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.

Exceptional Times 
July 2016

Act 303:
Gives Hope to Students Previously Denied a High School Diploma

By:  Mary Jacob


Rarely in history do we see legislation passed that applies retroactive.  However, thanks to Senator Claitor, the legislators that voted for the bill and Governor Edwards - we've witnessed it in Louisiana. 

Senate Bill 335 which has been signed into law as Act 303 allows prior students (already exited school) who were recipients of special education services petition the state for a high school diploma. 

Two years ago April Dunn, a self-advocate spoke in front of our legislators about how she attended high school, earned all of her required Carnegie Units, but couldn't get a diploma because she couldn't pass the high stakes testing.  She was still allowed to go on to a community college, earn credits, but again not graduate because she didn't have a high school diploma.  The legislators were so outraged by the idea that students were being failed by the system they passed Act 833 - the new high school diploma option.  Unfortunately, Act 833 wasn't going to help April or the estimated hundreds of other students in the same boat.  However, the tide has officially changed. 

Act 303 authorizes certain persons to petition a local school board by December 31, 2017, to determine if the person is eligible to receive a high school diploma.  Requires that the person making the petition be no longer enrolled in a public school but identified as a student with exceptionality, except gifted or talented students, and who previously failed to receive a high school diploma or was denied graduation solely for failing to meet BESE exit exam requirements. Additionally, it requires the local school board to transmit the diploma request to the state Department of Education. 

April Dunn and any other former students with IEP's that were denied a high school diploma based solely on not being able to meet the BESE exit exam requirements will finally receive the diploma they worked so hard toward and denied. 

Congratulations to April Dunn and all of the other students that will finally receive the recognition they deserve.  

If you think you or your child is eligible for a diploma and need help understanding the process, please call FHF at 888-9111 or 1-800-766-7736.

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









Upcoming Trainings 


- FHF July Workshops -

Healthy Summer Days -  This series is for youth with disabilities between the ages of 16-26 and their parents, PCA's, guardians, and family are welcome to attend. We hope to encourage you to have a fun and healthy summer. 
Summer can be a time of lots of fun but we tend to lose track of our normal routines, which includes our eating habits. That is why we have teamed up with The LSU AgCenter to provide a free series of 6 lessons about having a healthy lifestyle. The lessons will be on healthy eating habits, easy recipes, and food management.   

Time:            3:00 pm - 4:00 pm 
Location:      East Bank Regional Library
4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001 
Presenter:     Karen Walker-Jones, Area Agent, Nutrition LSU AgCenter
 
Healthy Summer Days: Food Safety & Food $$ Management - Tuesday, July 5, 2016      Click here for more information!
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736 

Healthy Summer Days: Calcium and Dairy - Tuesday, July 19, 2016 
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736 

Healthy Summer Days: Make 1/2 Your Plate Fruits & Veggies - Tuesday, July 26, 2016      Click here for more information!
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-7736 

Una introduccion para cambiar el comportamiento, por fin! - Friday, July 15, 2016, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001:  Los participantes recibirán información sobre el autismo, una introducción a la terapia ABA*, y como obtener servicios. El taller también proporcionara consejos para obtener servicios a través el programa de educación individualizada (IEP**).   Click here for more information
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 ext. 209

Independence and Transportation - Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 10:00 am - 11:30 am, Lafreniere Park Foundation Center, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie, LA 70006: Transportation is a very important part of independence, but it can be difficult to get around if you can't drive, especially for people who have disabilities. Click here for more information!
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736

Person-Centered Planning - Friday, July 22, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001: Person-Centered Planning is an ongoing problem-solving process used to help people with disabilities plan for their future.  Click here for more information!
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736

Self Advocacy - Thursday, July 28, 2016, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001: People with disabilities have the right to advocate for themselves. This means they have the right to speak or act on their own behalf or on behalf of other people with disabilities, whether the issue is personal (e.g. housing, work, friends) or related to public policy. 
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736


- FHF July Webinars - 

Around the Special Education World in 1 Day: Friday, July 8, 2016, 10:00 am - 11:00 am - When a child qualifies for special education services, federal law requires the development of a document called an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Some students may not qualify for an IEP, but may receive accommodations and modifications from a 504 Plan or may receive support through Response to Intervention. This webinar will explain the process for receiving supports and services through general and/or special education.
 
Get Organized: Getting Your Ducks in a Row!  Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 10:00 am - 11:00 amAre you overwhelmed by the mountains of paperwork created by your child's school and health records? Not sure what to keep, what to toss? Want to be better prepared for the new school year and IEP meeting? This training will assist parents to finally get those papers organized so they can effectively advocate for their child.  Participants will receive resources and strategies so you leave organized with success!

All Hazards Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Special Needs and Disabilities and their Families - Family Session: Thursday, July 14, 2016, 10:00 am - 11:00 am:  This discussion is specifically designed around individuals and families.  Join presenter  Karen Scallan for an in depth discussion on preparing for all hazards in Louisiana. It's not just about hurricanes!  Do you know what to do if there is a chemical release near you?  Chemical explosion?  Nuclear power plant warnings?  Are you as prepared as you can be for staying in a shelter? Sheltering in place?   Learn the latest on preventing children with Autism from elopement!

Early Childhood Transition Process: Thursday, July 14, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Kids grow fast, don't they? An early intervention is designed for children from birth up to age three, but what happens when they age out?  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 session will guide and prepare you for smooth and effective transition from Part C to Part B services.

Around the Special Education World in 1 Day: Tuesday, July, 19, 2016, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: When a child qualifies for special education services, federal law requires the development of a document called an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Some students may not qualify for an IEP, but may receive accommodations and modifications from a 504 Plan or may receive support through Response to Intervention. This webinar will explain the process for receiving supports and services through general and/or special education.

Get Organized: Getting Your Ducks in a Row!  Thursday, July 21, 2016, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Are you overwhelmed by the mountains of paperwork created by your child's school and health records? Not sure what to keep, what to toss? Want to be better prepared for the new school year and IEP meeting? This training will assist parents to finally get those papers organized so they can effectively advocate for their child.  Participants will receive resources and strategies so you leave organized with success!

The 3 Ps of Preparation for IEP Team Meetings:  Friday, July 22, 2016, 10:00 am - 11:00 am: Just as planning for that wonderful summer vacation or holiday dinner requires detailed preparation, so does preparing for your child's IEP team meeting.   The IDEA requires schools to encourage parent participation in the development of the IEP and considers parents equal partners.  Participants will learn how to create a positive student profile and use a checklist which will help organize your thoughts and focus clearly on your child's strengths, needs and goals.  It is hard to participate equally if you aren't fully prepared.

All About Me - Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: All About Me is an informative personalized tool that assists in providing personal insight into who your child is; their likes, dislikes, motivators and triggers. Because the IEP is designed to focus on academics, it leaves out valuable information about your child that can assist in new student-teacher relationships. Join and learn the benefits of using this tool for your child.

"Staying Cool During a Meltdown" - Thursday, July 28, 2016, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm:  When Kids have an emotional melt down, it is a cry for help.  In this session parents will be given strategies for managing and preventing meltdowns.  With the strategies given we can be prepared for when they explode, and rock our world.

Dealing with Denials of Care - Friday, July 29, 2016 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Do you know what to do when a Bayou Health plan denies your medicine at the pharmacy?  Durable medical equipment?   Physician, hospital or therapy services? Learn what information you will need to gather when you are told your service, medication or equipment are being denied.  Learn about different types of denials, what they mean and how to navigate getting your care and getting assistance.



View our full calendar of events here. 


FHF e-Learning Mini Modules

e-Learning Mini Modules are formatted for all devices so even if you are at a ball game, dance practice or waiting for your dinner to arrive in a restaurant, you can log onto our website and watch one of our e-Learning Mini Modules in approximately 10 minutes.  That's right - you only need about 10 minutes!  The following e-Learning Mini Modules are currently available:
  • What do you do when the school calls to pick up your child?  
  • What transportation services are available to my child with a disability?
  • How can I prepare for my child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting?
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Basics
  • What is Least Restricted Environment (LRE)?
We hope these are useful to you and happy to be able to add additional ways for families to learn relevant information they need in order to get their child the most appropriate education they deserve.   Click here to go to our website and learn more about the e-Learning  Modules!


Trainings & Webinars provided by others

Autism Society 47th National ConferenceRegister now for the Autism Society's 47th National Conference and Exposition in New Orleans this summer! The Autism Society's Annual Conference is an event like no other and this year's, in the Big Easy, will also be sure to wow its attendees.  Click here for more information!

Links You Want To Check Out

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.

101 Things To Do This SummerAs much as your kids will tell you they can't wait for summer, the words "I'm bored," inevitably cross their lips - sometimes sooner than you think! While children do enjoy the freedom that comes with the summer months, they still like to have a little structure to their fun.

Under the IDEA, in order to make FAPE available to each eligible child with a disability, the child's IEP must be designed to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum. 

Questions and Answers Regarding Inclusion of English Learners with Disabilities in English Language Proficiency Assessments and Title III Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives. - Education personnel in States, local educational agencies (LEAs), and schools across the nation have described challenges in developing and administering English language proficiency (ELP) assessments required under Titles I and III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), to students who are both English Learners (ELs) and students with disabilities.

StoryKit 
Use to write a story with text and visuals- can be used to write Social Stories 

Smalltalk Oral Motor Exercises - Cheek, tongue, palate, lip, and jaw movement exercises to strengthen oral musculature 

ESSA Cheat Sheet: What's in the New Testing Regulations? This cheat sheet from Education Week sums up the new testing regulations in easy-to-read bullet points that are organized into topic-specific sections. Particularly relevant to Parent Centers are the sections on how testing will work in general, for students who have disabilities, and for English language learners. 

Net Cetera is a guide for parents, teachers, and other adults who spend time with kids. This guide offers practical tips and ideas for getting the conversation started about social networking, privacy, mobile devices, computer security, sexting, and cyberbullying. 

Parents' Guide to Getting Good Care - English: When a child is struggling, or his/her behavior is worrisome, it can be hard for parents to know whether they need to reach out to a professional. And if parents do seek help, what kinds of professional, and what kind of treatment, are right for their child? This guide from the Child Mind Institutes takes parents through the steps to finding the best professional (or team) for their child, and the most appropriate treatment. Along the way, the guide offers things to look for and questions to ask to ensure that parents are getting quality care their child deserves.
 
Discover Camp: Considerations for Sending Your Child with Disabilities - Discorver Camp is a resource for parents of children with disabilities selecting a camp for their child for the first time.

8 Job Search Tips for Teens - While last year's teen unemployment rate of 28 percent was nightmarish, this year's number will be much worse.

Uber Settlement Requires Drivers to Accommodate Service Animals - Uber is settling a discrimination suit brought by blind passengers with an agreement to carry the passengers' guide dogs in their vehicles.

Here's When It's OK to Use the 'R-Word' In 1 Nifty ChartThe use of the R-word has been slowly diminishing especially after the start of the 'Spread the Word to End the Word' campaign started in 2008. Still, there are so many people that continue to use that word improperly making the word very demeaning and hurtful. This article describes why the r-word is offensive and provides a simple chart showing when it is okay to use the word.

Define me: Find out just how employable you are - This link comes from a website called The Mix, a website that provides supports and information for youth with disabilities under the age of 25. Do you want a job but are not sure if you have any of the skills that employers look for? Well you do whether you realize it or not. 

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 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.

Work Force Ready: Joel is a 16 year old young man with Down Syndrome, he is nonverbal but tries his best to communicate which can sometimes be understood by strangers but for the most is not understandable.
Lagniappe

This section will give you information on events FHF will be attending, waiver waiting list info, other community events you  might be interested in attending and anything else that doesn't fit in one of the above sections.

July 16, 2016, 8 am - noon: AAAneurysm Outreach presents New Orleans AAA Screening - AAA is a ballooning of the abdominal aorta and is potentially a life-threatening condition.

The YouthRules! web page is a gateway providing quick access to information about Federal and State labor laws that apply to young workers. The web page includes information designed to educate teens on what the rules are, as well as provide information for parents, educators, and employers.

New Orleans Faces Lawsuit Over Inaccessible Bus Stops Three NOLA residents have sued the city over allegations that the bus system in the city is not properly accessible to people with mobility related disabilities and is not in compliance to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

LSU Health Science Center - Human Development Center is looking for parents/guardians of children with disabilities who are willing to share their thoughts, feelings, suggestions, and experience for improving health care services with the trainees in the LA LEND program. There are three ways in which you may participate in the LEND program:  1. LEND Family Trainee or Self-Advocate,  2. Family Mentoring Experience,  3. Caregiver or Self-Advocate Panel - If you are interested in participating as a presenter on a panel, please email Brittney at: [email protected]Contact Brittney Wright at [email protected]  for more information.  
 
The Impact of the 2016 Legislative Sessions for Individuals with Disabilities and their Families -  A highlight of important laws that apply to individuals with disabilities and their families by the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council.

Statewide ESSA Meetings Announced -  Superintendent White will host a series of statewide meetings this summer to discuss creating educational opportunities for students through the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). All district and school leaders, teachers, and parents are encouraged to attend these meetings and share their feedback with the Department.   Click here for dates and locations

 
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 developemental disabilities and their families, acting as the Single Point of Entry.

Waiver Registry Dates - As of June 29, 2016 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
 
SPOKES (Support for Parents Of Kids with Epilepsy and Seizures) is a support group and activity program for parents of children with epilepsy. Here parents can connect and find common ground on the successes and challenges they face in raising a child with seizures. Healthcare professionals are also encouraged to attend. This program is only available in Louisiana. For more information about our monthly support groups throughout the state, please visit our website www.epilepsylouisiana.org  or call our office 225.298.5499 and ask to be added to the SPOKES email list. Epilepsy and Seizures 24/7 Help line: 1.800.332.1000
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, click here.

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,  click here.



Fundraising 

2nd Annual
5k & 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk Against Bullying 

Time to dust off those superhero capes and save
Saturday, October 1, 2016 for 
the 2nd Annual 5k and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk Against Bullying. 
Save the date and don't miss out on this day of fun!

Live Music    Great Food     Beer     Kid Activities    Awards

Prizes for Fundraising Teams
Prizes for Fundraising Individuals
Prizes for Schools with 50 or More Participants

New Location: 
Lafreniere Park 

Be a Superhero Against Bullying!


Honorary Co-Chairs

Newell Norman, Sheriff
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office


Isaac Joseph, Superintendent
Jefferson Parish Public
School System



SPONSORS: 

Brave Sponsorship Level




United Sponsorship Level



Equality Sponsorship Level 

Metairie Bank
Karl Benson - Sunbelt Conference
Gulf Coast Bank

Friend Sponsorship Level
Kipper Communications

Sponsorship opportunities are now available. 


Participant Registration and Vendor Registration Information Coming Soon. 
FHF 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. 
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

FHF of Jefferson 
201 Evans Road, Bldg. 1, Suite 100
Harahan, LA  70123
504.888.9111
800.766.7736 (toll free)
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