Exceptional Times
August 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.

Be a Superhero Against Bullying 

By: Mary Jacob



The first day of school is just around the corner and it's time to prepare the kiddos.  In addition to paper, pencils, erasers, glue and all the other supplies they need - all kids need to feel safe. Over the past few years we've been astonished at the number of calls we get from parents regarding bullying problems at their schools.  These families and the schools they attend cross all socioeconomic classes and include public, charter, private and parochial schools. There is nothing more heartbreaking than knowing your child is being bullied and nobody wants to listen.  


Personally, I had to deal with this issue with my younger daughter when she was in high school.  Some students were more than mean spirited - they were downright cruel.  As a parent I tried to teach her to speak up, but not to do anything that could create a bigger target on her back.  This resulted in one semester, in one class, her getting gum in her hair, her shoes physically removed from her feet and hidden and the final act was the hoodie being cut off of her sweatshirt.  This is when I reached my limit and demanded not only action - but some form of punishment to the students participating as well as the teacher that seemed to think this was just "normal teenager" behavior.  


Throughout this entire ordeal I kept asking myself the same questions, What are the other kids in the room doing?  Why isn't anyone stepping up to defend her?  The reality - most kids sat back and laughed and probably relieved they weren't the target of these few bullies.  One thing I've learned after talking to numerous people that are considered industry experts on this topic - if just ONE single person stood up and said - enough, there is a great possibility that it would have ended.  Bullies tend to pick on kids that are perceived weak, quiet, different and easily intimidated.  


An astonishing 160,000 kids miss school EVERY day due to bullying.  This figure is mind blowing to me and it needs to stop.  I consider it the newest epidemic among school age kids. It will require everyone to be involved to end it - but I have no doubt every campus has superheroes that are just waiting to breakout their masks and capes to say enough!  


A few years ago we did our first bullying prevention rally with hopes to one day grow it into a much larger event.  After 9 months of planning, we are thrilled to hold our 1st Annual 5K and Fun Run Against Bullying on Saturday, October 3, 2015.  You can now register and even set up a fundraising page to promote this great cause at https://www.firstgiving.com/32617/BullyingPrevention.  Individuals can register alone or with teams.  All Early bird registrants will receive a free t-shirt, bullying prevention wrist band and access to the fun after party.  Early bird registrants can also register for $10 less if they use the discount code "FHF" at checkout.  Our theme is Be a Superhero Against Bullying. 


When we first started planning I was concerned that some of our area leaders wouldn't agree that bullying was a problem in our area.  Much to my surprise and delight, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand and Jefferson Parish Public Schools Superintendent Isaac Joseph both agreed it was a problem and agreed to be our Honorary Co-Chairmen of the event.  We are now working closely with both agencies to have all schools participate.  


If you cannot participate, you can still go to the link and make a tax deductible donation. Proceeds from the race will be used to provide support to families, schools and community around bullying prevention.  


So, back to how to get your child ready for school.  Check out these great links:













If your child is a victim to bullying and you can't get anyone to listen, call one of our advocates for assistance.  


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


Three Federal Laws You Should Know 


Medical Home Portal and Care Notebook


Bullying: Don't Let It Get to You, Take Action!


Countdown to School Success


Wrap up from CSHS Community Resource Fair



Learning Opportunities by FHF
Educating and Training

- August Webinars -

Are you Ready for the Next IEP Meeting?

This workshop is designed to simulate real-life IEP meetings. Participants will receive a brief overview about the Special Education Process while the remainder of the workshop will be about practicing professionalism, critical thinking skills, and assertiveness. 

Click here to register for Thursday, August 6, 2015 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Click here to register for Tuesday, August 11, 2015 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm 

Click here to register for Wednesday, August 19, 2015 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Friday, August 7, 2015, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm - 
Transitioning SSI Childhood Beneficiaries to Adulthood Benefits:  This webinar will address how SSI eligibility criteria changes once a child reaches age 18. The participants will be informed of what is required in order to continue SSI benefits into adulthood. 

Participants will learn how Social Security determines if the beneficiary is still considered disabled according to the adult definition of disability for Social Security benefits.  Can the adult recipient work and receive benefits?  Will the parent/guardian continue to receive the benefits for the beneficiary?

These questions and more about income, resources, and living arrangements will be answered in this webinar.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - 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.

Thursday, August 13, 2015, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm - All Hazards Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Special Needs:  It's not all about hurricanes! This webinar will provide information and resources and help you think about developing a true all Hazards Preparedness Plan to protect you, yourself, love ones and clients you serve.  Join us to learn and take away tips that can be helpful.

Tuesday, August, 18, 2015 - How to Identify a Child with Special Needs? This workshop will cover "Child Find" and the role of educators to identify children who are suspected of having a disability, as well as pre-referral interventions to help each child reach their full potential. Participants will learn about the various techniques in identifying children who are suspected of having a disability. Parents will also be educated about their child's entitlement to a "Free Appropriate Public Education" (FAPE) regardless of the nature or severity of their disability.

Click here to register for the 10:00 am - 11:00 am session

Click here to register for the 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm session


Wednesday, August 19, 2015, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Special Education: What Parents Need to KnowThis workshop will explore the parent's role in the IEP process. Parents will learn the basics of the child's right to special education services, how the process of developing special education plans work, and the parent's role in developing an IEP that is responsive to a child's needs.

Click here to register


Thursday, August 20, 2015, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm - New, All About Me!  The "All About Me" Guide for Children and Students with disABILITIES has a new look! This guide is a great way to share important information about your child with their teacher beyond what is found in their IEP. Join us to learn what information to include in your child's information guide. Start off the new school year on a positive note by presenting this information in a fun, creative and informative way.


 View our full calendar of events here.

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.

Do you have questions about your child's education but not sure where to start? Take a look at this parent checklist (English and Spanish) to find out ways you can help your child thrive at school. Download the checklist here!

The Department of Health and Hospitals offers a variety of services for families and children, varying from physical fitness programs and behavioral health options to maternal and child health programs. By providing accurate and timely information on a variety of health issues, Louisiana families can rely on DHH for everyday health news and updates during times of emergency. For more information on how the Department serves families and children, please click here.


CMS Releases First Round of Home Health Agency Rating System


Disability.gov Blog/Our ADA Stories


FARE (Food Allergy Resource Education)  has a variety of resources schools can use to help create a safer environment for students with food allergies and increase awareness among the student body. Click here 


Homework and Study Shortcuts:  12 Ways to Get Things Done Quicker

FHF Capacity Building Class of 2015

Staff from FHF Centers from all over the state came together in New Orleans for 3 days in July to learn, network, and refresh themselves on all things special education related.  FHF of Jefferson hosted the event that featured speakers from the Louisiana Department of Education, Advocacy Center, SUNS Center, LSU Human Development Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, Willoz Consulting and staff of FHF of Jefferson.  


New Staff at FHF of Jefferson

Join us in welcoming Cristiane Rosales Fajardo (Cristi) to the staff at FHF of Jefferson.  

Cristi is originally from Rio De Janerio, Brazil.  She is a  former education advocate and community organizer and is the founder of NoLA Village and Los Mundo Unidos a Latino base Organization of parents and students fighting for justice in the New Orleans Charter landscape. Cristi is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.  Cristi is the parent of 4 students in the charter school system with various disabilities. Previously Cristi advocated for language access, equality, and  the rights of undocumented students. She will now add to her resume advocacy of children and youth with disabilities.  


Cristi will join our staff as an Information and Training Specialist and will primarily focus on Latino families and youth with disabilities. 

Cristi can be contacted by phone at 504-888-9111 or 800-766-7736 (toll free) and can be emailed at [email protected]


Legislative Advocate wanted for Jefferson Parish



Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and Families Helping Families of Jefferson is looking for a dynamic, outgoing person that knows how to build relationships and have a passion for people with disabilities. 


This is not your every day job - this is a passion to use your talent to bring legislators into the world of disabilities and help them understand why disabilities services need to be funded.   If you think you have what it takes, please read the information below and take action NOW!  This position is NOT a Families Helping Families of Jefferson position - but support, supervision and office space is provided by FHF of Jefferson. 



Bid on Fabulous Auction Items at

Are you ready to get some great items and support FHF?  FHF has once again partnered with Gulf Coast Bank and Trust in their annual event, Auctions in August.   This annual event supports non profits across our region.  100% of the proceeds of the items below will be given to Families Helping Families of Jefferson.  You can view items in bank branches or on-line.  

  • New Orleans Weekend Staycation - 1 night a New Orleans Marriott - Donated by Marriott Hotel, 2 tickets to Auduzon Zoo or Aquarium - Donated by Audubon Nature Institute, 2 Cemetery Tours of Lafayette Cemetery - Donated by Save Our Cemeteries and Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner at Mothers Restaurant - Donated by Mothers Restaurant
  • 2007 Gibson Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Vintage Old Stock Guitar - Donated by Emerald Coast Film & Video, LLC.
  • 6 Guest Passes to visit Audubon Zoo or Aquarium - Donated by Audubon Nature Institute
  • Family Membership to City Park - Donated by Friends of City Park
  • $25 Gift Certificate to Ye Olde College Inn and Bowling and Cocktails for 2 at Mid City Lanes Rock n' Bowl 
  • Dinner and Jewelry - $25 Gift Certificate to Smilie's Restaurant - Donated by Smilie's Restaurant and a 18" handcrafted Stainless Steel Chain  with 1 Fleur de lis and 1 Hand Stamped oval with "WHO DAT" and a pair of Fleur de lis earrings - donated by Erniebug's
  • 18" Stainless Steel chain with 2 charms and 1 Diffuser Necklace donated by Erniebug's and 1 each 15 mil bottle of Purification, Thieves and Cedarwood Youngs Living Essential Oils - Donated by Mary Jacob
  • 4 Tickets to the 2016 New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboy Football Game - Donated by Ana Eller
  • Romantic Weekend in the Capitol City - 1 night stay at Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center and Breakfast Buffet at Kingfish Grill - Donated by Hilton Hotel, Baton Rouge Capitol Center, and   Guided Tour for 2 at Houmas House - Donated by Houmas House 
  • Laser Tag Party for 12 at Adventure Quest Laser Tag - Donated by Adventure Quest Laser Tag
  • 10 Open Play Passes, Back Pack and Sports Bottle - Donated by BooKoo Bounce
  • Fashion Jewelry Set includes 5 items - Necklace with Slice and Sphere Agates; Layering Double Chain Necklace with Charm; Pair Chain Tassel Earrings; Add-A-Charm Bracelet with 9 charms and Floral Hair Clip with Small Druzy Agate Accent. All items include semi-precious stones and crystals with antiqued brass chains and findings. - Donated by Just Charming Designs
  • Snowball Gift Set - Embroidered Snowball Kitchen Towel set with 4 free Snowballs donated by Williams Plum Street Snowballs
  • Game Day Accessories Package - Includes Black and Gold and Purple and Gold Ponchos, 1 Pair of Stainless Steel Tiger Earrings and a 18 inch Stainless Chain with Fleur de lis Charm and Hand Stamped Charm that says Love Purple Live Gold - Donated by Erniebug's
  • Elmwood Fitness Center - 3 Month Membership - Donated by Elmwood Fitness Center
  • 24 x 24 Black and Gold Original Acrylic Painting by Louisiana Artist Gina Santopadre
  • 24 x 48 Original Acrylic Painting by Louisiana Artist Gina Santopadre
  • 16 x 20 Original Acrylic Painting by Louisiana Artist Gina Santopadre
  • 8x8 Original Acrylic Painting - Crown by Louisiana Artist Gina Santopadre 
  • 8x8 Original Acrylic Painting - Flower by Louisiana Artist Gina Santopadre
  • Blindside - 24 x 30 Original Acrylic Painting by Louisiana Artist Sue Velasquez



To register call, 504-888-9111 or toll free 800-766-7736 

Registration Now Open for the 5K and Fun Run Against Bullying

Use "FHF" at checkout to get an EarlyBird Registration discount of $10. 

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
City of Kenner
Honorable Mchael Yenni

Friend Sponsors:

Atlantis International
Mariposa Salon
Coca Cola
Mele Printing
Tim Walker, Chief of Police, Harahan
Abita Beer
Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng

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.

Families Helping Families assists single mom with getting resources to help pay tuition for summer camp. 


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 July 31, 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. 

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
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.  

Apply for the 2016 Partners in Policymaking Class

The Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council is now recruiting motivated individuals with developmental disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities to apply for the 2016 Class of Partners in Policymaking. The Council is especially interested in individuals who have the enthusiasm and potential to become effective advocates.

Participants attend a weekend training session each month from January through June. Individual sessions are devoted to specific topics presented by nationally-known experts. The next class begins January 15-16, 2016. Sessions begin Friday at 12:00 PM and conclude on Saturday at 3:00 PM. Attendance at all sessions is mandatory for successful completion and graduation in June.


Participants are expected to complete assignments between sessions and become engaged in systems advocacy. Lodging and meals are provided. Respite care and attendant services are reimbursed for participants who qualify.


Completed applications must be received in the Council office via e-mail or fax or postmarked no later than September 30, 2015 to be considered. This deadline will not be extended. Final selection of participants will be made by mid-November 2015. Specific dates and topics for the next session can be found at www.laddc.org.

To apply for the 2016 Partners in Policymaking class click HERE. Contact Robbie Gray at 800-450-8108 or 225-342-6804 or [email protected] for more information or assistance with applying.


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]
  • Venue Change for August Performances of "InterACT NOLA's original musical "Living On a String". The Performances on August 1st and 2nd have been changed to East Jefferson High School Auditorium, 400 Phlox Street. Click here for more information
  • Thursday, August 6, 2015, 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) Southern Poverty Law Center presents - In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act on August 6th, and in order to raise awareness of its continued importance in the fight against voter suppression today, please join us for a free film screening of "Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot," a film from Teaching Tolerance. The screening will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, 2919 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA.  Doors will open at 6:30 pm and the screening is free and open to the public. A link to the event page can be found here!  Event Flyer
  • 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
  • September 6 - 9, 2015, Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals' 2015 Educational Conference and Expo - Hyatt Regency - New Orleans  
  • 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 
  • Taking Charge of My Health - Information and resources to help teens and young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and caregivers to address health issues.
  • Summer and Sensory Processing Issues: How to help kids stay comfortable in what can be over-stimulating outdoor activities. For many kids, summer vacation holds the promise of months of school-free fun. But for children with sensory processing issues, summer can be a challenging time.
  • 'Ween Dream donates Halloween costumes to those who might not otherwise be able to obtain them. There is an online application for parents and guardians who already know their kids will need costumes, such as families who have kids with special needs or medical issues that make purchasing a costume difficult. The application can be found here and is open through August 21.  For people who don't apply before August 21, the costumes are still available on a first-come, first-served basis.  However, 'Ween Dream gives priority to families who are applying late because the event causing their inability to provide costumes occurred after the deadline, such as families who suffer a natural disaster, house fire, accident, or illness (as opposed to people who just missed the deadline). 'Ween Dream has a small collection of adult-sized costumes that they'd be happy to give to any special needs adults (or kids at heart!) who want to participate in Halloween fun!
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.