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 
June 2017
Saying Good Bye to Old Friends 
is Always Hard to Do
By:  Mary Jacob, Executive Director
Laura Nata, Nanette Olivier, Mary Jacob, Debra Dixon & Nancy Hicks
You've heard it repeated over and over again.  Doesn't mean you like it any more the tenth time you heard it than the first time.  But it's true, all good things must come to an end, and this couldn't be any truer as I type.  

From day one when I started my advocacy career I was fortunate enough to meet some ladies I could always count on.  These three ladies along with many other former employees of the Louisiana Department of Education truly understood parents and our desire to get the best possible education for our children with disabilities.  This didn't mean we always agreed on everything - in fact, I can remember several times we didn't, but they always respected the parents and did the best they could to help resolve problems when they existed.  They weren't the official complaint department or even the customer satisfaction people - they were more.  They were the people that chose to work at the Department of Education after years in a classroom, because they wanted to make a difference for children with disabilities.  

Debra Dixon, Nancy Hicks, and Nanette Olivier I fondly referred to as the Three Musketeers have survived the many changes at the Dept. of Ed over the last couple of decades.  They were real troopers and did their magic the best they could no matter where their desk was located on any specific day.  These ladies taught me more than they will ever realize about education, leadership, and working as a team.  They unknowingly provided guidance to this rookie mama when she needed it the most.  In my humble opinion, they were the backbone of the Special Education Department for many years.   

To say I was thrilled when all three showed up at our 25th Anniversary Celebration would be huge understatement.  All three have retired over the past 6 months and none of them needed to think about FHF ever again.  However, they were there to let us know how much they appreciated the FHF Centers and all we do for the families we support.  It was a true mutual appreciation for each other that seem to be getting rarer every passing day.  

So I say to these ladies, Debra, Nancy & Nanette - THANK YOU for everything you did to not only support the FHF Centers, but our families.  THANK YOU for dedicating your life to public education.  THANK YOU for being YOU and letting me be ME.  Trust me when I say, you might be retired - but your light is still shining very brightly.  
Employment Opportunity to Join Our Team at FHF

Families Helping Families of Jefferson is looking for a dynamic individual that wants to be our next information and training specialist.   This parent - to - parent position will provide training and support to other parents of children with disabilities.  The perfect candidate will have a good base of knowledge of special education laws and bulletins, belief in inclusion, home and community based services and ideally a parent of a child receiving special education services.  Minimum requirements include Excellent Microsoft Office skills; Great written and verbal communication skills, highly organized, reliable transportation with minimum state insurance requirements, an ability to work some nights and weekends, as needed.   To learn more specifics about the position, please click here. 
Time is Running Out to Complete the Louisiana Disability Needs Survey - Do it NOW - before its too late!

Upcoming Trainings 

- FHF June Webinars

Anatomy of an IEP - Thursday, June 8, 2017, 10:00 am - 11:00 am: Like a biology student, this presentation will dissect the parts of the IEP document and examine their functions individually, learning their meanings and application. It will provide constructive and practical tips to help create an IEP that supports all of the student's needs. We will explore the parent's role in the IEP process and learn the basics of their child's right to special education services, the process of developing special education plans, and the parent's role.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

IEP Tips and Pointers - Friday, June 9, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Tried and true tips on how to positively advocate for your children, strengthen the relationships between parents and service agencies, and help create the appropriate IEP program.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

Section 504 and Transition: The Bridge from High School to Postsecondary Services - Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm:In this workshop, we will assist you to understand the ITP process as it pertains to postsecondary education and other related services. We will also provide an overview of programs and resources available to your child entering postsecondary education or employment.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

Addressing Challenging Behavior - Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Parenting is a full-time job with many daily challenges. As parents, we teach our children what is the right thing to do and what they should not do. The purpose of this training is to help parents recognize the early signs of conflict and implement strategies that can manage the conflict in a proactive way and prevent the conflict from turning into a full-blown storm.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

Know Your Rights: Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools - Thursday, June 15, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm:  This presentation outlines guidance issued by ED on December 28, 2016, to help parents, students, local educational agencies (LEA), state educational agencies (SEA), charter schools, and others better understand the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools under Federal laws-
  • Joint Dear Colleague Letter (OSERS and OCR);
  • OSERS FAQ document about rights and responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and,
  • OCR FAQ document about rights and responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

Understanding the Evaluation Process in Special Education - Friday, June 16, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: You've noticed your child is not keeping up with the rest of the class and you suspect your child may have a learning disability. If you feel your child's needs aren't being met in the general education setting, he or she may be eligible to receive special education services. In this presentation, you will learn about the evaluation process in special education. Questions like, "When can I ask for an Evaluation?,"  "What is the process?," and "What are my child's rights?" and more will be answered.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

Related Services: How Do Special Education Services Relate To Your Child? - Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Every child is entitled to FAPE, a Free and Appropriate Public Education in the least restrictive environment. Related Services make FAPE possible, and for your child to learn alongside their peers. Related services are designed and implemented through the IEP process to meet the unique learning needs of your child. In this training, you'll learn what services are available, whether or not your child qualifies, and how to get started!
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

Anatomy of an IEP - Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Like a biology student, this presentation will dissect the parts of the IEP document and examine their functions individually, learning their meanings and application. It will provide constructive and practical tips to help create an IEP that supports all of the student's needs. We will explore the parent's role in the IEP process and learn the basics of their child's right to special education services, the process of developing special education plans, and the parent's role.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students

IEP Tips and Pointers - Thursday, June 22, 2017, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Tried and true tips on how to positively advocate for your children, strengthen the relationships between parents and service agencies, and help create the appropriate IEP program.
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

ALS, Communication & All That Jazz:  LSU Health - Human Development Center in collaboration with Team Gleason will be hosting a two-day conference entitled, ALS, Communication & All That Jazz at HDC (411 South Prieur Street) in New Orleans on June 9-10, 2017.  Presenters from across the country will address low-tech to high-tech communication strategies available for people with ALS (pALS) including AAC, Computer Access, Environmental Controls, Positioning and Mounting.  Click here for a copy of the registration form.   Click here for a copy of the program

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

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 June Youth Workshops-

Independence and Transportation, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, Lafreniere Park Foundation Center, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie,  LA 70006:
Transportation is a very important part of being independent. Riding a bus can be confusing if you were never taught how. This is why we are providing training that is specially designed for youth and young adults with disabilities. You will also learn about the different types of transportation services that Jefferson Parish Transit has.
To register, please call:  504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736

- FHF June Youth Webinars - 

I Need to Get Healthy - Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 6:00 pm  - 7:00 pm: Everyone wants to be healthy, but sometimes it's hard to get started. Summer time is the perfect time to find things we like to do that can help us get healthy. In this webinar, we will explore exercise, safety and how to advocate for healthy fun.

Are You Really My Friend? - Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Everyone wants and needs friends, but how can you tell if someone is really your friend? People with disabilities or special needs are often bullied and abused by "so called friends." These "so called friends" might treat you badly by screaming/yelling at you, hitting you, or even forcing you to do things you do not want to do.
This webinar will give you basic information about how to recognize if someone is being a real friend to you or just using you. You will also get tips on how to recognize true friendship.

- Youth Featured Resources - 

Work is an important part of life.  This guide reviews a three-stage career development process.  Career development is an approach to help you make satisfying job choices. This is a great resource provided by the Institute for Community Inclusion. 

If you receive disability benefits and want to work, learn how you can take advantage of the Ticket to Work program and sill keep your benefits and Medicare coverage while you make the transition.  This resource is provided by the Social Security Administration.   This publication is also available in Spanish

Just off the Press - Hot Items

The US Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued this memo to reinforce the key points made in their November 12, 2014 letter that addresses whether a State Department of Education (SDE) or a Local Education Agency (LEA - School Districts) is permitted to establish procedures that further define the disability category, "visual impairment including blindness".  The memo provides additional guidance on this important issue and shares information from outside resources related to the identification and evaluation of children suspected of having a visual impairment including blindness.  
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.

Fitness for Kids Who Don't Like SportsTeam sports can boost kids' self-esteem, coordination, and general fitness, and help them learn how to work with other kids and adults. But some kids aren't natural athletes, and they may tell parents - directly or indirectly - that they just don't like sports. What then?

Actividad fisica para los ninos a los que no les gustan los deportes - Los deportes en equipo pueden mejorar la autoestima, la coordinación y las condiciones físicas generales de los niños, además de ayudarles a aprender a trabajar con otros niños y adultos. Pero algunos niños no son atletas innatos y es posible que le digan, directa o indirectamente, que no les gustan los deportes. ¿Qué hacer entonces?

Get help writing a great resume - This website offer tips and free templates to build your resume. It also helps you format your resumes to look more organized and highlight important details.

Is a Louisiana ABLE Account Right for You? - The Louisiana Achieving A Better Life Experience (LA ABLE) Savings Account is a new opportunity for individuals with disabilities and their families to save for the future. Frequently Asked Questions, Louisiana Legacy Law, LLC. 

Summer Safety Tips: Staying Safe OutdoorsKeep your family safe this summer by following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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.

Samantha and her mother, Tammy, came in contact with Families Helping Families of Jefferson (FHF) through our Interagency Transition Team meetings held every semester at all the high schools in Jefferson Parish. Since our first meeting at East Jefferson High School, Samantha has grown to be a great example for others.

This section will give you information on events FHF of Jefferson 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.

Inclusion Art Contest -  To bring greater awareness of the importance of inclusion in today's society, the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs (GODA) encourages you to participate in the 2017 Inclusive Art Contest. GODA will be accepting entries that illustrate or describe ideas related to this year's theme and accompanying definitions of inclusion of persons with disabilities. This year's theme is "Together We Succeed." Award medals and special recognition from Governor John Bel Edwards will be presented to the artists who submit winning artwork. The Inclusive Art Contest is open to all residents of Louisiana. Contestants are encouraged to use art as a means to share their vision, experiences, and talents to demonstrate this year's theme. 

Winning entries will be publicly displayed. All entries must be submitted by September 1st, 2017. For the registration form, click here. Please call (225) 219-7550 or email [email protected] should you have any questions.

Jefferson Parish Self Advocate Needed for the Jefferson Parish Regional Advisory Council (RAC).  Currently there is a vacancy for one self advocate. This person must live in Jefferson Parish and have a developmental disability.  Must have transportation to quarterly meetings held on the West Bank and East Bank JPHSA offices. Click here to view the purpose of the RAC. Anyone interested should contact Brenda Gremillion at [email protected]

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 May 26, 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! 
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)