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 
July 2017
LaPTIC and LaSPDG Join Forces Once Again!
By:  Mary Jacob, Executive Director
The Louisiana State Professional Development Grant (LaSPDG) and Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center (LaPTIC), a project of Families Helping Families of Jefferson is once again partnering in providing family engagement activities for families of children with disabilities in Louisiana.  

LaPTIC is  proud to partner with the LaSPDG to provide families of children with disabilities & school districts with: 
  • Family friendly webinars & e-learning opportunities that support families of children with disabilities in literacy at home. 
  • Quarterly updates of all training/workshop opportunities. 
  • Support to families in the completion of the Parent Survey for State Performance Plan Indicator 8. 
  • Support to families, schools, districts and SPDG staff with information and resources for children with disabilities.
The goal of the grant is to improve literacy outcomes for students with disabilities in grades 3-5.  LDOE has partnered with Louisiana State University, 9 Local Educational Agencies, and the LaPTIC to achieve this goal. This matches up with the State Systematic Improvement Plan  (SSIP) goal to increase ELA proficiency (basic and above) rates on statewide assessments for students with disabilities in grades 3-5 in 9 LEA's across the state.  The district LEA partners are  Algiers Charter Schools, Bossier, Sabine, Vermillion, Calcasieu, St. Bernard, Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge Parishes.

Lack of literacy skills is the number one reason children with disabilities fall behind in school.  Literacy is key to master all subject areas, and we are excited to be able to develop some great training and tools for parents on how to promote and support literacy at home.  

In addition to new literacy resources, we are also working on an IEP Training series called, Helping Families Navigate the IEP Process.  At completion, it will be 10 separate e-learning modules with closed captioning on every part of the IEP.  The first 5 modules will be uploaded this month along with the introduction module.  Each one is 15 to 20 minutes long.  You can find all of our literacy resources by clicking here

From June 26th to 29th, over 200 third to fifth grade teachers, LaSPDG staff, partners and districts participated in the Leadership Literacy Launch.  Participants were treated to great training on teaching strategies for delayed readers and family partnerships.  
LaSPDG is a 5-year grant awarded to the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) from the Office of Special Education Programs in 2016.  
Employment Opportunity to Join Our Team at FHF

Families Helping Families of Jefferson is looking for a dynamic individual that wants to be our next information and training specialist.   This parent - to - parent position will provide training and support to other parents of children with disabilities.  The perfect candidate will have a good base of knowledge of special education laws and bulletins, belief in inclusion, home and community based services and ideally a parent of a child receiving special education services.  Minimum requirements include Excellent Microsoft Office skills; Great written and verbal communication skills, highly organized, reliable transportation with minimum state insurance requirements, an ability to work some nights and weekends, as needed.   Email your resume to Laura S. Nata at lsnata@fhfjefferson.org
Upcoming Trainings 

- FHF July Workshops -

Screening the Waiting List - Friday, July 21, 2017, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA 70001: Did you receive a call from someone at your local Human Service District/Authority regarding screening your or your child's needs? Are you unsure what this is about? Have   you heard about a "SUNS" screening tool and want more information? Are you confused about waiting lists in general and how Louisiana's system works for distribution of waiver slots?    Click here for more information!  

To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736 

- FHF July Webinars

Transition for Youth with Disabilities: Exploring current supports and issues for transition age youth with disabilities - Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm:  This webinar will provide an overview of avenues and supports available to families preparing to transition their children to secondary and post-secondary outcomes. Graduation pathways, adult supports and other topics will be presented.  
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students
Community is Caring: Perspectives from Support Coodination - Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: What is Support coordination, how to select agencies, and why is it important to waiver services. 
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Navigating the Evaluation Waters: School vs. Clinical Evaluations -  Friday, July 14, 2017, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm:   This training will help parents understand the differences between an evaluation in the school setting and an evaluation in the clinical setting, and will also include an overview of the procedures used to complete an evaluation in the school setting for the most common exceptionalities. 
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Summer Camps and the Americans with Disabilities Act - Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm:  With school almost out, it's time to begin thinking about camp and other arrangements for the summer. Children with disabilities require and need recreation the same as other children. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("A.D.A."), a child is entitled to attend any camp or activity that non-disabled children attend, with modifications, and with a few exceptions. This training will provide an overview of who is protected by the A.D.A, the modifications required under the law, and how to prevent discrimination. 
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.
Keeping Students in the Classroom: School Discipline & Students with Disabilities - Thursday, July 20, 2017, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm:  This presentation will delve into school discipline laws in Louisiana and asserting Federal Rights for students with disabilities. We will cover ways to be proactive and reactive to school discipline, and help you navigate the Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) process. 
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Strategies for Overcoming Sensory Issues -  Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: An Overview of common sensory issues with adaptive solutions for accommodations and strategies. Join me and learn how to develop tools that can assist with sensory issues and much more.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Keeping Good Records: How to Create a Paper Trail - Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 10:30 am - 11:30 am:     There are lots of reasons to keep your child's records. Having access to detailed information can help you partner with your child's teachers. Copies of official documents can also be useful if you ever have a dispute with the school about whether it's giving your child enough services or placing her in the most appropriate setting.  This training will provide various options of recordkeeping along with a useful checklist.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students .

Safety Tips on Bullying, Internet Safety and Drugs - Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:30 am - 11:30 am:  Easy tips students and parents can use to recognize and address the dangers of bullying, internet posts and drugs. 
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

Basic Rights in Special Education  - Friday, July 28, 2017, 10:30 am - 11:30 am:  Whether you're new to special education or have been involved for a while, this workshop is for you. This presentation provides families with an introduction to their rights and responsibilities as parents of children with special needs 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 help them help their children reach those goals.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.
"Screening the Waiting List"-  Friday, July 28, 2017, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm:  Have you gotten a call from someone at your local Human Service District regarding screening your or your child's needs? Are you unsure what this is about? Have you heard about a SUNS screening tool and want more information?  Confused about waiting lists in general and how Louisiana's system works for distribution of waiver slots?  Join presenter Karen Scallan for discussion about what's up with the waiting list in Louisiana.
Audience: Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals of School-Aged Children/Students.

View our full calendar of events here. 

FHF e-Learning Mini Modules

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 order 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 provided by others

ADA SymposiumThe Governor's Office of Disability Affairs will host the ADA Roundtable Symposium on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm at the Claiborne Building in the Louisiana Purchase Room, 1201 North 3rd St., Baton Rouge, La. 70802. The ADA Symposium is free to attend and will feature national accessibility expert Kristi J. Avalos, the President and CEO of Accessology. Those in attendance will be able to participate in a Q & A session with Ms. Avalos and discuss various topics relative to accessibility in Louisiana. There will also be breakout sessions for businesses, local governments, and higher education to further network and discuss programmatic and physical accessibility. We are looking forward to having ADA coordinators, human resource directors, governmental agencies, advocates, university administrators, engineers, business men and women, and self-advocates in attendance. For more information contact Jolan Jolivette at Jolan.Jolivette@la.gov or (225) 219-7553. To RSVP register  here .
This is YOUR section of the Newsletter!  

This section will feature trainings and resources specific to youth between the ages of 16 - 26 years old.  

- FHF July Youth Workshops -

Have Your Voice Heard: Self Advocacy, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm, St. Charles Parish Library, 105 Lakewood Dr., Luling, LA - Mathew and Joseph are both 18-year-old students at Destrehan High School who have shown the world around them that they are a force to be reckoned with. Come have fun, get inspired, and hear about how these twin brothers have used their own voices for self-advocacy and their well-being. In this workshop, you will learn how to speak up for yourself and have your voice heard as well as how to become active members in the community.   Click here for more information!

To register, please call: 504-888-9111 or toll free 1-800-766-7736

- FHF July Youth Webinars - 

Making My Voice Heard, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm - You can make your voice heard by using self-advocacy. So why is this important to you? Because it gives you the power to speak up for yourself by making your own decisions about your own life including education, healthcare, and learning how and where to get information so that you can make better decisions that interest you. This webinar will give you basic self-advocating  tips so that your voice is heard.

- Youth Featured Resources - 
University of Louisiana at Lafayette  - UL LIFE Program is a highly personalized college program for young adults with intellectual disabilities.  By combining academic, life, and self-advocacy skills with socialization at the college level, young adults with intellectual disabilities can become thriving members of our community. 

Bossier Parish Community College  - Program for Successful Employment - PSE is a two-year vocational training program for adults with intellectual disabilities and/or Autism.  The program combines academic and job skills training on BPCC campus and in regional businesses.  

Nicholls State University - Bridge to Independence - Designed to help students with intellectual disabilities gain skills needed to become gainfully employed through college courses and job-training.  For additional information, contact Robin Bell at 985.448.4430 or  Robin.Bell@nicholls.edu.

Just off the Press - Hot Items

The Department of Education has published a Federal Register notice to provide the public with the opportunity to submit comments concerning regulations and policy guidance they would recommend that the Department repeal, replace, or modify.  This includes regulations under Title 34 Code of Federal Regulations (Education), ED's significance guidance documents (such as Dear Colleague Letters and policy letters), and the newly redesigned IDEA site.   Public comments are due by August 21, 2017.

The US Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued this memo to reinforce the key points made in their November 12, 2014 letter that addresses whether a State Department of Education (SDE) or a Local Education Agency (LEA - School Districts) is permitted to establish procedures that further define the disability category, "visual impairment including blindness".  The memo provides additional guidance on this important issue and shares information from outside resources related to the identification and evaluation of children suspected of having a visual impairment including blindness.  

Louisiana's Achieving a Better Life Experience - The Louisiana Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Account Program allows individuals and families to save private funds to support persons with disabilities in endeavors to maintain health, independence, and quality of life.

IDEA/ESSA Technical Amendments Summary -  This chart notes the previous regulatory language, includes the new regulatory language or notes the relevant deletion, and provides the reasoning and authority for the change.
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.

Building a Resume: Tips for Youth with Disabilities - Tips for young people with disabilities and their families on effective strategies for building the first resume.
Kids and OCD: The Parents' Role in TreatmentParents have a surprisingly important role in treating anxiety disorders in children. This article from the Child Mind Institute focuses on teaching families how to help their child with anxiety or OCD build coping skills and benefit from treatment.

AD/HD Fact SheetAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a condition that can make it hard for a person to sit still, control behavior, and pay attention. These difficulties usually begin before the person is 7 years old. However, these behaviors may not be noticed until the child is older.  Also newly updated in Spanish.

NAA's Meet the Police safety initiative is a free, downloadable toolkit for individuals with autism, parents or caregivers who are concerned about their loved one's safety in the community. The purpose of this program is to help enhance the quality of interactions between individuals with autism and members of law enforcement.
The toolkit includes steps you can take to establish trusting relationships, reduce confusion and fear, and encourage opportunities for law enforcement agencies to get to know members of their community who may be at increased risk due to behaviors commonly associated with autism.

Lawmakers Propose Wider Access To Community-Based ServicesA bipartisan group of lawmakers is proposing new federal legislation that would ensure people with disabilities have access to community-based services.

Everything You Need to Know About 504 Plans for 2017: Guidelines from US Department of Education  A t the beginning of the year, the US Department of Education released three documents to clarify the rights of students with disabilities on 504 Plans and the responsibilities of educational institutions in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn. Outlining and clarifying both federal special education law, IDEA and federal civil rights law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

What is Juvenile Arthritis? Children can get arthritis just like adults. Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the  joints. It causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion.  Juvenile arthritis is the term used to describe arthritis in children. The most  common type that children get is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (idiopathic means  "from unknown causes"). There are several other forms of arthritis affecting  children.
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!
Changing Lives. Every Day. 
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.

Iris Maldonado called Families Helping Families  of Jefferson (FHF) after she went through an  ordeal with a fishy company. This company  claimed to prepare students for college by  teaching them how to interview, how to apply for  colleges, and provided coaching to help decide  which college to go to.


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.

Inclusion Art Contest -  To bring greater awareness of the importance of inclusion in today's society, the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs (GODA) encourages you to participate in the 2017 Inclusive Art Contest. GODA will be accepting entries that illustrate or describe ideas related to this year's theme and accompanying definitions of inclusion of persons with disabilities. This year's theme is "Together We Succeed." Award medals and special recognition from Governor John Bel Edwards will be presented to the artists who submit winning artwork. The Inclusive Art Contest is open to all residents of Louisiana. Contestants are encouraged to use art as a means to share their vision, experiences, and talents to demonstrate this year's theme. 

Winning entries will be publicly displayed. All entries must be submitted by September 1st, 2017. For the registration form, click here . Please call (225) 219-7550 or email Jolan.Jolivette@la.gov should you have any questions.

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 June 30, 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 - 6/20/2006
Supports Waiver - 12/31/2014
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!  
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.

Families Helping Families of Jefferson is proud to celebrate our 25th year providing support to families throughout the State of Louisiana!  

Families Helping Families of Jefferson will be closed on Monday, July 3rd and Tuesday, July 4th.  We hope everyone has a safe holiday! 
 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)