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What does TCFEF 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.

What's Happening?!

Upcoming TCFEF Events

See information on upcoming workshops and webinars, by CLICKING HERE

Community Events

November 17th at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Transition to Adulthood Open House:


November 18th in Little Rock. Sensory Friendly Santa:


November 29th in Jonesboro. Sensory Friendly Santa:


Community Connections hosts fun, free social events for kids with disabilities in Arkansas. They are always looking for volunteers to expand programs to more cities! They host annual fundraisers in May, October, and November. Follow the link to sign up for fun events for the kids, volunteer, and/or learn more about their fundraisers!

Learn More

Letter from the Director's Desk

It’s easy to find things to be thankful for this time of year. The devilish Arkansas heat is gone, the landscape is colored with breathtaking beauty, and our families have settled into a fluid routine that will carry us right to the doorstep of Christmas break. I am diving into the deep end of my thankful pool this year, past good health and a happy family. I’m reaching back into the distant past to be thankful for the educators and support staff in my son's life. From Ms. Linda in the EI program who, 32 years ago, was Jeremiah’s ‘mom’ away from home. To his first grade teacher Mrs. Goodman who taught him how to read. I’m also thankful for the casual teaching style of Ms. Dube in middle school, who recognized and accommodated his self regulation needs. And of course, for the junior and senior high teachers, Mrs. Lynn, Misty, Pam and Mrs. Tina for standing between my teenager and the administration, supporting him when he needed it the most. I’m especially thankful for Blake, the only classmate of Jeremiah’s in high school who went out of his way to be Jeremiah’s friend. I truly appreciate all the supportive staff and school personnel in his life years ago who outweighed the handful of administrators and teachers who were close minded and rigid in their ideals. My gratitude towards the individuals named is more than I can verbalize. My debt is far more than I can ever pay. Thank you for your contribution into the person my son is today! My hope for the families we help every year is that they also have school staff they are thankful for who make or have made a positive difference in their children's lives.

-Shelby Knight

Disability Resource Spotlight

Respite Care Vouchers!!
Respite care is a service that provides caregiving for your child with a disability so you can have a break. Funds are available with $300 per quarter and up to $1200 per year! If you already have respite care through Medicaid, you won't qualify. Funds are giving on a first come, first serve basis. Click to learn more!!

Learn More

TCFEF Board Member Spotlight

Elizabeth Band

Board Chairperson

Elizabeth is a former elementary school teacher and current stay-at-home wife and mom of two. Elizabeth and her husband received the diagnosis of a chromosomal disorder (trisomy 10, monosomy 2) for their son before his first birthday. Since then, they have dedicated time advocating for his medical, educational, and therapy needs. Elizabeth is excited about being on the board and advocating for other exceptional families.

More Board Bios

Shop for the Holidays and Support Artisans with Disabilities!

The Blue Umbrella is a unique gift shop where artists with disabilities can sell their creations! The idea is a collaboration between Arkansas Department of Health Services (DHS) and Division of Developmental Disability Services (DDS). It is located inside Arkansas DHS at 700 Main Street in Little Rock! Click below to learn more about shopping and also becoming an artisan for the shop!
Learn More

TCFEF Office Holiday Closure


We Will be Closed for Thanksgiving!

The Center for Exceptional Families would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! Our office will be closed from November 21st-25th.

News from Your Parent Mentors

Giving Thanks!

Thank you to all the families and professionals that connect with me through The Center for Exceptional

Families (TCFEF) and those past connections throughout my years of advocacy work. As a parent of a

child with a disability, I know the importance of that connection. I am grateful that I can give back that

support by sharing my knowledge and personal experiences with those whom our paths cross.

-Karen Lutrick, SW Central Region

Thanksgiving Tips!

Thanksgiving is a time for spending time with loved ones but can be stressful for families of children and adults with disabilities. Here are a few tips: make a schedule, explain the needs of your child to guests or hosts, bring sensory items and/or familiar toys for your child, make a quiet spot or area for your child to take a break. For more CLICK HERE

National Adoption Month

I receive a phone call from my niece, March 1998. She had a serious accident while pregnant which resulted in her having fractures in her pelvis and her unborn son would be born with microcephaly and other complications. She asked if my late husband and I would take Eysiah

because she was unable to care for his needs. Eysiah was a birthday present. Patrick and I began by being his legal guardian. We fell in love with him right away. Our 2 adult children were away on their own.

Patrick had retired from the service two years earlier. We had 3-bedroom house and we were empty

nesters. We waited 2 years to adopt him. The process of adoption was not difficult for us since this was

an open adoption. However, we did take Foster Parenting classes, had home inspections, had to write

about our personal lives, and of course find a lawyer. My late husband would tell people that God took two selfish people and changed us for the better through Eysiah. We (sort of) knew what we were in for, but Eysiah’s healthcare needs were taxing the first two years. But meeting other parents who had adopted special needs children helped us with our decision. The process can be very expensive,

challenging, but rewarding. It is such a privilege to be part of the Adoptive Parent community.

-Loreena Hegenbart, North Central Region

Change during the Holidays

We have a new parent mentor! We will announce and introduce her next month. Until then, here are some tips from our new parent mentor!

Change is hard! Even as adults, we sometimes dread change. The holidays can be a time of year when there are a lot of little changes: holiday parties that change the nighttime routine, out of town family visits, dinner at a different hour, presents before breakfast. These seem like simple changes but can make a big difference for children, especially children with disabilities. As we begin the holiday season, taking time to think about how we can support kids through these changes can make the whole season go a little smoother. Some tips:

  • When possible, give them time to prepare for change. (For children with disabilities, social stories are a great tool) 
  • Allow them to talk about their feelings as they go through changes.
  • Keep some of their routines - this will help them feel like they have some sense of control. (Ex. still read a book before bed) 
  • Try to limit some of your expectations (Ex: Holidays are not the time to try new foods. Let them continue to eat what they normally eat and you can try introducing new foods after the holidays).
  • Spend extra time with your child.

-K.S. NW and River Valley Region

November is Military Families Month!

Veterans day was November 11th. Thank you to our veterans in Arkansas and around the US for your service!

Loreena's Blog

As I was going through some old papers, I came across an “Outstanding Military Family” award given to my family while we lived in Amberg, Germany, December 10, 1986. I do not know how they chose our

family, but it was an honor. We were part of a small military community located near the Czech border.

Read More

TCFEF Military Resources

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