Exceptional Times
April 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.
Getting Services for your Baby

by:  Mary Jacob, Executive Director

Over my lifetime, there are certain events that I can remember like it was yesterday.  I remember things like September 11th; the day Princess Diane got married and the day she died.  I'll never forget Hurricane Katrina or the Saints winning the Superbowl.  I'll also always remember the day the doctor told me my oldest daughter didn't learn the way most kids learn.  If you have a child with a disability, you'll probably remember the day the doctor informed you of the new path you'd be following.  That path won't be nearly as scary if you are familiar with early intervention supports and services that are available for your baby and family.

Early intervention services are critical for children born with a medical condition or disability or acquire one before their 3rd birthday.  We know that many of these children are at risk of developmental delays and research has proven over and over again that children that have access to quality early intervention services have a much higher chance of being successful in school than those that don't receive this service.  

In Louisiana these services are referred to as EarlySteps and managed through the Department of Health and Hospitals and generally paid for by Federal Medicaid Funds and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - Part C Federal Funds.  Services available to qualified children include:
  • Assistive Technology
  • Audiology
  • Health Services (family education, assistance with other EarlySteps services only.)
  • Medical Services (evaluation only)
  • Nutrition Services
  • Occupational Therapy Services
  • Physical Therapy Services
  • Psychological Services
  • Service Coordination
  • Social Work Services
  • Special Instruction
  • Speech Language Pathology
  • Translation Interpreter Services (foreign language and sign language)
  • Transportation (to and from an EarlySteps service only)
  • Vision Services
Anyone can refer a baby to EarlySteps - including the parents.  Once a baby is referred, an evaluation will be completed and you'll be informed if your child meets the criteria for services or not.  If he/she is deemed eligible, a team of qualified individuals will meet with you to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to meet the unique needs of your baby. Your baby can continue to receive services until their 3rd birthday or until they are no longer eligible.

To learn more about Louisiana's EarlySteps program, please click on their website here.  To learn about about IDEA - Part C Services, please click here.  
For a complete overview of the Early Intervention Process, please click here. To learn more about writing an IFSP for your child, please click here.

Remember, your baby won't be a baby for long.  Early intervention services DO matter!



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


Video-on-Demand Children's TV Programming Now Accessible for Thousands of Students with Visual or Hearing Disabilites


AXS Map: Accessibility Answers at Your Fingertips!




Do You Know My Rights?


Do You Know My Rights? - Spanish 


Early Childhood Transition from EarlySteps (IDEA Part C) Programs and Services to Preschool (IDEA Part B) Programs at Age Three During the Spring and Summer


A Brief Overview of the Special Education Process


I Want a Girlfriend and A First KISS!


Affordable Care Act (ACA) - What Families Need to Know about the ACA during Tax Season


Learning Opportunities by FHF
Educating and Training
- April In-Person Trainings -

Tuesday, 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 toll free 1-800-766-7736

Click hereto register online! 


Tuesday, 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 toll free 1-800-766-7736  

Click here, to register online!

Friday, April 24, 2015 - What You Need to Know About Social Security (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) Disability Programs: Participants will learn about the eligibility criteria for each disability program; what happens after the application is submitted and how to appeal if benefits are denied. They will also learn how to use SSA's online tools to transact Social Security business easily online. To register, call 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736. Click here, to register online!

- April Webinars -

Services Beyond the School Year for Students with IEPs:
Some children with disabilities require special education and related services longer than the usual school year in order to receive FAPE. Extended School Year (ESY) services are special education and/or related services provided beyond the usual school year. This webinar will provide an overview of the ESY process for children with disabilities. We are offering two sessions for this webinar. 

FAPE vs FAPE: IDEA & Section 504:
Are you confused about which law applies to your child? The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act? This webinar provides participants with a brief overview of the meaning of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) between the laws, focusing on the purposes and eligibility requirements for each. We are offering two sessions for this webinar. 

ABLE Act:  Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 for Individuals with Disabilities. Tax laws have encouraged Americans to save for college for their kids and to save for their retirement, but for families of those with disabilities there was no tax-advantaged way for them to save for those individuals. The ABLE Act of 2014 changes all that. Come and learn about this new law and how you can start saving for yourself or for a loved one with a disability. 

Transitioning from EarlySteps:
This webinar will provide an overview of the transition process for children and their families with disabilities and/or developmental delays, age birth to three. 

What is the Big I.D.E.A.? Attend this training to gain a thorough understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and what these federal guidelines mean to your child's education. If you are new to Exceptional Student Education, this is the place to begin. This presentation provides an excellent overview of IDEA and the special education process.

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.

ButterflyEffects - ABA:  Roles and Responsibilities of the Stakeholders in the Child's Life.  (This is an adults only training) 

Presenter:  Amanda Fullbright, M.Ed, BCBA, LBA

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Chartwell Center

1225 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

 RSVP to [email protected] 


ButterflyEffects - Families Helping Families and Available Resources in the Community and How to Access Them. (This is an adults only training)

Presenter:  Bebe Bode, Information and Training Specialist

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Chartwell Center

1225 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

RSVP to [email protected] 


ButterflyEffects - Functions of Behavior. (This is an adults only training)

Presenter:  Flavia Ploog, M.Ed, BCBA, LBA

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Chartwell Center

1225 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

 RSVP to [email protected] 


NAMI Louisiana Annual State Conference

Friday, April 17 - Saturday, April 18, 2015 

Lakeview Christian Center

5855 Fleur de Lis Drive, New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, LA

Click here for more information!


ButterflyEffects - Reducing Problem Behavior (This is an adults only training)

Presenter:  Michael Schafer, MS, MA, BCBA

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Chartwell Center

1225 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

 RSVP to [email protected] 


ButterflyEffects - Increasing Communication (This is an adults only training) 

Presenter:  Mary Johnson, MA, BCBA

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Chartwell Center

1225 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

 RSVP to [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.

We Give Books  - An amazing, FREE, website that allows students to read and listen to books online!

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.  Click here for some great resources in English and Spanish.


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 sombreros 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.
5K and Fun Run Against Bullying

Saturday, October 3,  2015 is the date for the 1st Annual 5K and Fun Run Against Bullying.

Support the First Annual 5K and 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 Mariana's mother walked into our office feeling clueless and walked out with a wealth of resources that will change her life.  


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 March 30, 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.

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. 

What's stopping you from applying to be a board or committee member?

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.  

5K and Fun Run Against Bullying Committee Members
Committee members are needed for FHF of Jefferson's 1st Annual  5K and Fun Run Against Bullying which will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2015 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.  

We strive for diversity on our board.  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]


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: 
  • ButterflyEffects Center - Families Helping Families and Available Resources in the Community and How to Access Them. Wednesday, April 8, 2015, from 8:30 am to 9:30 am at The Chartwell Center, 1225 Magazine Street, New Orleans, La.  Presenter: Bebe Bode, FHF of Jefferson - Information and Training Specialist. This is an adults only training. RSVP to: [email protected]  Click here for more information!
  • Celebration of the Young Child will be held Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 11:00 am. - 3:00 pm at Delgado Community College, 615 City Park Avenue, enter campus on Marconi.  Click here for more information!
  • Magnolia's Third Annual Open House -  Wednesday, April 29, 2015 from 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm at Magnolia Community Services, 100 Central Avenue, Jefferson, La.  Click here for more information!
  • Jefferson Parish Head Start Program - Health and Job Fairs will be held Monday, May 4, 2015 from 9:30 am - 1:30 pm at Kings Grant Playground, 3805 -15th Street, Harvey, La. and Tuesday, May 5, 2015 from 9:30 am - 1:30 pm at Oakdale Playground, 650 Wall Blvd., Gretna, La.


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]
  • LSU Human Development Center (HDC) is currently recruiting for the 2015-2016 LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and other Disabilities) Program. For more information click here to see the brochure. Applications are available online and are accepted until April 15th. 
  • U.S. DOT Announces Reasonable Modification Rule to Improve Access to Public Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities. To read click here!
  • The 11th Annual Autism Awareness Festival will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at  First Baptist New Orleans, 5290 Canal Blvd., New Orleans, La. 10:00 a.m.  - 1:00 p.m.  Click here for more information!
  • Magnolia FEST will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at Magnolia Community Services, 100 Central Avenue, Jefferson, LA 10 am - 6 pm.  The first ever Magnolia Fest will feature local arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, and more.  Click here for more information!
  • Bender Virtual Career Fair - Employment for People with Disabilities

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015 This Virtual Career Fair is FREE for students and alumni with disabilities to attend. Unique opportunity for College students & College grads with disabilities to meet online with employers across the nation. Click here for more information!               

Thanks to everyone who participated in #ThinkABILITY Month.  All stories are archived 

on our website.  

Just click here to read all 31.   


Thanks to exhibitors and visitors of the 2015 Jefferson Parish Resource Fair for Individuals with Disabilities.  We had a great turn out.  All door prize winners have been notified.


Thanks to Amerigroup for sponsoring the event for the 3rd straight year.  Thanks to their generosity, we are still able to provide this event with no cost to the exhibitors.  Also, thanks to Jefferson Parish Human Service Authority, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services and Jefferson Parish Public School System for their staff on the planning committee.  Below are just a few pictures of the event.  All pictures will be placed on our website in the future.  






Bebe, Laura, Shanida, 
Mary & Denise
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.