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 
November 2017
FHF of Jefferson 
Expands Service Area
By:  Mary Jacob
Last month the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) awarded our center with contracts to continue supporting families of children with disabilities in Jefferson Parish and to start supporting families of children with disabilities in Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes.  Our office has long supported families in these parishes through our federal PTI grant, but now we have additional financial support in these concentrated areas.  
We are working closely with the LDOE to create goals that are meaningful for each parish.  These goals include a comprehensive outreach program in each parish and additional trainings, meet and greets, and other activities that will promote improved outcomes for students with disabilities.  We've already started meeting with special education directors and staff in each parish and look forward to meeting new families. 
We are thankful the LDOE recognized the work we already did in these parishes and our ability to continue meeting the needs of families in these parishes. 
During this month of thankfulness, I'd like to give a huge thanks to all the families that we are privileged to support.  Thanks for trusting us and our ability to empower you to be great advocates for your children.  I'd like to thank my phenomenal staff that works tirelessly to give families the best support they can provide.  Also, I'd like to thank our wonderful Board of Directors, who volunteer their time, talent, and resources to ensure we have everything we need to be a strong, effective organization.  I hope everyone has a special Thanksgiving!

We Want To Make You 
a Star!

We need you!  We will be redoing a lot of our products and want to feature our families.  Do you have some great high resolution pictures of your child, siblings, family?  Send us your best pictures and let us decide if we can use them.  All pictures need to be emailed in an attached file to Bebe at  bbode@fhfjefferson.org.  Please only send jpeg and png formats.  Professional and iphone pictures are good, as long as they are high quality photo's.  


Check out these other great articles we've provided for you this month: 
Upcoming Trainings 

Facebook Live Mini-Trainings for November

FHF Facebook Live Mini Trainings are short interactive trainings to give you the information you need to know now. Topics will be on hot subjects at the moment, interactive, and maybe even with a little added fun thrown in there occasionally. No registration is required.  You just need to sign onto Facebook and go to our Facebook Page .  So like us on Facebook and we'll share our LIVE sessions with you!

You're Hired! - Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 12:30 pm - Hosted by: Sue Killiam, LSU-HDC and Laura S. Nata, FHF of Jefferson:  The majority of young adults with disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed, despite their ability, desire, and willingness to work in the community. Join in the conversation on how to make this happen

 In-Person Trainings in November by FHF 

FHF offers monthly in-person trainings on hot topics that can be best addressed in person.  These are topics that require more time and allows for more participant interactions.  Let us know if there is an in-person training you'd like to have us do.

Basic Rights in Special Education - Friday, November 3, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, West Bank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, La. 70058: Whether you are new to special education or have been involved for a while, this workshop is for you. This presentation introduces parents of children with special needs to their rights and responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Parents begin to identify dreams and goals for their children, understand laws, and learn advocacy strategies that will assist them in helping their children reach these goals. Those who will benefit from attending are parents of children identified as a special education student or of children who are having difficulty in school but are currently unidentified.  Click here for more information!
To register, please call 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736

Creating Financial Security for a Loved One with Special Needs - Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, La 70001: This presentation helps educate individuals with a special needs child on how to prepare for two generations of financial security. The presentation will show attendees how to build a team and cover the key financial aspects to a special needs plan.   Click here for more information!
To register, please call 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736

 Webinars in November by FHF 

FHF and LaPTIC webinars are designed for busy people that doesn't have the time to attend an in-person training.  Webinars are just 60 minutes long and offers time for questions and answers.  In additional to our staff, webinars frequently have knowledgable professionals presenting on topics they are considered specialist in.  Don't  see what you need?  Let us know and we'll do our best to bring you what you need. 

Related Services - Thursday, November 2, 2017, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Children with disabilities are entitled to special education and related services. The IEP must contain a statement of the special education, related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child. Participants will learn several critical elements used to determine what related services a student needs.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Autism 101: From Diagnosis to Treatment - Thursday, November 2, 2017, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: This course will provide participants with an overview of the diagnostic criteria for autism, common behavioral challenges, and evidence-based interventions.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Understanding the Evaluation Process in Special Education - Thursday, November 9, 2017, 11:00 am - 12:00 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. Join us and learn all you need to know about getting the evaluation process started for your child.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

IEP vs Section 504 Plans: Which Is Right for My Child? - Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Children with disabilities who qualify for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) receive services under an IEP plan. However, some children with disabilities do not receive services under an IEP but are instead served under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). Participants will learn the similarities as well as differences between the IDEA and Section 504.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Accommodations vs Modifications - Thursday, November 16, 2017, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Meeting after meeting, parents and teachers use the words  "accommodation" and "modification" almost interchangeably when discussing IEPs and student needs. If  understood and used correctly, these words can greatly impact the success of a child's educational  program. Get answers to these questions and more: How can accommodations and modifications help my  child in the general education classroom? How is it included in IEP and which accommodations are  provided for state testing?
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Procedural Safeguards - Thursday, November 16, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Since the first federal law dealing with the education of students with disabilities in public schools was passed, legal rights for parents has been an important part of the law. These legal rights for parents are generally referred to as "procedural safeguards". The purpose of this webinar is to let parents know that they have legal rights and to help them understand what these rights are.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act: After High School - Friday, November 17, 2017, 10:00 am - 11:00 am: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504. On today's topic Section 504 and Transition we will Bridge from High School to Postsecondary Services. In this webinar we will help you to understand the ITP process as it pertains to postsecondary education and other related services.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Know Your Rights: Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools - Friday, November 17, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 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.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Back to School Basics: The IEP - Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 10:30 am - 11: 30 am:  Being a parent is the most wonderful and hardest job in the world. If you have a child with special needs, your job is no less wonderful, but it can be very challenging. Your child's specialized education is probably an area of great interest to you. As a child with a disability, he or she may be eligible for special education services in school. If so, then it will be important for you to learn:
  • more about special education;
  • how special education services can support your child; and
  • what is your role in the special education process?
Join us so we can bring clarity to the education maze.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

View our full calendar of events here. 

 E-Learning Mini Modules by FHF 

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 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 by Others

Together We Can Conference, Making a Difference for Abused and Neglected Children! - Tuesday, November 7, 12 - 5 pm; Wednesday, November 8, 8:30 am - 9 pm; and Thursday, November 9, 2017, 8:30 am - 2 pm:
The conference for professionals and volunteers who are working together to make a difference for abused and neglected children. We strive to be a multi-disciplinary event with sessions that will address the educational needs of social workers, attorneys, judges, educational leaders, CASA staff and volunteers, Child Advocacy Center staff, Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDT), law enforcement, foster parents, counselors, faith-based leaders and more!

LaDDC 2017 Conference - Raising Expectations: Employment for All!  Thursday, November 9, 2017, 8 am - 3:30 pm:
National experts, Allan I. Bergman and Dr. Steven  Hunt, will be sharing information on supporting individuals with severe disabilities in competitive employment.  More information about the conference speakers, registration costs and hotel reservations can be found on the Council's website

Do you have an idea for a training?  Is there something you need that isn't being offered?  Share your suggestions and ideas for training topics with us.  

Teens & Young Adults  with Disabilities:
This section will feature our trainings and resources specific to individuals between the ages of 16 - 26 years old.  Of course, others are welcome to check them out too!

- FHF November Webinars for Teens & Young Adults - 

Job Hunting: Step 3 - The Interview - Monday, November 6, 2017, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Job interviews can be scary. But you can still do it. An interview is just a meeting for you to talk about yourself and what you can do for them. Even if you don't get the first job you interview for, you never give up. That interview was experience for your next one. This webinar will give you tips on how to have a successful interview.

-  Resources for Teens & Young Adults -

Cell Phone & Other Mobile Device Safety Tips
A tip sheet that is meant to help youth stay fun and safe on cell phone.
Fire Safety for Individuals with Disabilities
A website with lots of educational materials and safety tips for people with disabilities.

Internet Safety
A white paper created to help individuals with disabilities learn how to stay safe on the internet.

Internet Safety
Tips developed to help youth stay fun and safe on both the fixed and mobile social web.

Video Sharing Safety Tips
Many youth today are video-literate - able to communicate in a medium once reserved for highly trained professionals with expensive equipment.  This is a tip sheet to help youth keep their video-sharing safe and constructive.

Hot  off the Press

On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13777, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda," which established a Federal policy "to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens" on the American people. In accordance with the Executive Order, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) published a notice in the Federal Register on June 22, 2017, seeking input on regulations and guidance that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. The deadline for submitting input was September 20, 2017.   OSERS is currently reviewing regulations and guidance in phases, which includes analyzing the input submitted by the public. The first phase involved reviewing guidance that OSERS has published on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA ), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973  (Rehab. Act ), as amended. Initially, we evaluated the guidance to determine those that were outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective. At this time, OSERS has a total of 72 guidance documents that have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective-63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).  Click here for a list of the documents that have been rescinded. 
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.

Supported decision making is a way to get help making your own choices. How can you find the right supporters to help you make supported decisions? This link leads to a guidebook for individuals and families to help them with supported decision-making.  

A Guide to a Very Special Holiday - The holidays can be a hectic, stressful time for all families. This time of year can be especially overwhelming for families of individuals with autism. Preparing and planning early for the holidays can help you relieve some of the holiday stress. We have put together some tips and resources to help you ease your stress during the holidays, and enjoy this wonderful time of year!
8 Tips to Help Ensure Happy Holidays for Families with Children with Disabilities - For most, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. However, busy shopping malls, big and bright decorations and large gatherings can quickly overwhelm a child who has a disability. Children may experience overstimulation from schedule changes and visiting new places. Straying from a normal routine can also lead to acting out or withdrawal.  Included below, we've compiled eight expert tips to help ensure great gatherings, whether around the holidays or anytime of the year:

Coping with the Holidays Survival GuideFor many people, Christmas and the holiday season are a happy and joyous time, enriched by reuniting with family and friends. But year's end can also be very stressful. Old patterns of behavior emerge, our stress levels rise, and our ability to cope flies out the window. 

Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving with Your Special Needs ChildThanksgiving is almost  here, you're worried about multiple things:  how will I travel with my child without a meltdown  (his or mine)? How can I manage his special diet when he's around all those treats and goodies? How can I take advantage of all the Black Friday deals with a  child in tow?

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Resource Guide - This comprehensive resource guide is an essential tool for everyone living with or impacted by paralysis. You can download copies to your phone, tablet, e-reader or computer and you can request hard copies to be shipped to you. Available in English and Spanish. 
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!
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.

Roe-Chavez Family Success Story - As a family with two special needs children trying to navigate special education services, it was a bright light to find Families Helping Families of Jefferson. Their support and assistance was key to successfully navigating the IEP process for our sons, both of whom have Autism.    Click here to read more
Louisiana Department of Education announces 
Upcoming Community Meetings

The Louisiana Department of Education is excited to announce that they will be hosting regional special education community meetings November 28th - December 1st. Parents, educators, school leaders, and community members are invited to attend and discuss important topics for students with disabilities. Email specialeducation@la.gov with any questions. Hope you can join us!


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.

Special Needs Day at Audubon Zoo - Saturday, November 4, 2017, 10 am to 2 pm, Come out an visit us at this fun annual event.  Individuals with disabilities and  up to 3 guest can get in zoo for only $3.00 each.  

Home Modification Expo - November 6, 2017, 9:30 am to 12:00 noon , Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie, LA  70001.  Quality Support Coordination is holding a Home Modification Expo where participants, families, and providers can get information from the many contractors that are approved for the Children's Choice and New Opportunities Waivers.   Allied Health Professionals will be there to evaluate the difference between Durable Medical Equipment and Home Modifications and which would work best for you.  

iCan Bike - Bike Camp for Individuals with Disabilities is coming to LaPlace the week of November 18th.  The YMCA is bringing this popular program that  uses a fleet of adapted bicycles, a specialized instructional program, and a trained staff to teach individuals with disabilities how to ride a bike.  To learn more about how to participate as a rider or volunteer e-mail: amys@ymcaneworleans.org.

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 October 31, 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 - 07/31/2006
Supports Waiver - 02/19/2015
Not sure where you are on the registry? Call 1.800.364.7828

LaCAN (Louisiana Council's Advocacy Network) -  LaCAN advocates for service systems that support children and adults with disabilities to live in their own homes and be fully-included and participating members of their local schools and communities.
Click here to join!  

#ThinkABILITY 2018 is right around the corner.  #ThinkABILITY  is a month-long social media campaign to celebrate the accomplishments of individuals with disabilities.   Check out our #ThinkABILITY 2017 stories.  Who do you know that we could feature next?  Is it you?  Is it your child?  Contact Bebe Bode at bbode@fhfjefferson.org to share your story. 

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

The Staff and Board of Directors of Families Helping Families & Louisiana Parent Trainining and Information Center wishes you a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Our office will be closed for the following  November Holidays:

Veterans Day - November 10th 
Thanksgiving - November 23rd & 24th 

 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)