Articles and Events

Expanding MTSS/RtI and Ensuring Results: Follow-up

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In partnership with Data-Based Conferences, the Human Development Center hosted its third annual institute on Response to Intervention/Multi-tiered Systems of Support (RtI/MTSS) on April 27 and 28. This year’s conference included previous topic strands of RtI/MTSS development and implementation, leadership, behavior support for students, and literacy while adding topic strands for mathematics and autism spectrum disorder. HDC welcomed over 200 participants from several states and US territories including Guam for this year’s conference. Feedback from conference attendees was overwhelmingly positive and we are already planning for next year’s conference. Conference information can be found at and handouts and resources from individual sessions from the conference can be accessed at

LSUHealthNO Hosts Geaux, Baby, Geaux! Workshop

Geaux Baby Geaux! Child driving tiny truck

LSU Health New Orleans School of Allied Health Professions hosted the Geaux, Baby, Geaux! Workshop on April 21, 2017, from 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at its Human Development Center, 411 South Prieur Street. In addition to training for professionals who work with low-mobility children, teams of participants modified seating, steering and drive systems to prepare a ride-on car for a child with mobility needs. Ten adapted ride-on cars were provided for kids with disabilities who could then use them for their own active mobility.

Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Survey Begins for Flooded Homeowners Seeking Rebuilding Assistance

The Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program survey opened to all homeowners affected by the March and August 2016 floods. This marks the beginning of the homeowner assistance program through which the state will help flooded homeowners with rebuilding assistance and some reimbursement, once the federal government makes the funds Congress has appropriated to Louisiana available to the state to spend.   

The initial survey will be available for all flood-impacted homeowners to take on the website beginning at 7 a.m. Monday, April 10. This will be the first step for all homeowners who want to apply for recovery assistance. Homeowners can also choose to fill out the survey using a phone number that will be posted on tomorrow morning. (Please note that this number – 1-866-735-2001 – will be activated beginning 7 a.m. Monday, April 10.) The survey will be available for a period of time. It does not have to be completed on the opening date, and eligibility is not determined on a first-come-first-serve basis.


Nutrition Is for Everyone: April 2017

Nutrition Is for Everyone Cooking Contest

All 12 participants of the recently completed Orleans Parish Cooking Matters class (including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their friends, family, and support staff) attended the potluck to show off their cooking skills by bringing healthy dishes to share. Participants reflecting on their experience had exceptionally positive comments, mentioning improved behavior changes such as increased cooking at home, reading nutrition labels more often, and making smarter choices when eating out. Participants were eager to share what they had learned with others and expressed interest in working with our project to start Cooking Matters classes at their churches and community organizations. Two new Cooking Matters classes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their friends, family, and support staff began in March. The Louisiana nutrition intern Colleen proved to be an excellent instructor during her first two classes by using creative visuals to support learning.

Additionally, the Louisiana Nutrition Ambassador spoke at a two-parish Community Services Meeting in March. Provider organizations showed an overwhelming interest in the program and the state Ambassador has begun communicating with multiple organizations about starting Cooking Matters classes for the clients they serve.

Expanding MTSS/RTI and Ensuring Results

Expanding MTSS/RTI and Ensuring Results Brochure


  • Thursday, April 27, 2017, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM
  • Friday, April 28, 2017, 8:30 AM–3:45 PM



Click Here for More Information

ALS, Communication & All That Jazz

ALS Communication & All That Jazz, June 8-10, 2017

LSU Health – Human Development Center in collaboration with Team Gleason will be hosting a two-day conference entitled ALS, Communication & All that Jazz at HDC (411 South Prieur Street) in New Orleans on June 9-10. Presenters from across the country will address low-tech to high-tech communication strategies available for people with ALS (pALS) including AAC, Computer Access, Environmental Controls, Positioning, and Mounting. These presenters include John Costello and Peggy Dellea from Boston Children’s Hospital, Lisa Bardach from ALS of Michigan and Team Gleason’s Austin Edenfield. Note that CEUs have been applied for through the AAC Institute. More information about the program can be found here.


  • Friday, June 09, 2017, 8:15 AM–3:00 PM
  • Saturday, June 10, 2017, 8:30 AM–3:00 PM

WHERE: HDC, 411 South Prieur Street, New Orleans, LA 70112


Technology Expo 2017 Lunch-N-Learn

Louisiana Technology Exposition, April 6, 2017

WHEN:Thursday, April 06, 2017, 11:00 AM–4:00 PM


Click Here for More Information

Nutrition Is For Everyone, March 2017

Cooking Matters Logo

Louisiana is preparing to offer two more Cooking Matters classes this spring. A nutrition student, Colleen, has recently joined the program team as an intern. She has many years of experience with people with disabilities and is excited to integrate nutrition into her work. The Louisiana team continues to work on adaptation to the curriculum to make sure it is as inclusive as possible.

Related News: Tuesdays with Liz

‘Tuesdays with Liz’ is a weekly video series highlighting current issues in disability policy. It is hosted by Liz Weintraub, a long-time disability advocate, and produced by AUCD.  If you have any comments, feel free to email to: Liz Weintraub or Kim Musheno at

In this week’s edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz interviews four Nutrition is for Everyone ambassadors – Sarah Keathley (Arkansas), Lauren Griffiths (Louisiana), Lee Wallace (Tennessee), and Megan Krampe (Oklahoma). These ambassadors speak about the projects in their states that focus on how eating and learning about healthy food is important for everyone, including people with disabilities.

Lauren’s is the third video in the playlist.

FASD Conference Follow-up

The Advocacy Center and LSUHSC- Human Development Center co-hosted a conference on Advocating for Individuals (and their Families) Living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) at the Human Development Center on Friday February 3rd. Workshop topics included diagnosis and treatment; early childhood and special education; juvenile and adult criminal justice; strategies and intervention; and advocacy.

FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who is prenatally exposed to alcohol. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. Research among grad school populations in four U.S. Cities estimates that as many as 2 to 4 percent of school age children are affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.

As part of the Early Childhood Education Strand, HDC’s own Ashley Steele and Douglas LeBlanc presented on the developmental stages of infants and how FASD affects the achievement of these milestones. They also discussed the importance of recognizing developmental delays and accommodating children with disabilities. Also, HDC’s Sonya Heisser provided useful information regarding the transition process of children with disabilities with regard to special education and related services under IDEA Part C early intervention into IDEA Part B special education preschool services.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Larry Burd the director of the North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center. The title of his talk was: What’s New and What You Should Do regarding FASD.

Other presentations included:

  • Stamping Out Stigma: Establishing the Maternal Alcohol History of the Birth Mother through Interviews and Investigation  with William J. Edwards, Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles County and Rebecca Kendig, PhD of New Orleans
  • Special Education and FASD with Debra Weinberg from the Advocacy Center of Louisiana and Diane Smith Howard from the National Disability Rights Network in Washington D.C.
  • Panel Discussion on Criminal Justice Issues involving Individuals with FASD
  • Identifying the Red Flags for Neurocognitive and Neurobehavioral Impairments in Children with FASD in the Juvenile Justice System with Professor David Katner, The Honorable Mark Doherty, Dr. Larry Burd, and Professor James E. Duggan

Links to Conference Materials including PowerPoints and videos of the presentations can be found in this document. Additional conference resources available at the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome website:  


Deaf Education Alliance Summit 2017 Follow-up

Deaf Education Alliance Summit 2017

The Louisiana Deafblind Project for Children and Youth and the LSU Health New Orleans, Human Development Center hosted the Deaf Education Alliance Summit 2017 on January 27 & 28.  The Deaf Education Alliance is a grassroots organization made up of individuals, families, and professionals interested in advocating for improved educational services for students with deafness and hearing loss in Louisiana schools. 


The Summit 2017 program included two keynote speakers; Rachel Coleman, an American musician/actress and producer of the “Signing Time!” video series and Paula Rodriguez of Deaf Focus Services Baton Rouge who was the 2016 GOLD Service Provider of the Year Award recipient selected by the Louisiana  Governor’s Council of Disability Affairs.  The program also featured speakers from around the state that addressed topics of interest to the deaf education advocates.


The Summit 2017 enjoyed a live performance by Rachel Coleman as the closing activity for the conference.  The performance, which was open to the public, drew audience members from Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.  Children of all ages and their families enjoyed the light hearted musical presentations while learning sign language.