Exceptional Times
July 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.

ADA Turns 
25 Years Old 
By: Laura S. Nata, Programs Supervisor

"Let the Shameful Wall of Exclusion Finally Come Tumbling Down"!


What great words of what had been happening prior to The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law in 1990. So many individuals before us spent much of their time, their vision, and their courage to see this act become a reality.


At the July 26, 1990 signing of the ADA, President George Bush stated in an emphatic directive "Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down!" With the signing of this civil rights law Americans with Disabilities Act, protects every man, woman, and child with a disability to pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom."


Twenty-five years ago, our nation committed itself to the elimination of discrimination against people with disabilities through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division played a critical role in enforcing the ADA, in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. 


The ADA grew out of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. Federal legislation to protect civil rights focused on the prevention of racial discrimination. Having seen the federal government involve itself in protecting racial minorities, advocates for individuals with disabilities began to advocate for protection for their constituency as well.


Smart move of the people, back then, who were paying attention to racial discrimination and identify the same problem against individuals with disabilities.


Some of the important sections of the law are the following:


Title I (Employment) This title is designed to remove barriers that would deny qualified individuals with disabilities access to the same employment opportunities and benefits available to others without disabilities. Employers must reasonably accommodate the disabilities of qualified applicants or employees, unless an undue hardship would result.


Title II (State and Local Government) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities. This law protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs, and  activities provided by State and local government entities.


Title III (Public Accommodations)This title prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by private entities in places of public accommodation. Examples include hotels, restaurants, golf courses, private schools, day care centers, health clubs, etc.


Title IV (Telecommunications) The services for hearing-impaired and speech-impaired individuals.


Title V (Miscellaneous Provisions) The final title contains a variety of provisions relating to the ADA as a whole, including its relationship to other laws and its impact on insurance providers and  benefits.


In celebrating this great momentum we need to reflect on what took place and what others did for us. Here is a prime example of what happens when people get together and have a belief and put it into action.  Please take the time and read up on what these laws cover.  While researching ADA I found a website that provides so much reading materials and videos. This is also great information for transition age students to read up on. Go to www.ada.gov. For our Spanish speaking audience the website is:   http://www.ada.gov/publicat_spanish.htm.


This article is also in Spanish below.



Check out these other great articles we've provided for you this month:


Finding and Deciding and Choosing ... Oh My!


Why I Chose Inclusion


Are You and Your Family Prepared for the Hurricane Season? 


The Power of Getting Organized!


The Elimination of LaHIPP


FHF of Jefferson Distributes New Parent and Infants Packets to Hospitals


ADA Cumple 25 Anos


Health Disparities, People with Disabilities, and How the ACA can Help


Congratulations to the 
2015 Partners in Policymaking Class


Top Row: Robert Paddy (Caddo), Jennifer Huber (Jefferson), Ashley Plaisance (St. Tammany), Micah Moscovis (St. Landry)


3rd Row: Liz Gary (Program Coordinator), Lionel Carbajal (St. Tammany), Sandra Guichard (St. Tammany), Kevira Johnson (East Baton Rouge), Karen Artus (St. Tammany), Cathy Castille (Acadia), Robbie Gray (LaDDC)


2nd Row: Carmen Cetnar (Lafayette), Brittney Barnett (Ascension), Ayesha Moinuddin (Calcasieu), Hilary Bordelon (St. Tammany), Zachry Edmonston (Ascension)


Front Row: Morgan Brownlee (St. Tammany), Ta'Rhonda Chube (East Baton Rouge), Steven Nguyen (Jefferson), April Dunn (East Baton Rouge), Justine Fucci (St. Tammany) 


The staff of Families Helping Families would like to congratulate one of our own staff, Steven Nguyen who is also a 2015 Partners graduate.  Please click here to read about Steven's experience.

Learning Opportunities by FHF
Educating and Training
- July Webinars -

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - Louisiana Charter Schools Overview: This webinar will provide participants with an overview of charter schools in Louisiana. The webinar will include basic information about the differences between charter schools and traditional public schools, a brief history of charters in Louisiana and the current charter school landscape in our state.

Click here to register


Organizing Special Education Records: Advocacy is at your fingertips when your child's education records are organized. This workshop will offer tips and techniques for organizing reports and evaluations. Participants will learn how to organize educational records and use a record keeping book. This workshop will assist you in becoming more organized in the planning of your child's education and the IEP process

Click here to register for Wednesday, July 8, 2015  11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Click here to register for Wednesday, July 29. 2015  11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - Steps to Success: IDEA Part C to B - Early Steps: This webinar is designed to help parents of young children make a smooth transition from IFSP (Part C of IDEA) services to IEP (Part B of IDEA) services. Learn when the transition process should begin, what the difference in services will be, as well as the difference in qualification criteria.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - The Importance of Being Involved in Your Child's Treatment Plan: Being involved in your child's treatment plan would provide help to the entire Team.  Keeping an open line of communication is extremely important as well as understanding your voice does MATTER.  Working as a TEAM would increase a better quality of care for your child (ren).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - Find, Choose and Keep Great DSPs: Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) play an important role in the lives of people with disabilities and their families. If you are or will be looking for quality, caring and committed Direct Support Professionals this webinar is for you.  Do you know where and how to find a DSP or what their role entails?  Defining the type of person you want to work for your family, can become a major task. Let us help you with some easy-to-use tips and strategies to help families of individuals with disabilities find, choose and keep high quality Direct Support Professionals. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - Do you know how to use ABS for children with behavior concerns? Antecedent-Based Strategies (ABS) are a group of proactive procedures that are used to decrease the likelihood that a problem behavior will occur. We will discuss strategies including altering the events in the environment that seem to trigger problem behavior as well as altering the person's motivation to engage in problem behavior. Join us for an hour of informative webinar on ABS. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - Building an Introduction Portfolio for Your Child: 

Student Introduction Portfolios are a great way to share important information about your child beyond what is found in the IEP. Join us to learn what information to include in your child's portfolio. Start off the new school year on a positive note by presenting this information in a fun, creative and informative way.

Click here to register


Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - Special Education Basic Rights Workshop: An Introduction to Special Education IDEA: This training is designed for parents of children in special education or that might need special education. Join us and gain a working knowledge of special education laws, including your role in the development of an appropriate education program (IEP) and to be an effective partner with the school team in the 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.
Thursday, July 30, 2015, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm - Allen Parish Library, Oberlin Branch Conferance Room, 320 South 6th Street, Oberlin, La - FHF of SWLA would like to invite you to attend our informative workshop called "Developing an Effective IEP for Your Student!" This workshop is for Middle and High School students with disabilities and their families. Join us as we learn the importance of developing an effective IEP for your student with disabilities. Also learn about what you need on an IEP when planning for transition from middle school to high school and beyond for your student. Limited Seating, must RSVP to attend! For more information contact FHFof SWLA at 1-800-894-6558
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.

Kid Power 

Do you feel like you're running on empty? You're not alone. All parents feel like this at times. And parenting a child with learning and attention issues can be especially draining. Here are 10 easy ways to recharge when your energy reserves are running low.    10 Simple Ways for Parents to Recharge

American Job Centers (also known as Workforce Centers or One Stop Centers WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.  The enactment of WIOA provides opportunity for reforms to ensure the American Job Center system is job-driven-responding to the needs of employers and preparing workers for jobs that are available now and in the future. For more information click here

Many parents don't realize that it's essential to create a paper trail of all contacts with school personnel. We repeat this often, but will happily share the links to information and articles again.  Click here for more information

The IRIS Center offers a wide variety of resources and services to suit a diverse set of instructional needs and circumstances.  IRIS Center Brochure

IRIS Resource Locator - Topics


When one child has challenges that disrupt family life, the other children are affected. This article from Child Mind gives tips for helping siblings get what they need to thrive, too. 5 Ways to support siblings in special needs families

We are excited to introduce our new section of Exceptional Times - Family Ties.  This section is dedicated to parents or other family members that want to contribute family friendly articles for others. These articles should be directly related to your experience as a parent, sibling, or other family member of an individual with a disability.  

To submit an article for consideration, please send it to Liz Dumas at [email protected]  All articles will be reformatted.  Pictures in the format of jpeg are highly encouraged. 

Read our first article, What I've Learned One Year After the Autism Diagnosis", by Georgia Cuny. Georgia does a great job chronicling the past year since her son Gus was diagnosed with Autism. 

"I check myself daily to make sure I am presuming competence and treating Gus accordingly, and sometimes I rely on others to point out when I've failed in this. And I have noticed something wonderful: the more I presume competence, the more my son proves me right."




Auctions in August

FHF will once again participate in Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Auctions in August event.  During the month of August, auction items will be displayed throughout the lobbies at the bank branches.  Some items will also be available on-line for bidding.  

We are now soliciting donations for this event.  Items must be new.  If you'd like to make a tax deductible donation to this event, please contact Mary Jacob at 504.888.9111 or [email protected] 

Below are some of the auctions items:
  • 8 Guest Passes to visit Audubon Zoo or Aquarium - Donated by Audubon Nature Institute.
  • Family Membership to City Park - Donated by Friends of City Park
  • Guided Tour for 2 at Houma's House Plantation - Donated by Houma's House Plantation
  • $25 Gift Certificate to Ye Olde College Inn and Bowling and Cocktails for 2 at Mid City Lanes Rock n' Bowl
  • 2 Cemetery Tours to Lafayette Cemetery - Donated by Save Our Cemeteries
  • $25 Gift Certificate to Smilie's Restaurant - Donated by Smilie's Restaurant
  • Diffuser Necklace and Essential Oils - Donated by Sharon Blackmon and Mary Jacob
  • 4 Tickets to the 2016 New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboy Football Game - Donated by Ana Eller


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
We are thrilled to report that Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand and Jefferson Parish Public School System Superintendent has both agreed to be Honorary Co-Chairs for this event.  

Brave Sponsors: 

United Sponsors:

Equip Sports Performance
Jefferson Parish Councilman Paul Johnston
Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse
Aetna Insurance

Equality Sponsors:

Gulf Coast Bank and Trust
Metairie Bank
Crescent Vans
Baumer Foods
Elmer Chee Wees

Friend Sponsors:

Atlantis International
Mariposa Salon
Coca Cola
Mele Printing

Sponsorship Opportunities are still available. 


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 how Victoria and Kayley were helped after being referred to FHF of Jefferson's Parent Liaison at CSHS Family Resource Center located in Children's Hospital.


 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 June 29, 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 -  7/5/2005

Supports Waiver - 2/29/2012

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. 

Federal Employees Can Now 
Invest in FHF 
Through Payroll Deductions

Families Helping Families of Jefferson has been approved for inclusion in the 2015 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Any federal employee anywhere in the United States and overseas can designate their tax deductible donation to Families Helping Families of Jefferson.  

Our CFC code to designate donations to FHF is 85990

Which seat will 
be yours? 



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.   

Previous board members are welcomed.  

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.

Previous board members are welcomed.

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]
Call us to help you with Financial
Assistance to Attend Trainings
Last Chance for Stipends

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.  Funding for stipends has been eliminated effective September 30, 2015.  

Thanks to the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council for the many years of stipends to Louisiana families.  

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]
  • Recruitment of DDC Applicants Expanded to Northwest, Central and Northeast Louisiana. The deadline for applications in order to be considered for this position is July 14, 2015. Click here to view this LaDDC News Article
  • July 23 - 24, 2015 - Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC) meeting - Alexandria, La. If you would like to be considered for membership on the Council or would like more information about the LRC, you can contact Paige Kelly at 225-219-2947 or toll free at 1-800-737-2958  email: [email protected]
  • Saturday, July 25, 2015, 10:00 am - 2:30 pm - Northshore Families Helping Famlies, Shopping for Resources: Community Resource Fair - North Shore Square Mall, 150 North Shore Blvd., Slidell, La.  
  • Saturday, August 15, 2015, 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm - Autism Society Louisiana Presents Dancing for Autism, Club Silhouette, Metairie, La. Tickets are $50 per person. For more information contact Gwen Hebert 985-791-7764 or [email protected]   Click here to purchase tickets
  • Save the Date!  Saturday, November 7, 2015 - Autism Society Conference 2015 "Lassoing for Autism" - McNeese State University, Lake Charles, La. Keynote: Dennis Debbaudt   Click here for more details

  • Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity   Click here to view video
  • Find Free Summer Meals in Your Community - Nutritious free meals are available for children and teens 18 and younger at many locations throughout the nation throughout the summer while school is out of session. However children age 18 and over who have mental or physical disability (as determined by a State or local educational agency) and who participates during the school year in a public or private nonprofit school program (established for the mentally or physically disabled) is also eligible to receive free meals. Click here to find sites serving meals near you. 
  • Encuentre comidas en su comunidad durante el verano - Habrá comidas nutritivas y gratuitas disponibles para niños y adolescentes de hasta 18 años en diferentes localidades de la nación, durante las vacaciones escolares de verano. Sin embargo los niños de 18 años o más que tienen discapacidad mental o física (determinada por una agencia educativa estatal o local) y que participa durante el año escolar en un programa de escuela pública o privada sin fines de lucro (establecido para la mental o discapacidad física) también es elegible para recibir comidas gratis. Use la herramienta de mapa www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks a continuación para encontrar el sitio más cercano. Se añadirán nuevos sitios cuando se acerque el fin del año escolar y durante el verano. Por favor visite el sitio con frecuencia para obtener información actualizada. 

Families Helping Families of Jefferson will be closed on Friday, July 3, 2015 in observation of Independence Day.  We hope each of you have a safe and fun weekend.  
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.