Articles and Events

Schedules: At a Glance

Schedules: At a Glance!

August 24, 2017
2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Live online via Adobe Connect
Individuals with ASD often feel lost and anxious when daily activities are not clearly indicated or if the sequence of those activities is not understood.  Teachers and parents may find themselves offering repeated cues and high levels of support to help the individual move from activity to activity.  One solution???  Create visual schedules that tell the individual where they should be, when they should be there, and what they will be doing.  This webinar will provide a step-by-step process for creating and using visual schedules that reduce anxiety and frustration, while supporting independence from adult-delivered prompts.
This webinar is geared toward educators that may be new to teaching students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), family members seeking more information about visual schedules, or seasoned educators looking to refine their skills.
Please click here to register.

WHEN: Thursday, August 24, 2017, 2:30–3:30 PM

WHERE: Live online via Adobe Connect


Click Here for More Information

LASARD Presents Bring On the Sunshine!

Join us for the first LASARD webinar of the school year!

This webinar is geared toward educators that may be new to teaching students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), family members seeking more information about supports, or seasoned educators looking to refine their skills.

Bring on the Sunshine!
Shining Light on ASD and Essential Supports

August 10, 2017
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Live online via Adobe Connect

Everyone utilizes essential support strategies throughout their day. Which essential support(s) have you used in the last 24 hours? Visuals (maps, signs, recipes)? Priming (agendas, reminders, notices)? Form of Communication (text messages, emails)? Accommodations/modifications (glasses, watches, highlighters)? Reinforcement (paycheck, awards, bonuses)? As you can see, we use these essential supports several times throughout the day without even thinking about it. Join us in learning how these everyday supports can be used in classrooms and at home to support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) be successful and avoid frustration. In this webinar, you will learn about the essential support strategies, how to implement them for students with ASD and related disabilities, and develop a plan for implementing essential supports across settings.

Please click here to register.


WHEN: Thursday, August 10, 2017, 2:30–3:30 PM

WHERE: HDC and Live via Adobe Connect

Click Here for More Information

HDC Mobility and Seating Workshop

WHEN: Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 12:00–1:00 PM


Click Here for More Information

In memory of our colleague Constance Kendrick Patterson, 1952- 2017

Constance Kendrick Patterson

Dr. Conni Patterson was posthumously honored by the Louisiana Psychological Association for her service to our community and to the profession of psychology.  She was a leader in state and national associations.

Dr. Constance Kendrick Patterson, extraordinary school psychologist, died on July 8, 2017 after a short, intense struggle to overcome renal cancer. She prided herself on her strength as a woman and a professional and fought the disease as long as she could.  Dr. Patterson had a distinguished career during which she mentored more than a hundred professionals and influenced countless others.  She began her career as a clinician in Illinois providing services to children and families.  She completed a Ph.D. in school psychology at Illinois State University in 1995 with research on children with emotional disturbance and an internship at the Human Development Center (HDC), LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Schools.  She joined the faculty of the Human Development Center as Coordinator of the Louisiana School Psychology Internship Consortium in 1997, supervising the program for eight years.  During that time, she carefully shaped training to model effective and ethical practices of interns.  Those interns now practice as school psychologists throughout the U.S.  She joined the staff of the National Center for Special Education Accountability Monitoring at HDC in 2005 providing technical assistance to states.

In 2007, Dr. Patterson joined the faculty of Walden University teaching classes in school psychology and supervising students. She also conducted an active independent practice and supervised school psychology interns.  In 2011, she joined the faculty of Tulane University’s and rose to Coordinator of the School Psychology program.  Dr. Patterson developed special expertise in cross-cultural competence emphasizing generational and gender diversity.

Throughout her career she was active in professional organization service in a number of roles. She was a past president of the Louisiana School Psychological Association, a state delegate for the National Association of School Psychologists, and the Executive Council of the Louisiana Psychological Association.  She also served as an investigator for the Louisiana Board of Examiners of School Psychologists.  Dr. Patterson mentored countless school psychologists, teachers, school administrators, and families experiencing challenges.  At her passing, many people reached out with stories of how Conni served as an inspirational role model of ethical and family-focused practice.  She was an active member of the Algiers Point community in New Orleans supporting the arts, music, and people in need.  No one can adequately capture or describe the breadth of her reach and influence on the practice of school psychology and her spirit of reaching out to others.

During her illness, Conni was supported by her school psychology family and close friends who maintained communication with Conni’s many friends, colleagues, and her family in Virginia. All involved are grateful for mutual support and for Conni’s relief from suffering.

Conni is survived by her mother, Lorena McCann, her daughter Melanie Hoerner (husband Jerry), her 3 grandchildren, Jared, Caleb and Marley, her sisters, Jean Kindrick, Becky Gibson, Trish Lutz, and Stacey Moffet, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial school psychology internship fund has been established in her name with the LSU Health Foundation New Orleans (2000 Tulane Avenue, 4th Floor, New Orleans, LA 70112). Donations should be addressed to the Dr. Conni Patterson Scholarship Fund, c/o

HDC Presents PAY Check at National APSE Conference

The model for HDC’s PAY Check Pilot Project was presented this past June at the National APSE (Association for Persons Supporting Employment First, Conference in Portland, Oregon. The presenters are pictured here in Portland overlooking the Hawthorne Bridge and include: Sue Killam, Nicole Kiernan, Amarachi Ukachu, Rebecca Ellis and Philip Wilson. The highlight of the presentation was the successes of the current students who are now all working at the University Medical Center in New Orleans. The PowerPoint can be found here. The presentation concluded with the video below showcasing the students.



Louisiana Launches ABLE Program

The ABLE National Resource Center, managed by National Disability Institute (NDI), is excited to congratulate the State of Louisiana on becoming the 23rd state to launch an ABLE program. The Louisiana ABLE program, named LA ABLE, will be managed by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LAOFSA) and the Louisiana Tuition Trust Authority (LATTA). Louisiana ABLE Accounts will only be available to eligible Louisiana residents with disabilities.

LA ABLE allows qualified individuals with disabilities to save up to $14,000 a year in an ABLE account without jeopardizing their eligibility for federally-funded means tested benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. The funds in the account can be used for disability-related expenses that assist the beneficiary in increasing and/or maintaining his or her health, independence or quality of life.

For more information on the LA ABLE program and how to enroll, please visit


Connections 2017 will be hosted at HDC in New Orleans on August 25-26 by the Louisiana Deafblind Project for Children and Youth and the Collaborative for Students with Unique Communication Needs. More information can be found here, with registration link below:

Connections 2017 Event Website Link:
This site links to the electronic on-line registration form and payment information. It also links you to download a copy of the registration form if paying by check.

Connections 2017 Direct Link to On-Line Registration Form:
This link allows you to complete the on-line registration form and then at the end has a link to the above page for entering payment information.

HDC Partners with Team Gleason for ALS Conference: Follow-up

Austin close-up
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In partnership with Team Gleason, the Human Development Center hosted a conference addressing communication strategies for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The two-day conference called ALS, Communication and All That Jazz took place June 9 and 10, 2017, at the LSU Health New Orleans’ Human Development Center, 411 South Prieur Street. About 120 people were in attendance in what is hoped to be the first annual conference.  The feedback from the participants was overwhelming positive:

  • “Wonderful conference.”  “Fantastic.”  “All speakers were amazing!” “Great conference, very worthwhile.” “Please make it annual.”
  • “One of the best conferences I have ever attended for ALS. All speakers were very knowledgeable and engaging.”
  • “This conference was an excellent value for the speakers and CEUs provided. Thank you so much for initiating it. I would definitely return!”
  • “The pALS panel was very powerful and an eye-opening look into life with ALS for the individual as well as their care-takers.”
  • “Seeing ALS patients for the first time reminded me why I am doing the research I’m doing.”
  • “Excellent. Thank you for this affordable, content-rich opportunity.”

During the conference, national experts addressed subjects including no-tech, low-tech and high-tech augmentative communication strategies, pro-active message banking, strategies to enhance speech clarity, voice banking, partner-assisted scanning and laser pointer with low-tech boards, assessment and feature matching for speech-generating technology, successful use of computer/AAC device strategies, as well as environmental controls and home automation systems for all budgets. Attendees also participated in a hands-on demo and practice with communication technologies. The presenters included John Costello and Peggy Dellea from Boston Children’s Hospital, Lisa Bardach from ALS of Michigan, and Team Gleason’s Austin Edenfield. The highlight of the conference was a panel discussion with six people with ALS (pALS) and their primary caregivers (cALS) who offered their insights on communication strategies. Links to the agenda and associated presentations, handouts and videos can be found here.

Nutrition Is for Everyone – June 2017

Cooking Matters Logo

At the close of the first pilot year, the Louisiana project looks back and celebrates its successes. Over the last year, the project offered four Cooking Matters courses that taught individuals with disabilities and their family members and friends the skills and confidence to eat, cook and shop healthfully on a budget. These six-week courses engaged more than 70 participants in hands-on nutrition and culinary instruction where they chopped, mixed and stirred their way to healthier diets. Additionally, our project selected and trained seven Deputy Nutrition Ambassadors, including individuals both with and without disabilities, to act as nutrition instructors and advocates in their communities. Response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive and many participants report improvements in dietary behaviors even six to eight weeks after the end of Cooking Matters classes. Cooking Matters is a program of Share Our Strength, a national organization working to end childhood hunger in the United States, and more information can be found at

In the coming year, the Louisiana project is excited to expand its programming to reach even more people across the state of Louisiana. The project will pilot single day nutrition education events, in addition to the six-week Cooking Matters courses, where participants will learn how to integrate more fruits and vegetables into their diets. The project also looks forward to selecting and welcoming its new Deputies for the coming year.

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