Exceptional Times
December 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.
Black Friday, 
Cyber Monday and #GIVINGTUESDAY

By:  Mary Jacob

Just a few days ago you were pushing your chair back from your wonderful Thanksgiving meal.  You were stuffed from all the turkey, dressing and trimmings that filled your house with wonderful scents.  You might have sat back and watched a little football or  your favorite holiday movie while perusing the Black Friday ads.  Maybe you ventured out early for that hard to find gift or was just wanting to get a great deal on your big holiday purchase.  Many stayed snuggled in bed waiting for Cyber Monday to surf the web for the great deals.  Now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are officially behind us - it's the next big day - Giving Tuesday!  

#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners- nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals-to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.

Families Helping Families is asking you to help us by donating to FHF on #GivingTuesday.  Families Helping Families is one of very few nonprofits that don't have a waiting list for services.  We truly provide support to anyone calling us.  Even if they don't have a disability, we attempt to connect them with the support, resources or services they need.  Providing this level of support requires enough funding to support adequate staff.  This can only happen through donations by caring people like yourself.  

No donations are too small and all are greatly appreciated.  To donate, just click below:

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

Learning Opportunities by FHF
Educating and Training
- December Webinars -

Section 504, The OTHER Service Options:  Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm - What do parents need to know about Section 504? It is important for parents of students with disabilities and special needs to have information and an understanding of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Understanding the provisions of this important law can help parents be effective partners in working with schools to meet the educational needs of their student with disabilities.
It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It: Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Communication skills help pave the way to better working relationships with the school. In this webinar, you will learn how to communicate effectively in order to build a strong partnership with the school and help improve your child's success. You will learn how to convey your thoughts and concerns in a way that will be understood and respected, and promote collaboration and an exchange of ideas and information
Transition between Early Intervention and School Age Programs: Thursday, December 3, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - At age three, everything changes. If the child will need continued support once he or she moves on to preschool, it's very important to plan ahead so that the transition is smooth.  This presentation will help you with the transition process and learn about the key components of special education services under IDEA.

ESL & Immigrant Students - Enrollment, Language Access, & Class: Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmWe will review the basic rights of immigrant and/or non-English speaking students to enroll in public school; get information in a language they understand; and learn English in "ESL Classes"
ACT Test Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - ACT Test Accommodations staff will provide information about the accommodations request process for the ACT, including policies for supporting documentation, types of available accommodations and application procedures.

ESL y Estudiantes Inmigrantes - Inscripción, Acceso al Idioma, y Clase: Jueves, 10 de Diciembre 2015, 10:30 am - 11:30 am - Vamos a revisar los derechos básicos de los inmigrantes y/o estudiantes que no hablan Inglés para inscribirse en la escuela pública; obtener información en un idioma que entienden; y aprender Inglés en "Clases de ESL"

Understanding and Writing an IEP: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Participants will gain an understanding of the IEP content and the documentation necessary to develop an IEP. Discussion will focus on who is required to be involved in the development of an IEP and what the parent and school roles are in the process. Each section of the IEP will be reviewed with an explanation of what information is required by IDEA 2004 and what needs to be recorded in the various IEP sections.

Addressing and Overcoming the Holiday Blues: Friday, December 11, 2015, 10:00 am - 11:00 am - Holidays and other occasions throughout the year can bring about stress, especially the months of October to December. This webinar will discuss triggers, both obvious and obscure as well as healthy coping mechanisms to combat depressive feelings.

Ask Karen: Tuesday, December 15, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Join us so you can get the latest updates on managed care, Medicaid and Bayou Health for families of children and youth with complex needs and individuals with developmental disabilities and their families and the professionals who serve them.  The session will then open to questions anyone may have on MLTSS, Developmental Disability Services in Louisiana or other service or health care issues. Please consider sending questions in advance in case research needs to be done. Questions can be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line:  "Question for Ask Karen Session"

Parental Rights, What does that mean? Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
It's important for parents to know their rights during the special education process so they can fully participate in the planning of their child's educational program and can be an effective advocate for their child. This workshop focuses on the parental rights that are most commonly asked about by parents.
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.

The GBR Learning Disabilities Coalition presents CW Austin Learning Disabilities Conference, Saturday, January 30, 2016 - Designed to serve as a community resource to increase academic success for LD kids, this conference is Free to parents, teachers and professionals.

LASARD Online Workshop - Strengthening the Core: Augmentative and Alternative Comunication (AAC) Vocabulary Selection - December 1, 2015, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm.You have a student who will benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) supports...now what? This basic to intermediate level workgroup will explore methods for vocabulary selection. We will discuss the importance of the type of words (core and fringe vocabulary) that need to be included on a communication system. Also, we will briefly share strategies on implementation of these communication systems. Click here for more information

10th Annual Autism Conference: Translating Research Into Evidence-Based Practice, January 18 - 20, 2016, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, New Orleans, LA - This conference will feature topics developed specifically for practitioners, scientists, and parents of children with autism. Additionally, poster sessions will offer conference attendees the opportunity to review the foremost autism research being conducted around the world. Attendees will also be able to visit a bookstore and exhibit booths throughout the event. Click here for more information

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.

13 Gift Ideas for Kids with Sensory Disorder:
This is a great article with gift ideas broken down into price ranges. 

5 Ways to Help a Special Needs Family During the Holidays:  This article has great tips on how to prepare and expectations when you have family members with special needs. 

Primary Partners in their Child's Development and School Readiness: This tool kit aims to help communities partner with parents to enhance child development and school readiness. Its two-part approach involves: 1) developing parents as their child's first teacher; and 2) engaging parents as decision makers and leaders. Both sections are jam packed with resources, references and tips and drive home a simple refrain: We must act today to help prepare our youngest students for success in the classroom tomorrow.
Medication Safety: Giving kids medicine safely can be complicated. And many parents feel the pressure when a young child needs certain medications, knowing that giving too much or too little could cause serious side effects.  But with a little knowledge and a lot of double-checking, you can give your kids medicine safely and prevent dangerous reactions.

Education Just for Students: Discover the vast historical and cultural information about Louisiana, including Louisiana's heritage and state history, Louisiana facts, Louisiana Folklife, and music. Also browse through general information ranging from maps, parish profiles, and state constitution and symbols to Louisiana's college and university information

Virtual Middle School Library:  Cool Fun and Games Web Sites for Students 

What to Teach Your Child: Deep Breaths Can Help You Relax:  Even kids feel stress. To help your child manage stress, first teach him to recognize stress. 

Holidays with kids are a great time for your family to catch up and enjoy time together. With realistic expectations and some extra planning, you'll all get the most out or your family's break from day to day routines

Greater Transparence Urged for College Disability Services - Amid concerns from advocates, a U.S. senator is calling on federal education officials to make information about disability services at the nation's colleges more readily available

Water Park in the Works for Those with Special Needs -  After establishing the world's first fully-accessible theme park, Morgan's Wonderland located in San Antonio, construction is underway on a water park where every attraction promises to be disability-friendly.

Want to contribute to 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. 
Upcoming Events


Thursday, January 14, 2016

9:30 am - 12 noon

First Baptist Church, 5290 Canal Blvd., New Orleans, LA  70124

(Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines & St. Bernard Parish families are encouraged to attend)

  • Meet Legislators in your areas.
  • Get current information on state issues
  • Increase your ability to be an effective advocate
  • Learn techniques for sharing your personal story to encourage positive changes
To register, call 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736
Click here to register online 

Get Your Bingle On - Take 2 Paint Party 

Back by popular demand, Families Helping Families will host another Mr. Bingle Paint Party at Sip & Paint in Metairie.  Participants will have their choice of painting a Fleur de Lis Bingle or Streetcar Bingle.  

Never painted before?  No problem!  Sip & Paint makes it easy for everyone.  Your canvas will be pre-drawn with the design of your choice. Instructors give step by step directions while you are creating your original Bingle painting.  

Sunday, December 6, 2015
1 - 4 pm
Sip & Paint Studios
3350 Ridgelake - Suite 1-5, Metairie, LA  

Tickets MUST be purchased in advanced 
by December 3, 2015 at 3 pm. 

Tickets can be purchased with cash and check at FHF or by credit cards on-line here.    

Light Refreshments will be served.  Participants are allowed to bring their own adult beverages.
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 disability services need to be funded.  

Louisiana Citizens for Action Now (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.

The Jefferson Parish LaCAN Team Leader:
  • Serves Jefferson Parish and should be a resident of Jefferson Parish
  • Works 50 - 60 hours a month
  • Starting Pay is $10 - $12 hr.
The LaCAN Team Leader will: 
  • Develop the Grassroots Network - Leaders recruit new members.
  • Maintain the Grassroots Network - Leaders develop relationships with their members, keeping them informed, connected, encouraged, and engaged in advocacy activities.
  • Lead the Grassroots Network - Leaders develop relationships with their local Senators and Representatives and serve as a model for interaction with these policymakers.
  • Support the Grassroots Network - Leaders serve as a link between their members and the policymakers who represent them. 
Applicants should have:
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Have public speaking experience (Paid or Unpaid)
  • Reliable transportation
  • Ability to travel to Baton Rouge when necessary
  • Have an unwavering belief that people with disabilities shouldn't be segregated.
  • Priority will be given to an individual with a disability, a family member and current LaCAN members.
If you think you have what it takes, please send your resume to [email protected] This position is NOT a Families Helping Families of Jefferson position - but support, supervision and office space is provided by FHF of Jefferson. 

Be a Superhero against Bullying 5k and Fun Run 
Top Fundraisers

Families Helping Families of Jefferson held an Appreciation Celebration on November 19, 2015 at their office to acknowledge our top fundraisers, honorary chairmen, race committee members and others that provided support to our event.  

Kevin Walker was presented an award as the Top Fundraising Individual and Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy was the Top Fundraising Group.  

Mary Jacob, Executive Director, FHF and Kevin Walker, FHF Board Member and Top Individual Fundraiser.
Mary Jacob, Executive Director, FHF, Dr. Patty Glaser, Head of School, Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy, Jesse Watson, Middle School Principal, Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy and Lori Dupree, Computer Teacher, Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy.

Extensive Lending Library

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.

Dream Comes Closer to Reality - Click here to read how Families Helping Families' Parent Liaison and Youth Liasion at CSHS helped Tia's dream come closer to being a reality. 

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 November 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 -  6/20/2006

Supports Waiver - 12/31/2014

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
A Little Lagniappe:
A little of this and a little of that - more stuff that might interest you. 

New Orleans Fitness for Adults with Adaptive Needs and Specialization (F.A.A.N.S.) is a group exercise and nutrition class specially for adults 16 and up with special needs.  Hosted by a certified CrossFit trainers and an Advanced Practice Nurse, there goal is to encourage and educate adults with special needs about good fitness and nutritional habits, all while having a little fun.  Classes are 60 minutes long and only $8 each.  For additional information, call or text Julie Smith at 504-236-5858.

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]

Managing Your Mental Illness Through The Holidays. It is no secret that the holidays are stressful for everyone, however, for someone with a mental health disorder, they can be derailing. All of the additional activity and added responsibilities can prove to be too much excitement, or can cause the development of additional challenges for those with various mental health diagnoses.

NOLA ChristmasFest
is home to New Orleans' only Indoor Ice Skating Rink!  Practice your skating skills on this wonderful wintery 50 foot by 80 foot rink of real ice. This year NOLA ChristmasFest is also home to may different carnival rides! 

The Creole Kids Tour takes kids back to the "Golden Era" of New Orleans. - Set in 19th century New Orleans, we'll walk back in time and explore daily life for kids in New Orleans. Kids will see, hear and touch the past as we learn about our land, our day to day life and our less pleasant past. Let's talk about the good, the bad, the smelly and the silly!  We'll find out what life was like for kids back then: free vs. enslaved, American vs. Creole, boys vs. girls.  We've got it all! (And, of course, maps, primary sources and props.)

The Louisiana Children's Museum is hosting its Holiday Sensory Friendly Family Night on Monday, December 7th from 4:30-6:30 at the Louisiana Children's Museum!  They will have a holiday Photo Booth, the Preservation Hall Foundation musicians, and Ms. Kate will be making a tree with our kids that will be displayed with the Festival of Trees pieces throughout the museum!

Happy Holidays from the Board of Directors and Staff of Families Helping Families of Jefferson.  Our office will be closed December 21, 2015 through January 1, 2016 to allow our staff time to enjoy the holidays with their families.  We look forward to return to work in 2016 refreshed, renewed and ready to support our families!

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.