Exceptional Times
September 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.

Calling All Superheroes

By: Mary Jacob

On October 3, 2015 you have a chance to make history!  Time to dust off your cape and get ready for the 1st Annual 5K and Fun Run Against Bullying!  

In the immortal words of Christopher Reeve, "Living in fear is not living at all."   Every day 160,000 school children miss school because they are living this fear.  The fear they will be bullied.  They fear they will be hurt.  The fear paralyze some children to the point they can't function or worse, they no longer have a desire to live.  NO child or adult should ever have to experience this type of fear.  It's one hundred percent preventable.  Yet, it seems to be the fastest growing epidemic.  Every day we wake up and we make a choice. The choice to bully someone has to stop.  By holding this event we hope to bring awareness to this growing problem and find solutions to stop it.

Read what students say about their bullying experience:

"I was bullied mentally, verbally and physically every day of my freshmen year of high school." - Steven

"I was eating my snack and a girl took my lunchbox and threw it in the garbage bin." - Olivia

"I had to endure a lot in school.  At times I felt like I was alone and nobody cared." - Daryl

"I'm even trying not to sleep because tomorrow is a next day and another reason to cry." - Anonymous

"He tried to break my fingers in the locker by slamming the door shut on them." - Miranda


"He eventually knocks off my cochlear implant, the most essential part of my every day living." - Corey


"When I'm in my room I always sob on the inside - every day.  It started in 3rd grade." - Valerie


The time has come to take back our schools and community from the bullies. On October 3, 2015 you have a chance to stand with us and declare you are a Superhero against bullying.  


Schools are invited to create teams.  Every school that has at least 50 participants will receive a custom banner declaring them Superhero's Against Bullying!  Schools can create one school wide team or they can create grade level or club teams.  


Businesses are also invited to create teams.  Show your support to the community and your desire to end bullying.


Don't have a team - everyone is welcome to participate with family, friends or solo.  


Click here to register and learn more about the event!


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


Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Be Aware of Benefits Available 


Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Be Aware of Benefits Available (Spanish)


Disabled Military Child Protection Act 


Childcare Assistance Program


Picklegate -  All About Me


ACA Tip Sheet - Health Care Costs 


Tech News: Access Louisiana App Available Now


Helping Your Gradeschooler With Homework


Fine Tuning the IEP


Letter to Medicaid Recipients Leads to More Questions than Answers

Learning Opportunities by FHF
Educating and Training

- September Workshops -

Friday, September 11, 2015 - 10:00 am - 3:00 pm - Team Up for Families: A Road Map for Special Needs Conference: Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Ave., Metairie, La. -  We invite you to join us for this informative event and walk away with your own "Team Up For Your Child" workbook: A step by step guide to working with your child's team of professionals.  This workshop will be presented in English and Spanish!  Click here for more information!
To register, call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736    Click here to register online

- September Webinars -

Parent Involvement in Special Education IEP: Families and educators will gain an understanding of the essential components of an Individualized Education Plan.  Parents will be able to read and understand an IEP document, be able to effectively participate in IEP meetings and know how to address concerns in a proactive and positive way.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm - Partners in Policymaking - How you can be part of systems change:  Partners in Policymaking is a national leadership training program that provides the most up to date information from national and local speakers as to what is happening in the world of disabilities. Partners is about systems change - creating, working toward and achieving a vision of shared values about people with disabilities. If you want to learn more about Partners and want membership, join me for some information and Q & A.

S.M.A.R.T. IEPs: Participants will learn about writing IEP goals that are specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and time-limited. You will learn how present levels of performance are used to write measurable goals and objectives.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 11:00 am - 12:00 am - How Will I Know if My Child is Making Progress? Parents of children with disabilities often ask, "How will I know my child is learning and making progress?" This webinar helps parents answer that question as they learn how to gather information from special education and general education sources. Parents learn how to use this information to help their child.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Skills for Effective Parent Advocacy:  This training will explore six skills parents can use to become more effective advocates for their child with a disability. Come learn these skills which include: understanding your child's disability, knowing your school district, knowing your rights and responsibilities, using clear and effective communication, understanding the special education process, and knowing how to resolve disagreements.

Thursday, September 24, 2015, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - An Overview of Louisiana High School Diploma Pathways: Staff members from the Louisiana Department of Education will provide an overview and resources related to the TOPS University Diploma, the Career Diploma, and the Alternate Pathway to Career Diploma for Students Assessed on the   LAA 1

Thursday, September 24, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Childhood Disabling Conditions and How to Complete the SSI Disability Forms:  September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Become aware of this and other childhood conditions which may qualify for SSI disability benefits for children. You will also learn how to complete the disability forms so that DDS has all the pertinent information needed to make the right decision.

 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.

September 6 - 9, 2015, Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals' 2015 Educational Conference and Expo - Hyatt Regency - New Orleans  
September 16 - 18, 2015, Alexandria, Louisiana - AAIDD-LA 2015 Conference - Navigating the Bends in the Road: This conference is designed to provide information through lectures and interactive discussion on service issues and practices for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities.  Click here for more information!

September 25 - 26, 2015, Gonzales, Louisiana - Deaf Education Alliance Summit - ACT 250 Guidance and Implementation - Please join us to learn about the new amended Bill of Rights, the newly Mandated Communication Plan, and more.

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.

Avengers Comic Teaches Mad Money Skills: Join the Avengers and a special  guest in this exiting educational comic about saving  money and saving the day. The heroes team up to defeat Mole Man and his evil army,  all while learning financial skill. The action-paced comic feature a budgeting worksheet, finance terms and more. You can select the language on the drop menu.  http://practicalmoneyskills.com/avengers/
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) The Department of Labor (DOL), in coordination with the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS), is working diligently to ensure that states, local areas, other grantees, and stakeholders are prepared for the implementation of WIOA. The WIOA Resource Page provides information and resources for States, local areas, non-profits and other grantees, and other stakeholders to assist with implementation of the Act.                                            

Family engagement and children with disabilities: A resource guide for educators and parents.  This resource guide has been compiled to help parents and special educators establish a comfortable and effective partnership in service of promoting successful outcomes for children with disabilities. Highlighted are research reports, journal articles, examples of best practices, and tools that suggest methods for developing productive collaborations so that educators and families can, together, ensure better services for children in their care. 

100 ways to know more: There are many ways to be involved.  This ingenious list from the Alabama Parent Education Center gives parents 100 suggestions, organized into areas of involvement such as communicating, parenting, student learning, volunteering, partnering with the school, and collaborating with the community-because, as APEC notes, when parents get involved in their children's education, everyone benefits. 

10 rules of advocacy:  From the Parents' Place of MD, this 2-pager gives 10 powerful tips that parents can use as they advocate for their child at school.

Steps to success: Communicating with your child's school - Available in multiple languages!!   This brochure from CADRE offers specific communication skills that may be helpful to parents as they develop and maintain partnerships with their child's school. Available in English and also in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Haitian Creole, Hmong, Korean, Marshallese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Wow!


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. 





Bi-Lingual Education 

Advocate Needed


Families Helping Families of Jefferson is searching for an education advocate that is fluent in reading and speaking Spanish and English to support parents of children with disabilities and youth with disabilities.  This is a full time 40 hr a week position.  Paid holidays, vacation and sick leave.  


To apply, send your resume to Laura S. Nata at [email protected] 

Thanks to everyone that donated to Auctions in August and everyone that bid on our fabulous items. I hope you were the highest bidder and got to bring home a special item.   A special thanks to Gulf Coast Bank and Trust for providing such a wonderful opportunity and being the leader in investing in the communities you serve.   We raised over $4,000!


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 Michael Yenni
Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP

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.
"Was Given a Vision, When There Was None," Ms. Ethel shares her beautiful story with us. 
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 August 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. 

State Employees Can Now 
Invest in FHF 
Through Payroll Deductions

Families Helping Families of Jefferson and Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center is a 2015 Louisiana State Combined Charitable Campaign (LA SCCC) Charitable Organization. 

Our LA SCCC code to designate donations to FHF is 1020.  

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.  

Time is about to run out!  
Apply NOW 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]
  • Saturday, September, 26, 2015 - Crossroads Louisiana Friends & Family Annual Picnic, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Brechtel Park Shelter 7 and 8 Click here for more information
  • 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 
  • Louisiana Believes has a section for Parents and Students @ http://www.louisianabelieves.com/  Click Parents and Students and empower yourself with information so you can decide the best education for your child
  • National Collaborative on Workforce and Disabilities (NCWD) - Fostering Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning
  • Cindy Ory Dance Studio is proud to announce a new program - Dance Without Limits A Program Designed for Dancers with Special Needs - Classes begin October 14th -  Click here for more information
  • Growing Up with a Disabled SiblingDo you, or anyone you know, wonder about the impact a disabled child has on their siblings?  If so, you may want to take advantage of an interactive discussion about a Sibling Study that was conducted by Mass Mutual and Easter Seals, Inc. At this time, we have one (1) meeting scheduled in New Orleans, and one (1) in Covington, but if other areas throughout the state express interest, every effort would be made to accommodate. Please take the time to view the flyers attached and feel free to pass them on to any constituents that might benefit from this valuable study. Space is limited, so please rsvp by the dates listed. Click here for more information



Families Helping Families of Jefferson will be closed on Monday, September 7, 2015 in observance of Labor 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.