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 
September 2016


By:  Mary Jacob

Many families were taken by surprise when they received in the mail a day or two ago information about the new fiscal agent PALCO for those using Self Direction.  Families are now scrambling to get the forms filled out and back in for the October 1, 2016 effective date. 
A little history - the State of Louisiana issued an RFP well over a year ago for anyone interested in being the fiscal agent for the Louisiana Medicaid Self Directed options through the Louisiana Department of Health.  Acumen and Palco both submitted proposals and Palco was awarded the contract.  Hold the phone though - Acumen was the current fiscal agent and had the right to appeal the decision.  It seems that this happened so long ago that most completely forgot about the appeal.  Apparently, after exhausting the appeal process, the state has officially entered into a contract with Palco. 
So the rush has started to get the employer and employee packets filled out and submitted by September 12, 2016.   It is Palco's goal to have no interruption in services during this transition period.  Therefore, it is urgent that these forms get filled out and submitted by this September 12th deadline.   Palco will take over paying your Self-Directed workers for the period of Friday, September 16, 2016 and thereafter. 
Packet submissions can be made 3 ways: 
  1. Fax packet to 501.821.0045
  2. Email packet to [email protected]
  3. Mail packet to:  Palco, Inc. Atten: Enrollment, P.O. Box 242930, Little Rock, AR  72223 
If you need more information, please contact Palco customer service team at 501.604.9936 or toll-free at 866.710.0456.  You can also email them at [email protected].
If you would like to submit your packet via email and don't have the ability to scan the packet, FHF of Jefferson would be happy to scan your packet and send it to you via email for you to forward to Palco.  Just stop by our office from 9 to 3:30, Monday through Friday. 
Self-direction is a type of service delivery model for individuals who choose to exercise more choice and control over their supports and who wish to stay independent in their homes.  Palco is a fiscal/employer agent who processes enrollment packets, verifies eligibility, and acts as bookkeeper for the program.  They receive, disburse, and track program funds.

Upcoming Trainings 

- FHF September Workshops -

Transition from High School to Employment and Adulthood for Individuals with Disabilities: What lies ahead? - Friday, September 23, 2016, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm, East Jefferson Business & Career Solutions Center, 1801 Airline Dr., Suite 1, Metairie, LA 70001: This two-hour session will provide:
  • An overview of transition from school to the community,
  • Available supports, opportunities and services,
  • Local and national examples of successful transitions,
  • Working with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS), the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPS) to obtain meaningful WORK,
  • Funding and agency "rules"/policies,
  • How to select a service provider, what services to expect and how employment services are delivered,
  • Impact of earnings on SSI, SSDI and other federal benefits,
  • Information to help negotiate state and local agencies that will provide these services.
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736
Special Needs Trust, ABLE Act, Legal Status - Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001: Children or adults with disabilities often receive public health benefits, like Medicaid, SSI, and Waiver services due to their disability. Special needs trusts can be prepared to protect these benefits when assets are inherited from family members. You will learn about the importance of special needs trusts, ABLE Accounts, and legal options concerning the age of majority, turning 18 years old, in Louisiana. Join us and be prepared for the future of your loved one with a disability!
To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736 

- FHF September Webinars

Expanded SSI application window for foster kids - Thursday, September 1, 2016, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: The transition into adulthood is one of the most critical turns in life's journey.  For foster children living with a disability, this period can be even more challenging. Did you know that since 2010, SSA rules have allowed foster children to apply for SSI up to 90 days before his or her foster care eligibility ends?  Join us to learn how SSA is expanding this application window to assess whether a longer application period significantly reduces gaps in income support. SSA will also explain benefit eligibility criteria for children and share helpful tips and best practices for filing SSI applications. 
Accommodations for Students who are Deaf, Deafblind, & Hard of Hearing while in High School - Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm:  Parents should be aware about the effectiveness of the accommodations in an educational setting since it's not a "One Size Fits All" mode of communication. Students should be empowered during the IEP process and be able to communicate any issues regarding their accommodations.

How Will I Know if My Child is Making Progress? - Thursday, September 8, 2016, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Parents of children who are receiving special education services receive regular reports of progress on their children's IEP goals, as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA).  However, this report is often mistakenly overlooked by parents and may not provide specific information based on recent data. If you think your child is not making meaningful educational progress,  this webinar will help answer this question and you will learn how to gather information from special education and general education sources.

Supporting Students With ADHD at Home - Friday, September 9, 2016, 11:00 
am - 12:00 pm:  You may feel a little helpless when you send your child with ADHD to school each morning. You may feel you have little control over how the school day will go for your child. However, there are some steps you can take at home to help you prepare your child for a school day.

Parents Rights - Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: 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. IDEA includes specific rights for parents of children with disabilities. These rights are called "Procedural Safeguards." Whether you're asking the school to evaluate your child or give special education and related services, there's a legal process the school must follow.  Participants will learn about several important procedural safeguards and what they mean for you and your child.

Accommodations for Students who are Deaf, Deafblind, & Hard of Hearing in Post-Secondary Educational Settings - Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: What they need to know about types of accommodations and having the professionals involved in providing the student's accommodations.

Election 2016 - Prepare to Vote - Thursday, September 15, 2016, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Join us to talk about voting rights and prepare for the presidential election! Learn about registering to vote, voting early via absentee ballot, voting early in person and voting on election day.  Also, get answers to your voting questions and dilemmas.

Preparing for Your Health Care During an Emergency - Friday, September 16, 2016, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Presenter, Karen Scallan, will discuss what you need to know regarding accessing your Medicaid services in an emergency, even when out of state due to a large scale evacuation and how to create a portable care notebook or record that will help you access medical care more quickly and appropriately when evacuated.

Section 504 & IDEA: What's the Difference - Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 10:00 am - 11:00 am: Have you ever wondered which law applies to your child-the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act? Would you like to have a clearer understanding about the differences and similarities between the two laws? This webinar will provide participants with a brief overview of both laws, focusing on the purposes and eligibility requirements for each.

Related Services - Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Children with disabilities are entitled to special education and related services. The IEP must contain a statement of the special education, related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child. Participants will learn several critical elements used to determine what related services a student needs.

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

National Autism Conference - September 8 - 11, 2016, New Orleans, LA: Lean on NAA for Inspiration, Empowerment and Hope at NAC 2016! Click here for more information!

2016 AAIDD - LA Annual Meeting and Conference, September 21 - 23, 2016, Alexandria, LA: Finding the Right Fit. Click here for more information!

Hot Topics

  • Families Helping Families: 2016 Louisiana Flood - Emergency Information and Resources
  • Louisiana Shelter at Home Program - The Shelter at Home Program enables eligible individuals or families whose homes were damaged in the August flooding to take shelter in their own homes while they rebuild, instead of having to stay in a hotel, rental or mass shelter. Click here for more information or call 1-800-927-0216.
  • Interim Housing Assistance - FEMA is offering additional types of housing assistance to eligible FEMA registrants, including: Mobile homes for up to 18 months and Housing for up to 18 months in multifamily housing units (apartments) leased by FEMA and repaired or improved using FEMA assistance. 
  • How to Replace Lost/Flood Damaged Documents: Disasters such as the recent floods and storms commonly result in the loss of important documents, but Louisiana residents have ways to replace them. 
  • How to claim an exemption due to fire, flood, or other disaster - If you have experienced a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster in the last 3 years, you may qualify for a health coverage exemption. This means you don't have to pay the penalty for being uncovered for the months you were affected by the event.
  • State Sales Tax refunds available for uninsured flooded property - If you had uninsured property that was destroyed by floodwaters this year, you're entitled to a refund of the state sales tax on those items. State Treasurer John Kennedy says this applies to the parishes that were federally declared disasters during the March and August floods. Click here for more information or call 1-855-307-3893 for assistance. 

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.

Financial Aid Toolkit - Help students and parents prepare for college or career school. The Financial Aid Tookkit provides federal student aid information and outreach tools for counselors, college access professionals, nonprofit mentors, and others.

Making My Way Through College: A Guide for Youth with Disabilities - This guide is aimed at helping students with disabilities navigate postsecondary education. It provides information and resources on preparing for and succeeding in college and transitioning from college into the world of work.

Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade: An IES Practice GuideStudents who read with understanding at an early age gain access to a broader range of texts, knowledge, and educational opportunities, making early reading comprehension instruction particularly critical. This guide recommends five specific steps that teachers, reading coaches, and principals can take to successfully improve reading comprehension for young readers.

Parent Toolkit Growth ChartThis toolkit will help you navigate your child's journey from pre-kindergarten through high school. It is designed to help you track and support progress at each stage.

For the first 14 and a half years of Gordy's life, Evan and Dara Baylinson had no reason to think their son could comprehend anything they said: He had never spoken, and he couldn't really emote. They worried aloud about his future, not filtering what they said, because they didn't think he understood.

A Young Woman with Disabilities Plans Her WeddingPeople with disabilities can do anything that anyone else can, like living on their own and even getting married. This is a very interesting article about a young woman with Down syndrome that has accomplished many things in life. She sets a great example for people with disabilities everywhere for being a strong advocate and leader. She talks about her struggle with loneliness and ultimately over coming it after meeting her now husband.

Transition Assessment: The Big PictureThe Big Picture is an online training in which the goal is explore recommended practices in transition assessment. It presents various types and approaches for assessment, relates assessment to the transition process, and provides the opportunity for applying these research based ideas. The objectives are to understand what a transition assessment is, view different types and approaches and to go over the assessment process. 

For the tenth anniversary of Katrina, Rooted in Rights released a documentary called, "The Right to be Rescued." This documentary is about what happened to people with disabilities during this time. The answer was that there was no plan to rescue them. In this documentary, people with disabilities share their stories of what it was like during this difficult time. The purpose is to open the eyes of people to speak out against something like this happening again and have plans ready for when disaster strikes.

PBS Practice Methods of Functional Behavioral AssessmentFunctional (behavioral) assessment (FBA) is a systematic process for gathering information in order to determine the relationships between a person's problem behavior and aspects of their environment.

Head Start Center for Inclusion: For FamiliesThis page was designed for families! Our website contains a wealth of information on supporting and including children with special needs in the classroom and home. We at the Head Start Center for Inclusion, have chosen a few key pieces of information to get you started. Please browse this page for all things related to families of children with special needs. Take a look at the other areas of the site for even more information on inclusion

Teaching Math to Children with Language Disabilities - These tips can help your child learn to work around his auditory processing weaknesses or learning disability to successfully complete his math work

Science for Kids!  Science Kids is the home of science & technology on the Internet for children around the world.
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.

Jean Valley, a woman with blindness, always has a passion for learning. Recently she decided that she wanted to go out of town for school, so she called Families Helping Families of Jefferson looking for someone to advocate on her behalf. Her family and other professionals involved in Jean's life were concerned about her going away for school and wanted to determine what else could be a better option for her.

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.

Crossroads Louisiana, Inc. Friends & Family Picnic Fundraiser - Saturday, September 17, 2016, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, Brechtel Park, 4001 Lennox Blvd., New Orleans, La 70131, Shelter 7 & 8: $10.00 Plate Lunch + Raffle Ticket/ Games/Music/Desserts.  For more information call: 504-366-1828  

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 August 31, 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

Greater New Orleans Association of the Deaf (GNOAD) - Greater New Orleans Association of the Deaf (G.N.O.A.D) was founded in July 7, 1961 and is still strong with a loyal membership. To provide membership facilities for meetings of various activities of the deaf, social gatherings for mutual pleasure, interest and welfare of the Deaf community, and to provide social, athletic and intellectual activities.

Family Voices - Family Voices aims to achieve family-centered care for all children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities. Throughout our national grassroots network, we provide families resources and support to make informed decisions, advocate for improved public and private policies, build partnerships among families and professionals, and serve as a trusted resource on health care

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.


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.   

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

Saturday, October 1, 2016 
Lafreniere Park - Meadow Area
3000 Downs Blvd. 
Metairie, LA 70003

Registration Now Open!!
Registration Fee: $25 - under 18 and $35 - 18 +
Register before 9/12/16 and receive $10 discount and guaranteed T-shirt

Use FHF at checkout to get an Early Registration (before 9/12/16) discount of $10

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 Normand, Sheriff
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office

Isaac Joseph, Superintendent
Jefferson Parish Public
School System


Brave Sponsorship Level

United Sponsorship Level

Jefferson Financial Credit Union

Equality Sponsorship Level 

Metairie Bank
Karl Benson - Sunbelt Conference
Gulf Coast Bank
J. Everett Eaves
Performance Rehabilitation Services LLC
Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC
Coastal Gulf & International, Inc. 

Friend Sponsorship Level
Kipper Communications
The Jefferson Chamber of Commerce
Eagle Capital Management
Performance Chiropractic - Dr. Jim McCue
Lake Vista Pediatrics

Sponsorship opportunities are now available. 

If you'd like to be a vendor at this event, 
please contact Mary Jacob at 504-888-9111.

For additional race information, please click here
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
800.766.7736 (toll free)