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 
March 2017
From:  Mary Jacob, Executive Director
March is a beautiful month in Louisiana.  The weather starts warming up - assuming it got cold, flowers start blooming, leaves return to trees, daylight savings time starts, crawfish are plentiful and all the spring festivals are gearing up.  It's also the month to look at individuals with disabilities and celebrate the wonderful things they accomplish every day.  As the Executive Director of Families Helping Families of Jefferson and Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center, we celebrate individuals with disabilities daily - not just in March.  But we do want to do a social media blitz - sort of a screaming out to the world - look at me and what I've accomplished, because so many people that hasn't had a truly meaningful relationship with someone with a disability seem to think individuals with disabilities either don't have goals and dreams or can't accomplish the same things someone without a disability may accomplish.  

So, I'd ask you to scream it from the mountain tops - but we don't exactly have mountains in Louisiana.  So help me scream it from Monkey Hill, or the Shell Office Building, or the State Capital, or the Calcasieu Bridge or the Terry Bradshaw overpass or where ever you may be - PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE PEOPLE FIRST! They CAN and DO do awesome things every single day.

During the month of March, follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) and read the wonderful stories of Louisianians with disabilities and what makes them more like us than not.  I hope these stories inspire you to share them with others that need some examples of people with disabilities doing both remarkable and unremarkable things daily.  I use the word unremarkable because most people with disabilities don't see themselves doing anything remarkable.  They would be the first to ask you why is it not remarkable when you do it - but remarkable when I do it?   For these folks, it's just life - just like it is for the rest of us.  So share our posts, like our posts, retweet our posts, and most importantly - share your own stories on our social media sites.  All we ask is that you use the hashtags #ThinkABILITY and #FamiliesHelpingFamilies.  

Click here to learn more about #ThinkABILITY, 

Upcoming Trainings 

FHF March In-Person Workshops -

Working with Families in Today's Complex World - Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001: Interacting with and supporting families experiencing complex problems is a challenge as they try to navigate systems. Are you considering all issues families face when working with your clients? Are you truly understanding what caretaking means in today's world? Are you effectively reaching them or just shuffling out resource phone numbers? Increase your agency and staff awareness of the culture of care taking in our world today and what it really takes for families to succeed.  Click here for more information!

To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736 

Una introduccion para cambiar el comportamiento, jpor fin! - Jueves, March 23, 2017, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, Old Metairie Library, 2350 Metairie Rd., 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 del programa de educación individualizada (IEP**).
*ABA se deriva del Inglés 'Applied Behavior Analysis.'

Para registrarse, llame al: 504-888-9111 Minerva Flores Ext. 219

Implementing Act 833 in a Student's IEP: Tools for Successful Outcomes - Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001: ALL students deserve high expectations that will prepare them for life beyond high school. Students with disABILITIES, now more than ever, are able to earn a high school diploma through alternative academic pathways and job-related training. Planning for students on an alternative pathway is very similar to planning for students on the traditional pathway. During this workshop, you will get an in-depth look at Louisiana's Act 833, understanding of alternative pathways available to students with disABILITIES, planning, graduation requirements, and the role/responsibility of the IEP Team and school in implementation.  Click here for more information!

To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736

- FHF March Webinars

Understanding the School Discipline Process Through IDEA and IEPs - Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm:  Learn about functional behavioral assessment (FBA), behavior intervention plans (BIP) and how to be proactive in addressing behavior in your child's IEP.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

Moving Up: Planning Your Child's Successful Transition at Age 3 - Thursday, March 9, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Prepare and plan for a smooth transition from Early Steps/early intervention. This presentation includes an overview of various programs and services that may be available for three year old with special needs in your community.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of Infants 0 - 3 years
Section 504: The OTHER Service Option - Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 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. 
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

On Time, Prepared, and In Control: Executive Functioning Strategies for  Success Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: When students have issues with executive functioning, any task that requires planning, organization, memory, time management and flexible thinking becomes a challenge. We will explore these challenges as well as strategies to help your students improve their executive skills and manage the difficulties. 
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students
Creating your Self Direction Book - Thursday, March 16, 2017, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm:  Are you considering Self-Directed Waiver Services? If so, this session is for you.  Karen Scallan, will help you develop your own self-direction book and be able to create a plan and policies that work for you or your child and your home.  Karen will provide all attendees who complete the ending survey free editable forms for you to use in developing your book.
Audience: Parents, Self-Advocates, Caregivers, and Professionals of ALL Ages

Creating your Self Direction Book - Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Are you considering Self-Directed Waiver Services? If so, this session is for you.  Karen Scallan, will help you develop your own self-direction book and be able to create a plan and policies that work for you or your child and your home.  Karen will provide all attendees who complete the ending survey free editable forms for you to use in developing your book.
Audience: Parents, Self-Advocates, Caregivers, and Professionals of ALL Ages

The Big IDEA! What's the Big IDEA Behind Inclusion? - Thursday, March 23, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: One of several vitally important components in the development of the IEP is making placement decisions.  This webinar will provide you with information and resources on three of IDEA 's fundamental requirements:
  •  that the child receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE)
  •  in the least restrictive environment (LRE)
  •  and parent involvement in placement decisions.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

Extended School Year (ESY) Services - Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm: Extended school year (ESY) services are required special education and related services provided beyond the limits of the school term, in accordance with the child's individualized education program (IEP), and at no cost to the parents. These services are necessary in order to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE). This webinar will be an opportunity to learn more about the federal regulations that specifically address ESY services. Additionally, it will provide parents with the information on requesting these services and how IEP teams determine the need for ESY services.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

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

Louisiana Autism Quality Indicators Autism Training Modules:  Self Guided Trainings:  LSUHSC Human Development Center has created a variety of on-line trainings.  The topics are:  
  • Preparing for Transition:  Evidence-Based Practices to Support Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder after High School
  • Addressing Behavior
  • Roadmap to Success:  The Case for Inclusive Education
  • Social Smarts:  Addressing the Complexities of Social Interaction for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Related Disabilities
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Fundamentals of Communication
  • Collaboration Rules and Tools
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Environment Supports for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Related Disorder
Supported Employment CORE Training:  March 14, 15, & 16, Lafayette, LA:
LSUHSC Human Development Center in collaboration with APSE is providing statewide Employment Specialist Core Training.  

Louisiana Disability Summit Training:  March 30, 2017, 10 am to 3 pm, Baton Rouge: Free Educational opportunity to assist agencies with meeting the state mandatory training requirements.  Training day topics include criminal background checks, medicaid fraud, abuse & neglect, incident reporting, RN delegation for medication administration & non-complex tasks and client assessments.  For additional information on how to register, email:  [email protected]

Conference being provided by LSUHSC Human Development Center will convene in New Orleans to work with school leaders and practitioners tp provide state of the art information on best practices. 
This is YOUR section of the Newsletter!  

This section will feature trainings and resources specific to youth between the ages of 16 - 26 years old.  

- FHF March Youth Webinars - 

Want a Job? - Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm:  This training will teach you important skills you must have in order to get and keep a job. Your boss wants to know you will show up on time, be dressed for the job, and be ready to work. What does that mean? Get on this webinar and learn how to get the job you want. This training is created for youth, but all others are invited to register.

- Youth Featured Resources - 

Speaking directly to youth with disabilities, this 28-page booklet comes from PEATC, the PTI for Virginia. In addition to multiple transition planning worksheets, the booklet also includes several checklists and discussions of self-advocacy.
Source:  Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center 

Work is an important part of life. People with disabilities benefit from working as much as or more than people without disabilities do. The benefits from work include financial independence and security; increased self-confidence; personal growth; skill development; and a better social life. Perhaps you would like to work but have not been encouraged to do so by your family, friends, or support people in your life. Maybe you are not certain if you can work or what kind of work might be right for you. This is a guide for you. This guide reviews a three-stage career development process. Career development is an approach to help you make satisfying job choices.
In person-centered career planning, your personal preferences, goals, and dreams are the focus. A person-centered approach does not mean you have to tackle job exploration all on your own. It does mean that anyone who helps you in your career search and the development of your career dreams respects your wishes and helps you to focus on your skills and abilities.

#ThinkABILITY 2017

We Need To Know

Families Helping Families of Jefferson and Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center is currently asking individuals to complete an on-line survey of their satisfaction of some of our services.  

The survey is only 10 questions and shouldn't take you  more than a few minutes to complete.  We would appreciate you completing it and letting us know how you feel about some of our services.  

Save - the - Date



New Options in Participating 
New IT company
$10,000 Agency Goal
Champions Needed NOW to Reach Goal!


Just off the Press - Hot Items

Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) issues a letter to LRS providers stating "no new Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE's) can be approved for persons determined eligible and assigned to Order of Section Groups 1 through 5 (All Order of Selection Groups) after February 22, 2017.  

Louisiana's Every Student Succeeds Act Framework - This document is the second draft of Louisiana's ESSA state plan framework issued for public consideration and comment. It reflects feedback captured through statewide dialogue about Louisiana's long-term plan for educating children. A final plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for approval in April in order to provide educators and families with clear expectations prior to the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff - This guide was created for educators, school support staff and service providers who teach, mentor and help open the doors of opportunity for undocumented youth and unaccompanied and refugee children currently living in the United States. Educators, school support staff and service providers are often the first individuals a student and/or family comes out to as undocumented. Moreover, they are often the first ones to witness the impact of increased enforcement measures on students and their families. It's critically important that educators, school support staff and service providers know the tools and resources available to help protect and prepare youth and families for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid. 

Resource Guide:  Building a Bright Future for All:  Success in Early Learning Programs and Elementary School for Immigrant Families - This January 2017 resource from the U.S. Department of Education was developed to enhance state and local efforts to support immigrant children from birth through the elementary grades. The first half provides tips for educators in early learning programs and elementary schools as well as schools, districts, and States to: (1) facilitate school enrollment by immigrant families; (2) promote healthy child development in the school setting; (3) encourage caregiver engagement in their children's education; and (4) build staff knowledge about immigrant children and their educational needs. The second half provides tips for parents and guardians on how to facilitate children's learning and education starting at birth. 

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.

USDA Choose My Plate - MyPlate is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. Everything you eat and drink matters. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future. 

Each year, roughly 6 million students with disabilities, ages 6 to 21, receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Although special education is a source of critical services and supports for these students, students of color with disabilities still face a number of obstacles impeding their ability to succeed in school.

How to Apply for SSI - This link leads to an online guide that helps families understand SSI in a personalized way. The guide will help you figure out if your family qualifies for SSI, find out how to apply and how to make appeals, helps you figure out what other benefits your family might qualify for, and it also helps you learn how to become a representative payee. This guide includes information specific to Massachusetts. If you live in another state, you may still find this guide helpful since SSI is a national program. The application process is the same from state-to-state, but some of the state programs have different names.

Know Your Rights: Students with ADHD - If you are the parent or guardian of a student in public elementary or secondary school, including a charter school, and that student has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the information below summarizes your rights and your school district's legal obligations under a Federal civil rights law that prohibits disability discrimination called Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). 
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.

Thanks for leading me in the right direction! For FHF of Jefferson staff, assisting parents of newly diagnosed children in the CSHS-Family Resource Clinic at Children's Hospital is nothing new and something they are very passionate about.

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.

Parent Power Forum, Saturday, March 11, 2017, 9:00 am, Southern University at New Orleans, 6400 Press Dr., New Orleans, LA 70126: The U.S. Department of Education & SUNO have partnered with Modern Parents Magazine to conduct a Parent/Community Forum in Louisiana. The PARENT POWER Forum is a day of workshops presented by national speakers and experts, as well as state and local experts. Workshops will address parenting, education, physical & mental health, nutrition, classroom management, milestones and learning styles. Click here for more information!

Lakeside Kids Expo, Saturday, March 11, 2017, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm, Lakeside Shopping Center, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, LA 70002 - The purpose of the Expo is to provide parents with a one-stop shopping event to preview summer camps, schools, as well as kids activities/programs/and services. In addition, the mall will be filled with fun activities for the kids, live entertainment, prizes, and more! Click here for more information!

NOLA Disability Pride Festival, Saturday, March 25, 2017, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, Advocacy Center of Louisiana, 8325 Oak St., New Orleans, LA 70118: NOLA Disability Pride Festival a one-day festival for the disability community of the Greater New Orleans area, bringing together individuals and organizations around the mission of disability pride. All people, with or without disability, are invited to attend. The event includes a community resource fair featuring disability organizations, vendors and fun activies, entertainment and a silent auction. The NOLA Disability Pride Festival is a project of the Quirky Citizens Alliance with assistance from the Advocacy Center of Louisiana.

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.

Waiver Registry Dates - As of February 24, 2017, 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

LaCAN (Louisiana Council's Advocacy Network).  LaCAN will now keep you informed about opportunities to advocate for systems change in home and community-based services, employment, and education.   Click here to join!

Down Syndrome Association of Acadiana is proud to have spearheaded and succeeded in a Down syndrome awareness license plate for Louisiana.  Now is the time to make the change and show your advocacy on a daily basis by showing off our new license plate.  To order your awareness plate click here.  For additional information, call 337.234.3109.
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.

Families Helping Families of Jefferson is proud to celebrate our 25th year providing support to families throughout the State of Louisiana! 
 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)