 19th. Come and learn about this new law and how you can start saving for yourself or for a loved one with a disability, To register call 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736. Click here to register online!
Here's a list of webinars for March:

In  Prepare for PARCC: Accommodations Information For Parents you will learn what accommodations are and how to list the accommodations your child needs on the pages of the IEP document and what supplementary aids & services are and how to document the support your child or school staff may need to help your child succeed in a general education classroom. We are offering two sessions for this webinar.

     To register for March 3rd, click here!  To register for March 18th, click here!

Are you confused about what a transition plan is for, and what needs to be in it? Join us in Successful Transition Planning and the IEP: All you need to know if your child is age 14 or over. This webinar will tell you what needs to be in the transition plan, and what the law (IDEA) says about transition services.

Learn some of the key quality indicators and characteristics of supported employment providers and what to look for when selecting a provider in What Does an Individual Need to Know About Selecting and Working with an Employment Provider?

The webinar Transition: Pathway to the Future, will help parents of children with disabilities understand how to use the special education transition process to help plan for life after high school. Parents of students in the 9th grade and beyond are encouraged to participate.

Supported Employment Funding and How it all Works will provide a basic overview of all of the possible employment funding agencies and the rules and parameters of each service. Participants will learn where the funding originates and the rules and criteria for each source.

Have you ever wished there were advocates who could be assigned to assist you or your adult child with a disability who is receiving Waiver Services? Join us for Supported Independent Living Waiver Services: There's Advocacy for That! and learn about the Advocacy Center's Supported Independent Living Advocacy Project. 

Assessment to Develop an Employment Plan will provide an overview of the 3 key types of Supported Employment assessments; trial work assessment, situational assessment and the community-based assessment. Participants will learn how each assessment is conducted and what information is gleaned from the different types of assessment.

Social Security Benefits & Healthcare Programs (Medicare and Medicaid) will provide an overview of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the respective healthcare coverage and the impact of wages on those benefits.  

View our full calendar of events here.


Future FHF Trainings

April 7, 2015 - How to Promote Healthy Relationships and Sexual Health for Teens and Adults with Disabilities: Discussing sexuality and disability can be difficult for families and professionals, but sexuality is a natural part of the human condition. This workshop will provide an overview of topics adults with disabilities and their families need to know to promote safety, health, and positive relationships. Click here for more information! 
To register, call 504-888-9111 or click here to register online!

April 21, 2015 - Understanding the IEP: Development, process and your critically important role on the TEAM. Click here for more information! 
To register, call 504-888-9111 or click here to register online!

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.  
  • Free Webinar! The Rights of People with Disabilities as Community Members 3-11-15 - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. EST.  The ADA and other disability laws exist to promote the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of community life. This session will feature guest speakers who will discuss how the ADA and the Olmstead Decision have impacted the lives of persons with disabilities as community members. To register, click here!
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Training - The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans will present two classes on Applied Behavior Analysis. This training will provide families, teachers, and other professionals with the tools needed to better serve individuals on the autism spectrum. For more information contact ASGNO at 504-464-5733 or email [email protected]

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.

#ThinkABILITY is a month long social media campaign to celebrate the great things people with disabilities do every day.  

Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to participate.  Share and retweet our stories, videos and quotes and post your own stories. 

Remember to add #ThinkABILITY and #FamiliesHelpingFamilies to all your posts, shares and retweets!  

Together we can make a difference in the way individuals with disabilities are perceived!  

Remember - #ThinkABILITY

Join Families Helping Families and approximately 70 other agencies that provide support and services to families of children with disabilities in the Greater New Orleans area.   

Wednesday, April 29, 2014 - 1 PM
Rally on Capitol Steps in Baton Rouge

Tired of waiting for services?  This is your chance to advocate.  There is no place like home!  For additional information, click here.

Families Helping Families

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 
12 noon to 7 p.m.
FHF Office, 201 Evans Road, Bldg. 1, Suite 100
Harahan, LA  70123

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with FHF Staff and Board in conjunction with #GiveNOLA Day.  Stop by our office and enjoy some Mexican Food - along with sombreos and maracas.  A lite lunch will be served from 12 - 1 pm and a lite dinner will be served from 5 till 6:30 pm.  Snacks served throughout the day.  
To ensure enough food, please RSVP 504.888.9111.
Fun Run Against Bullying

Saturday, September 26, 2015 is the date for the 1st Annual Fun Run Against Bullying.

Support the First Annual Fun Run Against Bullying. Did you know:
  • 160,000 US Students miss school every day due to bullying
  • 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
  • 71% of all students report bullying as a problem at their school
  • Children with disabilities are bullied 3 - 4 times more often than others

Lending Library Information

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 any item can be mailed to you.  Just click here  to see a complete list of items in our lending library.

Before you buy it - check to see if we have it!

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. 

Read about how this mom attended our workshop, "How to Choose a Service Provider" and learned all the important and relevant information she needed to know to make an informed decision.  


Click here to read her 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 February 25, 2015 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 -  3/31/2006

Supports Waiver - 11/3/2012

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

Gulf Coast Community Bank is once again sponsoring the Community Rewards Program.

Last year we were in the TOP 5 out of 393 non-profits!  Help us get there again this year.  

From NOW till 8 pm on March 25, 2015 you can help us win money by simply voting DAILY for Families Helping Families.  Vote once a day with EACH email address you use.

The nonprofits with the most votes win.  
It's really just that easy.  

Go to www.communityrewards.com to vote!

Ask your family, friends, social media buddies, work colleagues and everyone else you know to sign up an vote for Families Helping Families!

Want to help but can't remember to vote.  Register and send us your info and we'll be happy to vote for you daily.  

Invest in the future of FAMILIES HELPING FAMILIES of JEFFERSON.   

Become  a stakeholder by supporting
ALL disabilities of ALL ages, by making a one time gift, or monthly contributions. You will be making a difference to large outcomes!

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. Click here to learn more about how you can help. With your support, we will have the strength and resources to help Louisiana residents improve their lives. 

Volunteer Opportunities

Board of Directors
FHF of Jefferson currently has openings on our Board of Directors for the following:
  • Parent of a child between the ages of 0 - 23 years old with a disability.
  • Adult with a disability.   
The ideal candidates are:
  • Passionate about FHF and the services we provide to the community.
  • Interested in the long term sustainability of our organization.
  • Willingness to support FHF in community.
  • Believers of Home and Community Based Services.
  • Understand the importance of inclusion in all facets of life.
  • Believe individuals with disabilities deserve a meaningful lives.
  • Individuals that bring their own personal experiences and expertise to share.
  • Willing to participate in fundraising.
  • Can commit at least 5 hours a month to organization.
Candidates must:
  • Reside in the State of Louisiana.  
  • Be able to attend bi-monthly board meetings (4th Monday of the Month from 6 - 8 pm) and monthly committee meetings (If you live outside the GNO area, some meetings can be attended via conference call.)
  • Attend an annual board retreat. (Saturday event)
  • Participate in board giving. 

Fund Development Committee Members
FHF of Jefferson's Fund Development Committee is searching for talented individuals with a passion for raising funds.  This committee is responsible for identifying new funding opportunities, fundraising ideas and opportunities, donor cultivation and promotion of FHF of Jefferson in the community.  

Currently the Fund Development Committee meets once a month on the 4th Monday of the month from 5 - 6 pm.   

Individuals with and without experience are encouraged to apply.  

Run, Walk and Roll Against Bullying Committee Members
Committee members are needed for FHF of Jefferson 1st Annual  Run, Walk and Roll against bullying will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2014 at LaSalle Park in Metairie.  Meetings will be held monthly until September when meetings may be held more frequently.  

Individuals with and without experience are encouraged to apply.  

For additional information or to schedule a meeting to discuss board or committee membership further, please contact Mary Jacob, Executive Director at 504.888.9111 or [email protected]

Minorities are encouraged to apply.  


Call us to help you with Financial
Assistance to Attend Trainings

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 stipendplease 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:

St. Joachim Family Expo and Craft Show - Saturday, March 14, 2015 - Click here for more information

A Little Lagniappe:
A little of this and a little of that - more stuff that might interest you.  
  • Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority - Regional Advisory Committee for Development Disabilities currently has openings for self advocates or parents of individuals with developmental disabilities.  If you are interested in becoming a member of the JPHSA RAC, please contact Mary Jacob at [email protected]
  • How does a person who can't see read? Can a person with a physical disability play sports? If you couldn't hear, who would you talk with your friends? Do people with disabilities get frustrated, have friends, like ice cream? This web site can help you begin to answer your questions about disabilities.  www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb 
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN) - Employee's Practical Guide to Requesting and Negoitiating Reasonable Accomodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act 
  • Louisiana Hands & Voices - Family Day at the Park - March 28, 2015 at Lafreniere Park - Shelter 4, Metairie.  For more information, contact Hands & Voices at [email protected] 
Laura, Shanida & Bebe at InclusionMATTERS 2014
 Our Team

Click here for a list of Staff or Board Members

Families Helping Families of Jefferson is your one stop shop for disability information. We are the only family resource center for individuals with all disabilities, all ages and their families in Jefferson Parish. We offer services across the lifespan.


Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center (LaPTIC) is a program of Families Helping Families of Jefferson and a grant from the US Department of Education; Office of Special Education (OSEP) as Louisiana's official and only statewide federally funded Parent Training and Information Center. 


Two Groups You Want to JOIN!

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,   

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,   

FHF of Jefferson
201 Evans Road, Bldg. 1, #100
Harahan, LA  70123
800.766.7736 (toll free)

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.