If you have received services from TCFEF, please take our survey!


What does the Center for Exceptional Families Do?

Knowledgeable Parent Mentors

Our mentors are parents of children with disabilities. They have life and work experiences plus training that make them uniquely qualified to help parents and schools work together to improve outcomes for children with disabilities.


We provide information for caregivers of children with disabilities like resources, presentations, workshops, and other materials. We also connect with schools and other community organizations.

Family Fun

TCFEF is proud to present Sensory Cinema in Jonesboro, which allows caregivers, and children and adults with disabilities to watch movies in a sensory friendly environment. We hope to expand this program to more cities.

Visit our Website

What's Happening?


See what's happening by CLICKING HERE.


Community Connections was featured on Kark! Read more about how this program helps children with disabilities get involved in social activities by CLICKING HERE


Explore some great resources for involving families in their student's education by CLICKING HERE

Arkansas Inclusive Education

The Center for Exceptional Families is here to guide you through the process!

When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted in 1975, one of the core rights was Inclusion. Inclusion means educating students with disabilities alongside their typical peers as much as possible. Arkansas' Inclusive Education Plan will recommit public schools to the spirit of IDEA and afford students with disabilities access and opportunities to inclusion in the general education environment. Click below to find out more!

General Information / Timelines / Parent Resources

Upcoming TCFEF Workshops/Webinars

Puberty and Beyond for Parents!

October 22nd, 10AM-12PM

Texarkana, Arkansas/Texas

Join NBPTS Teacher and AP of Special Education at HSU Ruth Eyres, TCFEF, and PRN to learn about self-awareness, safety, and social skills for teaching your child important concepts involved in their sexuality and relationships.

Register here

PDF Flyer for Event

Ruth Eyres

Transition to Adulthood: Financial Planning Series

October 6th, 12 PM-1 PM

Zoom Webinar

Join Arkansas Attorney and TCFEF Board Member Thomas Smith as he presents information on planning for the future for your child with a disability! He will share information about ABLE accounts, Guardianship, and Special Needs Trust

Register Here

PDF Flyer for Event

Thomas Smith

Cortical Visual Impairment Month!

September is Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)month.

Our CVI Journey by Loreena Hegenbart, Parent Mentor

My son was diagnosed with CVI before he began kindergarten. The elementary special education teacher heard about a CVI conference with Christine Roman, PhD. She brought the conference information to the elementary school principal who approved sending us to this training. Dr. Roman’s knowledge of CVI overwhelmed me. I had no idea what to do. Click Here to read more...

Dr. Christine Roman says, “Children with CVI can see what we see but the brain cannot interpret it.” CVI is different from an ocular impairment or blindness. Dr. Roman recommends early diagnosis, appropriate assessment and with visual activities and interventions vision can be improved. Dr. Roman has numerous CVI videos that will help us understand what this little-known visual challenge is.

From the Director's Desk

Summer is over. Fall will soon be here. School is in full motion and everyone is adjusting to the new normal. Which, in Arkansas, now includes a plan for full inclusion of students with disabilities into the general education classrooms. (Notice, I didn’t say ALL students with disabilities.) This idea of change has been talked about for a full year by DESE leadership and all summer by frantic parents. The concept has been shared and re-shared on social media, with entire pages set up to fight the new guidance. 

My own student with autism spent 10 years in a self-contained classroom. From third grade to his final moments as a senior he was schooled in a segregated setting with limited access to non-disabled peers. He was safe there. He was comfortable in his surroundings. He had a routine set in granite. I loved it at the time. Looking back now I can see much more clearly that while he received an academic education, he did not steadily improve in areas of communication. He did not build on his limited social skills. He was not challenged to grow as a person. Because he was with a small group of students and two wonderful teachers who knew his cues and body language, he did not have to utter a word if he didn’t want to. His school days were spent with the same classmates, an identical routine from one day to the next, with very few changes or stimuli. Safe, comfortable, and opposite of progressive. It’s no wonder he was prone to flip a desk or chair now and then.  


Change is sometimes scary, and growth can be challenging. New concepts are sometimes hard to embrace in the beginning. If we settle for routine comfort without trying new things, we might miss out on something wonderful. 

-Shelby Knight, Executive Director

From TCFEF Staff

Let's Talk about Inclusion!

Inclusion and Levels of Support

With all the new inclusive practices all over the state you might be asking: What are schools doing to help all students succeed? To find out go to the State Personnel Development Grant link below so you can download your free Parent and Family guides!

ARSPDG Parent & Family Guides

-Teresa Hendrix, Northeast and Delta Area

Why 'All Inclusive'?

 The Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) requires children with disabilities to be educated in their Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). What does that mean for your child?

Visit the link below to learn more about LRE: Placement LRE

For more information on 'All Inclusive', visit the link: All Inclusive

-Karen Lutrick, Southwest and Central Area

Inclusion and LRE

Inclusion means students with disabilities are educated in general education classes with their peers. Students and teachers need support for inclusion to succeed. Specia education classrooms won't disappear because IDEA recognizes the need for different placement options. Every situation is unique. There will be pros and cons to discuss and we are here to be part of that conversation!

-Loreena Hegenbart, North Central Area

TCFEF Board Member Spotlight

Pamela Hill-Pearson

Pamela Hill-Pearson lives in West Memphis and is the parent of two children with disabilities. She is a stay-at-home mom with work experience as a volunteer and substitute teacher.

She saw first-hand that students with disabilities desire to feel accepted and valued. She advocated for those students to receive the best education possible to reach their full potential. Pamela dedicates her time to helping those who need assistance with special education issues in the school system.

Board Member Bios

Update Arkansas

Share our newsletter on social media!

Follow us on social media and Youtube!

LinkedIn Share This Email
Facebook  Twitter  YouTube

Do you have news, events, resources, or information that would benefit schools, families of children with disabilities, or children or adults with disabilities? Share it with us! It could be shared in our newsletter!

Click Here