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October 2022 Newsletter

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.

Community Events

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.

TCFEF Website

What's Happening?

Upcoming TCFEF Events

See what's happening on our TCFEF calendar by CLICKING HERE

Disability Business Spotlight

Disability IN Arkansas: Their mission is to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities, to inspire accessible innovation for all, and to foster cultures of inclusion.

Find webinar/workshop events by CLICKING HERE

Tips for Fall Festivities!

Holidays are fun but can be challenging for kids with disabilities.  Here are some suggestions:

*Use visuals or a schedule to lay out what Fall events like Halloween may include.

*Consider Trunk or Treating events if walking around a neighborhood is too tiring or stressful

CLICK HERE for other great tips from Easter Seals!


What's Already Happened

The Financial Planning Series webinar hosted by TCFEF Parent Mentor Loreena Hegenbart and presented by attorney and former TCFEF board member Thomas Smith was well received. There were tons of questions and information on guardianship and able accounts. CLICK HERE to catch it on Youtube.

Follow our FB page HERE or check out our calendar HERE to be informed about our next webinar on Special Needs Trusts!

The Pubery Workshop hosted by Texas PRN and TCFEF Parent Mentor Karen Lutrick and presented by Ruth Eyres in Texarkana was very informative! 

Follow our FB page HERE or check out our calendar HERE to be informed about our next workshop on Puberty for parents of kids with disabilties.

From the Director's Desk

About 18 years ago me and my best pal were knee deep in planning the first Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness in Jonesboro. We worked obsessively, day and night to make it a success. From gaining corporate sponsors and designing T-shirt’s, to making sure volunteers had coffee and cocoa the morning of the walk. All of it done by two women who didn’t have a child with or any viable connection to Down Syndrome. At some point during the planning process, I traveled to the national parent center conference in Washington. Back then you were required to stand and introduce yourself and provide insight as to why you were a part of the parent center movement. I was so nervous because I was new to my position in the parent center and had never even met most of the 200 people in the room. When it was my turn, I stood on wobbly knees and offered my name, organization, and said that my reason for being a part of the movement was that I had a 14-year-old son with DOWN SYNDROME. It slipped out before I could catch myself. I received some confused looks from those at my table who knew better. Paula Goldberg, the director of Pacer Center was sitting at the head table and making direct eye contact when I made my goof. She knew that my son Jeremiah had Autism. Her

eyes narrowed and I am sure I saw a slight smile curl her lips. Once all 200 introductions were complete, she took the mic and said, "Shelby, would you like to add anything?" Instantly famous for all the wrong reasons, I stood back up and recanted my previous introduction in part. Sharing my extensive reasons for the brain overload of all things Down Syndrome and then proudly proclaimed my allegiance to the world of autism. We raised more than $25,000 for our local Down Syndrome support group that inaugural year. Our hearts were in it, even if my brain was not..Although my son has Autism, I have always felt a kinship to all families of children with disabilities. Althought our lives may be different in some ways, there are way more similarities, especially in the fact we all want a better qualify of life for our children. It was many years later I started TCFEF and have continued working towards that goal. I hope everyone, regardless if they have a child with a disability or not, can come together and Celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month and all that we have achieved and still need to achieve in the disability world.

-Shelby Knight

From your Parent Mentors


"We can all agree on the importance of voting."...Jenna Bush. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Voting for people with disabilities can bring unique challenges. Here is a link to the Disability Rights Arkansas website with FAQ's, contact info, and videos about your voting rights in Arkansas: CLICK HERE

1st 9 Weeks

With report cards, IEP progress reports, and teacher/parent conferences happening right now, here are few tips to help during this stressful time:

*Celebrate accomplishments, big and small. Somethings may take longer for your child. But progress should be celebrated!

*If there are goals your child is struggling with or low grades in a certain subject, talk to your child's therapist or teacher.

*If you still have concerns, decide if an email, conference, or full IEP is needed to address them.

*You should be informed and included before major changes are made to your child's IEP.

Holiday Tips:

*try to keep routines as much as possible.

* talk to family members ahead of time and explain what expression of affection your child is comfortalbe with

* Christmas trees are still pretty without flashing lights.

*Fall decorations, Santa, and Elves can be scary so keep a safe distance if needed

* It is perfectly acceptable to have chicken nuggets instead of turkey and dressing.

Embrace the season in a way that works for your family for optimal Holiday Happiness!

TCFEF Board Member Spotlight

Board Bios

Ruth Eyres

Ruth Eyres is a strong advocate for persons with disabilities. She worked in the field of disabilities for many years, as a special educator, a special education consultant, and currently an assistant professor to special education teacher candidates at Henderson State University. She is a board member of the Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Developmental Disabilities and Autism, and is a past board member for The Ryan White Center in Arkansas. Ruth volunteers her time with her church youth group, is active in Arkansas Project Zero for children in foster care, and acts as a parent volunteer at Pulaski County Special School District. She is a parent of two children with disabilities and her and her family make their home in Sherwood. 

October is

Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

The mission of ADSA is "to empower people with Down Syndrome and their families by promoting community education, evidence-based health care and social opportunities across their lifespan." They have a variety of resources and put on numerous community events during the year in Arkansas that benefit children and adults with Down Syndrome. They are the largest organization in Arkansas for Down Syndrome. Click below to learn more!

ADSA Website

According to the National Down Syndrome Society:

*Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

*There are three types of Down syndrome

*People with Down syndrome can lead fufilling lives with the right supports!

To learn more about Down Syndrome from the NDSS, CLICK HERE

Update Arkansas (Medicaid)!

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