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Sunday, March 26, 2017   12:15 AM    |   64°F

LSU Health Sciences Center Human Development Center

411 S. Prieur New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 556-7585 | Fax:(504) 556-7574

Louisiana News

  • OCDD Conducting National Core Indicators Survey

    OCDD needs your help. It is again time for the annual National Core Indicators (NCI) survey that gives people with developmental disabilities and their families a direct voice to express their feelings about the services they receive from OCDD. Individuals who were selected to be part of the NCI Consumer Survey have already been contacted and many of them have already been interviewed.  Also, mail surveys have been sent to a random sample of the families who are asked about the services and their satisfaction with the services that their family member receives. The mail-out survey does not identify the people who complete them, unless they chose to identify themselves.

    NCI survey results help Louisiana to evaluate how well the services people with intellectual/developmental disabilities receive are meeting their needs. It also helps Louisiana compare family outcomes and satisfaction with similar information collected from other states. NCI results for all the states that participate in the surveys also influences national policy decisions about services for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

    If your family has received a survey, please complete it and mail it back to OCDD in the postage paid envelope. If you are a provider, support coordinator or advocate, please encourage people to participate so OCDD can use the information obtained to continue to improve services.

    Informational Flyer

  • George Alvey Jr. is recording an album and giving fundraising concerts to help mental health non-profits! For more information, please visit George's website. (03/24/2016)

Human Development Center: Building Capacity, Inspiring Change


Nutrition Is for Everyone, March 2017

Three Cooking Matters ClassesLouisiana 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.


Deaf Education Alliance Summit 2017 Follow-Up

Deaf Education Alliance Summit 2017The 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.  


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:  










February 7, 2017
Natchitoches Events Center
Natchitoches, LA

For more information and to register for the Natchitoches workshop, click here.


Supported Employment Training Schedule for 2017

HDC’s Employment Initiatives announces a 2017 Supported Employment Training Schedule for Louisiana.

This includes three 40 Hour Core Training Dates:

  • March 14, 15 & 16 in Lafayette
  • April 4, 5, 6 & 12 in Baton Rouge
  • May 16, 17 & 18 in New Orleans

The schedule also includes numerous one day 5.0 Hour Trainings in Special Topics including Supported Employment Core Refresher, SSA Benefits & Work Incentives, Community Based Assessment Clinic, Job Development Clinic and Job Site Training Clinic. In addition, Louisiana APSE will be hosting a CESP Exam opportunity on February 10th at HDC in New Orleans. By passing this exam, employment specialist can earn the designation of Certified Employment Support Professionals (CESP). More details and registration links can be found on the HDC Employment Web Page.





HDC Employee Spotlight: Ritu Dua

Ritu Dua

My name is Ritu Dua. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Arts majoring in English, Economics, and Political Science, a bachelor’s degree in Education, and Master’s degree in Literature. I chose to work in the field of early education because it’s very rewarding putting smiles on faces and I leave every day very satisfied. I believe that there is no school greater than childhood and no teacher greater than curiosity. I’m amazed every day to see that such little people can have such big personalities! I will be working as an Early Education Specialist for LSUHSC.

I’m happily married for 24 years to my loving husband and we recently celebrated our anniversary by travelling to Europe to celebrate our 25 years of togetherness. We have a twenty-three year old handsome son who works at UMC and is crazy about Ultimate Frisbee.  I like to travel with my family and have seen some very beautiful cities of the world. I also like to read and love to cook.

Early Head Start

Early Head Start Schools

The Human Development Center’s Early Head Start Child Care Partnership assists low income families with young children under 3 years obtain high quality childcare services while they work and/or pursue career related education or training.  Currently, the project collaborates with four community childcare centers: Clara’s Little Lambs, Kid’s Kingdom, McMillian’s First Steps, Toddler’s University.  This partnership provides high quality child care to 210 families.  The HDC Early Head Start Child Care Partnership makes a significant difference in the lives of the families we serve.  However, much work remains to be done to ensure that young children living in poverty are supported to develop and learn in a manner that prepares them for school and eventually careers and lives as productive and contributing citizens.  Click the following link to learn more about the challenges of providing high quality child care to families living in poverty :

HDC News

  • HDC Awarded a Three Year Post-Secondary Apprenticeship for Youth (Pay Check) Pilot Contract with LRS/LWC

    On July 25, 2016, the Human Development Center (HDC) received confirmation of being awarded a long-anticipated 3-year contract between LSU Health Human Development Center and Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC)’s Louisiana Rehabilitation Services Division.  This three year apprenticeship pilot proposal will target students who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education and employment. 

    The Pay Check pilot is a three semester post-secondary transition pilot between HDC, LRS, two public school systems, two public Charter school associations, Delgado Community College, and the University Medical Center-New Orleans.  Pay Check will prepare selected youth with disabilities who are eligible for LRS services age 18-22 years to acquire, practice and become competent in a wide range of Post-secondary, community and employment environments and settings to include Delgado Community College, the University Medical Center-New Orleans and the surrounding community. Pay Check is a first of its kind program in the entire United States, and quite possibly the world. 

    Participating youth were recruited from partner public high schools and will maintain a “concurrent enrollment” status.  This arrangement allows for public high schools to collaborate with Pay Check staff to support participants to continue to address IEP goals and to pursue an alternate path to high school diplomas.

  • Louisiana Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and other Disabilities (LA LEND)

    LEND: Jenny showing Chinese numbers

    Jenny Lin, one of the LEND participants, shows off Chinese numbers. The only pictures we took during training were those of her posing in front of the board.

    The Human Development Center was awarded a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and other related Disabilities (LEND) grant from U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, Health Resources and Services- Administration – Maternal Child Health Bureau on July 12, 2016.  This 5-year grant will support an interdisciplinary core faculty including Audiology, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Occupational, Physical and Speech-Language Therapy, Psychology (school and clinical), Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education, as well as Family and Self-advocate faculty.  In addition, consultant faculty for the Louisiana LEND include Physician Assistant, Pediatric Dentistry and Nursing with plans to expand to Public Health and other disciplines in the future. 


    The overall purpose of LA LEND is to prepare health and education professionals, families and self-advocates, who represent the diversity of society to become leaders in Maternal Child Health-related fields.  These future leaders advocate for policies that encourage development, implementation and access to supports and services designed to improve the health and education of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental and related disabilities (NDD).


    LA LEND provides interdisciplinary training and experiences for graduate students, families, self-advocates, and early-career professionals.  The program provides a stipend to Trainees who complete the 300+ hour program.  Over the course of 5-years, the program will prepare more than 45 future leaders in Maternal Child Health-related fields to understand and work toward enhanced quality of life outcomes achievable by people with ASD/NDD.  The inaugural class of LA LEND includes: two students pursuing Masters in OT, two community college students with ASD, an AUD candidate, a PTD candidate, a parent of a young man with ASD, and a student pursuing a Masters in Communication Disorders (SLP).


    To read more about LEND programs follow this link: (EXTERNAL LINK)



HDC Partners

Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council Advocacy Center

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