It's Who We Are...It's What We Do!!
 We are a family directed resource center for all individuals with disabilities and their families.  
Providing information, referral, and support through a network of services and assistance throughout Region 7.

Serving: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, Webster Parishes
Using People-First Language When Describing People With Disabilities

By Ann Logsdon
 

Person-first language is often considered the most respectful way to talk about disabilities and differences. It places the focus on the individual and not the issue he or she has. For example, someone might say, "he's ADHD" to describe a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Using person-first language, this would change to "the child who has ADHD."

You may have heard and even said things like "she's learning disabled" (instead of "she has a learning disability") without much thought, but such remarks can be hurtful, especially to children with special needs.

It may understandably take some time and effort to get used to using person-first language, but the effort is worth it. Speaking and writing this way communicates that you define an individual by their whole person, not their disability. It also conveys that you understand that someone is living with an issue not that their disability or difference is their whole life.

To use person-first language, simply say the person's name or use a pronoun first, follow it with the appropriate verb, and then state the name of the disability. E.g. Sam has epilepsy (instead of Sam's an epileptic).
 
Considerations and Perspectives
Many disability advocates believe that using person-first language helps teachers, therapists, parents, and service providers remember they are working with a person who has dignity, feelings, and rights. They are not a disability or a disease. They are people with a disability or disease. This shift is subtle but powerful.
It is important to note, however, that people with disabilities have their own preferences about how to discuss their differences. These may be highly individual or aligned with some consistent preferences among people in certain groups.

For example, in some deaf communities, it is preferable to say, "he's deaf," rather than "he has deafness." In some communities of the blind, "he's blind" is favored over "he has blindness." Some others may prefer to say, "person without sight."
When in doubt, observe and listen to the language used by a person with a disability or difference, and take your cues from what is said.

While organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association recommend that writers utilize person-first language, some researchers have suggested that this linguistic approach may have potential drawbacks.

One editorial published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry suggested that the use of such terminology in academic and professional writing may actually highlight and perpetuate disability stigma.3
 
Alternatives to Person-First Terminology
One of the major competing linguistic models is known as identify-first language. This approach suggests that "disabled" is not a label to be shunned or avoided.
 
People may not be their disability, but they may consider their disability an important part of their identity, as in the deafness example above.
 
Using this model, the condition is the first word used when talking about or identifying someone with a disability. For example, rather than describing the individual as a "person with autism" (as person-first language would suggest), identify-first language would recommend saying "an autistic person."
 
A Word From Verywell
The intent of person-first language and terminology is to discuss disabilities in a way that highlights the personhood of the individual involved. It's an approach that is favored by many, though—like anything else—perhaps not all.
 
It's helpful for everyone to be aware of how words they say may be interpreted in a way that doesn't match their intent—even when purposeful steps are being taken to be respectful. In the end, if someone is upset because of something you said, a sincere apology can help, as can asking them what they would have preferred you say and why.
 
If you'd like to learn more, the ADA National Network, a civil rights group for people with disabilities, has a reference for writers that anyone interested in person-first language may benefit from.









Your Child’s Educational Rights While Crisis Schooling: IEPs and 504 Plans in a Pandemic

Your child’s IEP or 504 Plan do not disappear with remote learning and crisis schooling. Though some accommodations — like occupational therapy — are no longer achievable with social distancing, many are still helpful and appropriate. Here, learn your legal rights and options for securing educational services while in quarantine.

Implementing IEP/504 Plans Has Changed
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) issued a Fact Sheet on March 21 that says public schools must provide a continued Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to students with IEPs and 504 Plans “consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those individuals providing…services.” Here are some of the highlights from the Fact Sheet, including the rights to which you and your child are entitled:
1. A number of disability-related modifications and services may be effectively provided online, including extensions of time for assignments, videos with captioning, accessible reading materials, and many speech or language services through video conferencing.
2. Federal disability law allows for flexibility in determining how to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities. Determining how FAPE is provided may shift in this time of national emergency. You should know that the Stimulus Relief Bill, passed March 27, gave the DOE 30 days to seek waivers of certain special-education requirements and during that time it did not cut back on student/parent rights to FAPE.
3. Know that, even in ideal remote learning situations, it is often difficult to individualize instruction. In addition, hands-on related services like occupational and physical therapy cannot be offered remotely. A similar issue exists for students whose IEPs provide for an aide in the classroom to help the child with attention and/or behavioral problems.
4. Another requirement of IEP and and 504 Plans that cannot be provided under the limitations of social distancing is an educational evaluation, which is mandated to occur within a specific time period following a request submitted by parents. However, IEP and 504 meetings can be held by telephone or video conferencing, which should allow for opportunities to “meet “ and discuss modifications to IEPs and 504 Plans in keeping with remote learning requirements.
5. Many accommodations in Section 504 Plans — extended time on exams or classroom strategies to address a child’s ADHD — may not be critical in home schooling environments, since many states and school districts are eliminating standardized exams for the remainder of the year.

How Parents Can Optimize IEPs and 504 Plans
Beyond the legal issues, home instruction is proving difficult for many families. Many of the most vulnerable students – those who are homeless, low income, or undocumented – have no Internet access or computers, despite efforts to ramp up availability of services and technology. Parents are expected to guide their children’s education, often while doing their own jobs remotely. Many parents are not equipped to deal with their child’s curriculum or learning challenges. As one parent shared in an email this morning, “The things they are asking us to do are so difficult. There are formulas and problems that my daughter has no clue how to solve. I didn’t go to school for special-education management.”
So what can parents do to help their children get the benefits of their IEP or 504 Plan while learning at home?
First, parents should take some preliminary steps:
  • Take a moment to review your child’s IEP or 504 Plan, noting accommodations and supports that have helped him excel at school.
  • Think about whether an accommodation is primarily technological – audio books, text-to-speech or speech-to-text software – and determine whether the accommodations being offered are working well
  • If an accommodation or support had been provided by direct teacher support or by support from another professional – speech therapy, behavior supports, occupational or physical therapy – consider how your child is managing in the absence of such support when working at home.

Next, communicate with your child’s school. Who you talk with depends on how things are going with home instruction and which supports your child needs but is not getting in an effective way.
  • If issues are primarily technological, find out if there is someone at the school acting as the point person on technology for this period of home schooling. A brief check in with the teacher, principal, or IEP/504 chairperson can point you in the right direction.
  • If issues relate to missing supports that are generally provided in person, you may be able to contact your child’s therapist directly. If not, reach out to the classroom teacher or IEP/504 chairperson about how to get in touch with your child’s therapist or how the school plans to provide these important services. One possibility can be working in a small group or one-on-one instruction on a video platform.

Keep in mind that your child’s teacher and school are also struggling with this experiment in remote learning. Delivering classroom instruction online is challenging to teachers, and even the most skilled teacher will probably not be as effective as she is in the classroom.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher(s), but recognize that they may be teaching while facing their own challenges. Be kind, patient, and firm in expressing your concerns.
  • When you believe an issue requires the attention of the IEP/504 Team, be persistent in getting their attention. Avoid “the blame game.” As you would in an in-person meeting, be collaborative and help everyone you understand that they need to work together to make sure your child isn’t denied FAPE while learning from home.

Make Up for Skills That May Have Been Lost
The DOE recognizes that situations may arise in which children do not receive services (or sufficient services) while schools are closed. They specifically note that if this occurs, “a child’s IEP team (or appropriate personnel under Section 504) must make an individualized determination whether and to what extent compensatory services may be needed, consistent with applicable requirements, including to make up for any skills that may have been lost.” This is far from ideal, but parents should keep this in mind for the next school year.

One small glimmer of light is that learning at home is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe, understand, and support your children as learners. Does your child have difficulty following her teacher’s complicated explanations? Seeing how the teacher presents a lesson, while watching how your child responds, is more illuminating than just reviewing your child’s homework or looking at her exam grades. This time at home together can help you better understand how she learns. Through careful observation, it is possible to identify patterns that help you better understand your child’s learning strengths and challenges and enable you to choose strategies based on that understanding.


**For more information on this topic, please contact Comeaka King at (318)226-4541/877-226-4541 or email her at cjames@fhfregion7.com.

Article reprinted from ADDitude www.additudemag.com

Face Mask Available

Families Helping Families Region 7 has FREE face mask available. If you have a disability, caregiver of an individual with a disability, elderly, or have a preexisting health condition and in need of face masks please give us a call at 318-226-4541 during business hours to schedule a pick-up time. Let’s stay safe and fight the spread of COVID together.

What is the Northwest Louisiana Human Services District
Developmental Disabilities Division?

The Northwest Louisiana Human Services District provides Mental Health, Addictive Disorder and Developmental Disability Services to the residents of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Webster Parishes.

For Developmental Disability Services the disability must:
 - Be present before the age of 22
 - Likely continue indefinitely

- Cause substantial limitations in three or more of the following seven areas:
* Self-Care              
* Mobility
* Language             
* Self-Direction
* Learning               * Capacity for Independent Living
* Economic Self Sufficiency (for persons 18 and older)

Some of the conditions that may result in a developmental disability are:
*Intellectual Disabilities                  
* Spina Bifida
* Cerebral Palsy                              
*Down Syndrome
*Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder            
*Prader-Willi
 *Autism                                               
*Traumatic Brain Injury

NLHSD-DD OFFERS:
Flexible Family Fund
Individual and Family Support
Residential Placement
Supports Waiver (SW)
New Opportunities Waiver (NOW)
Residential Options Waiver (ROW)
Children’s Choice Waiver (CC)

 
Referral and Intake
Anyone in the community can make a referral to the regional Human Services District office. For example, a parent, teacher, doctor or other professionals can call the local office at 318-741-7455, or stop by in person to 3018 Old Minden Rd., Ste. 1211, Bossier City, LA 71111.

For more information about NWLAHSD call Comeaka King at Families Helping Families Region 7 at (318)226-4541/877-226-4541 or email her at cjames@fhfregion7.com.
October is Safe Sleep Month

Most parents only associate October with Trick or Treating, but October is also Safe Sleep Awareness Month. Here are some facts and resources for you to help keep your baby safe.

Facts about safe sleep
  • Every year in Louisiana, about 100 infant deaths are classified as Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID).
  • A SUID is defined as a sudden and unexpected death, whether explained or unexplained (including SIDS), occurring during infancy.
  • SIDS is defined as a cause assigned to infant deaths that cannot be explained after a thorough case investigation, including scene investigation, autopsy, and review of the clinical history.
  • Of Louisiana’s SUID cases, over half are caused by suffocation or strangulation while the infant is sleeping.
  • About one in five SUID deaths occur while an infant is being cared for by someone other than a parent.
  • While there has been progress, SUID is still much more likely to occur in African American communities.

Links for additional information:

For more information, contact Monica Stampley, EarlySteps COS. monica.stampley@la.gov

*Facts taken from giveyourbabyspace.org*

Hanging with Friends aka HWF is Families Helping Families support group for self-advocates over the age of 18. Hanging with Friends was birthed out of the idea that all people should have friends as well as being active and included in their community.

HWF meets monthly to have fun, meet new people, and participant in community activities. Some activities include bowling night, movie night, eating out at local restaurants, community festivals, and holiday celebrations plus much more.

As a group we are serious about self-advocacy issues, but we also want to make you laugh and feel good about life. Join us to celebrate the strengths of self-advocates.

Most of all, let’s work together to help people live the life they want with the support they need.

All HWF activities can be found on our Facebook page or you can contact Comeaka King at 318-226-4541/877-226-4541 for location and time. 
Families Helping Families Region 7 Parent Support Group

Raising a special needs child can be stressful at times. Having others around to talk to and share your experience with can be a great way to reduce stress. Parents and family members of children with disabilities or special needs are encouraged to come, share, and learn with other parents. Our parent support group meets once a month at different locations around the city.
 
Please contact Monica Stampley at (318)226-4541/877-226-4541 or email her at monica.stampley@la.gov to find out more information about meeting location and time.

Shop at AmazonSmiles and giveback to Families Helping Families Region 7

Support Families Helping Families Region 7 by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com

AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know and love. Same products, same prices, and same services.
 
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Families Helping Families Region7 whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
Click Here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, while you are there check out some of our previous webinars.
Krogers Neighbor to Neighbor Donation Program

Families Helping Families Region 7 is proud to announce their participation in the Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Donation Program. If you shop at Kroger and use a KrogerPlus Card this is an easy and fast way to donate money to Families Helping Families Region 7 without coming out of your pocket. Kroger will donate money Families Helping Families Region 7 every time you use your card.

Families Helping Families Region 7 is so simple just register your Kroger online www.krogercommunityrewards.com.

You must have a registered KrogerPlus card account to link to FHF Region 7. If you do not have a KrogerPlus Card, cards are available at the customer service desk at any Kroger. If you are a new online customers, you must click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box.

You can sign up for a Kroger Community Rewards Account by entering your zip code, clicking on favorite store, enter your email address, create a password, and agree to the terms and conditions.
 
·You will get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email.
 
·You will click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step.
 
·You will click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number.
 
·You will update or confirm your information.
 
· You will enter our NPO number AW522 or our name Families Helping Families Region 7, or select Families Helping Families Region 7 from list and click on confirm.
 
 
To verify you are enrolled correctly, you will see Families Helping Families Region 7 name on the right side of your information page.
 
REMEMBER, purchases will not count for Families Helping Families Region 7 until after member(s) register
their card(s).

LET THE DONATING BEGIN!!

A Message From Your LaCAN Leader Mimi Rankin Webb
LaCAN Region 7 Review
Happy Fall to everybody from Mimi Rankin Webb, your LaCAN Leader Region 7. Remember, I am here to help you by providing information and support in all areas of our advocacy efforts. I can help answer your questions about agenda items, actions needed for the latest advocacy alerts, assist you when writing your legislator, help you schedule a legislative visit, and even guide you through the process of preparing your public testimony. 
Before we know it, it will be time to start scheduling our annual legislative visits! I will be looking for LaCAN members who are ready to share their personal stories and situations with policy-makers. Email me today, mwebb@lacanadvocates.org, if you are interested in going to visit your personal legislator and sharing your story, experiences and situations and I will put you on the list so we can be ready to go!


It’s Almost Time to Advocate!
It’s Kick-off time and we are gearing up for our next legislative session! Watch for LaCAN Action Alerts through social media and member email. These Action-Alerts help you better understand the issues we are advocating for and also guide you through how to voice your concerns about these issues whether you choose to make a phone-call or write an email to your policymaker about how proposed policy changes would affect your family. 
Don’t forget to confirm that you took action by either cc’ing me in your email, sending me a separate email or quick text, or even a quick phone-call letting me know you took action (leaving a voicemail works, too!) This way, we can stay updated with each other on our current situations for testimony opportunities both locally and in Baton Rouge during the legislative session if you are able to go! 

There is ALSO a NEW way you can take action through your cell phone via text that is totally free and fast! Did you know that you can text STATE to 50409 to write to your governor and legislators via Resistbot? It’s a quick and easy way to advocate on the go on ALL the issues! Simply follow text the word “STATE” TO 50409 and follow the text reply prompts to easily advocate over your morning coffee, while sitting in the carpool line waiting for the bell to ring or even in the doctor’s office waiting room. This is a game-changer for those of us on the go AND it works with your phone’s accessibility features! Just don’t forget to let me know that you took action on a specific Action-Alert or issue so we can be sure and keep track!

We need YOU at LaCAN Yellow Shirt Days!

When you receive a Yellow Shirt Action Alert, let me know if you can make the committee date. LaCAN yellow shirt presence reminds policymakers that their decisions affect people with disabilities. Seeing IS believing and this is a VERY powerful way to send a visual message to our policy makers! 
We typically carpool down for Yellow Shirt Days together & make a day of it at the capitol! This next session, we may even hold more virtual yellow-shirt day opportunities so that we can stay active in pandemic times, be seen AND make sure our policymakers hear our voices. It’s a great alternative during pandemic times to make sure our voices are heard loud and clear. Stay LOUD, LaCAN!

www.lacanadvocates.org Region 7 Advocacy Leader Mimi Rankin Webb mwebb@lacanadvocates.org 318-226-4541/1-877-226-4541
215 Bobbie St. Ste. 100
Bossier City, La. 71112
FOLLOW US
Board of Directors:
Aundrea Emerson - Chair/Parent, Kimberly Graham - Secretary, Michael Gould - Treasurer/Parent, and Shawanda Lee - Board Member

Board Meeting are held the last Monday of the month from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at our center or via ZOOM. Dates are subject to change. Please call our office to confirm meeting dates and location prior to attending.
To contact the FHF Region 7 Board of Directors, send an email to fhfboardofdirectors@fhfregion7.com.