Phone: (870)-336-3012 Toll Free (888)-360-9654
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What does The Center for Exceptional Families do?
Knowledgeable Parent Mentors
Our mentors are parents of children with disabilities. They have life and work experiences plus training that make them uniquely qualified to help parents and schools work together to improve outcomes for children with disabilities.
We provide information for caregivers of children with disabilities like resources, presentations, workshops, and other materials. We also connect with schools and other community organizations.
Family Fun
TCFEF is proud to present Sensory Cinema in Jonesboro, which allows caregivers, and children and adults with disabilities to watch movies in a sensory friendly environment. We hope to expand this program to more cities.
A Note from TCFEF Staff
April is the Month of the Military Child so, “Purple UP!” AND Autism Awareness Month so “Blue UP!”  

The “Month of the Military Child” was created under then Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger in 1986. The Defense Department saw the significance of the sacrifice and hardship children and teens encountered while their military parent was busy with military duties at home or deployed. During the Month of the Military Child, all 50 states will acknowledge this by sharing their stories, planning activities, as well as recognizing schools and that qualify for the Purple Star School program. There are currently 7 school districts and 78 schools in Arkansas that will proudly fly their Purple Star banner.  The goal is eventually for all Arkansas schools to recognize military-connected children/teens whether their parent is active duty, reserve, or retired. TCFEF is making Mondays "Purple Up" days to honor the resiliency and sacrifices of military families and their children.

Autism Awareness month is also in April! In 1970, the Autism Society worked to promote Autism awareness and help kids and adults with Autism and their loved ones achieve a higher quality of life. In 1972, they held an Autistic Child's week in April and it wasn't long after that, April became National Autism Awareness Month. Organizations, schools, medical staff, self-advocates, families, and businesses hold various events and activities to bring awareness to Autism and advocate for more supports, services, and acceptance of people with Autism. Contact your local schools and organizations to see what they may have planned for Autism Awareness Month! TCFEF is here all April and year round to advocate, celebrate, and empower kids and adults with Autism and their families!

-Loreena Hegenbart has been a parent mentor for TCFEF for 7 years. She currently services the North Central Region. She is a mother and one of her children has a disability. Her husband served in the military for 23 years. She was recently appointed to the Arkansas Council for Military Children.
Purple Up! and Blue Up! for April
Shelby Knight
TCFEF Director
Karen Lutrick
Parent Mentor, SW & Central
Teresa Hendrix
Parent Mentor, Northeast
Michele Lappin
Parent Mentor, Delta
Administrative Assistance
TCFEF Office
TCFEF April Events!
Sensory Cinema viewing of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 at Malco Cinema in Jonesboro April 9th at 9AM!! $11 per ticket which includes popcorn and drink! FREE tickets for adults with disabilities living in group homes or residential settings! Come join us for a sensory and judgement free experience.
The Dandelion is the flower of the military child. Putting roots down in Arkansas? Or need some nation-wide resources? Check out the TCFEF website! We have added a Military Families Resource page in time for April. Check it out!
Autism Awareness
Beyond Awareness to Empowerment
Neuroclastic is run by Autistic people and their goal is to work towards a future that is more accepting, accommodating, and empowering for Autistic people. They have tons of articles and resources made for and by Autistic people. Click below to find some resources, articles, and graphics.
Tools for Autism Safety
The NAA's mission is to respond to the most urgent needs of the Autism community. They have many programs focused on safe living in the community for children and adults with Autism including their Big Red Safety Box initiative. Click below to find out more.
People First

Places the person first. For example: "Child with Autism" or "Adult with Autism" or "He has Autism."
Identity First

Places the identity or disability first. For example: "Autistic child" or "Autistic adult" or "She is Autistic."
Watch the video below to learn more about both PFL and IFL!
Month of the
Military Child!
Month of the Military Child

The Military Child Education Coalition's mission is to support military children by educating, advocating, and collaboration to resolve educational challenges associated with military life. Click below to find a MOMC toolkit, information about various organizations, resources, and fun activities.
Purple Up!

Does your school want to participate in Purple Up? Purple up occurs across the US and includes many different school and district wide activities to show support for military children. Click the button below to find Purple Up resources and activities for April from the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commision (MIC3) whose mission is to address educational issues for children of military families.
Want to become a Purple Star School?

Find out information on how to become a Purple Star school and support children of military families in your school and district!
Recognizing Purple Star Schools!
We appreciate and recognize Arkansas' Purple Star Schools!! A list of these schools and districts can be found by clicking below.