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A note from the director's desk...
Another Christmas is just a few weeks away. What a wonderful time of year, to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season with family and friends. Just past Christmas Day is a brand-new year. A time when we all get a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new perspective; the ultimate do-over. I never make new year’s resolutions. I feel it sets me up for imminent failure. I mean, I’ve met me: I know the limits of my self-control. However, I am really looking forward to a fresh perspective of the new year. A chance to re-write my story, with lessons learned from my past year. Then use those lessons to shape and form my actions and reactions in the new year. I’m going to make a concentrated effort to give myself a little grace, to not be so critical of my decisions. I’m striving to claim a healthy mindset in the new year, have fewer second guesses and feel less remorse over the way things might turn out. I am looking forward to 2023 and the chance it brings to clear my head of the to-do lists of the past year. I hope this holiday
season brings you and your family joy and peace and love and that you find yourself on the cusp of the new year ready to put the year behind you and focus on things with a fresh perspective. Merry Christmas!
What is The Center for Exceptional Families?
We are a non profit made up of mentors, parents, and advocates who strive for positive outcomes for those with disabilities, including their families. Some of the services we provide are:
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, children and adults with disabilities to watch movies in a sensory friendly environment. We hope to expand this program to more cities.

Check out some Highlights from our Grant Year Recap!
Tip from your Director!
"Leave preconceived ideas of what the holidays 'always have been' or 'what they should be' out of your celebration. Honor the past while embracing your NOW. Relax, rest, and smile a lot." -Shelby
Tips from your Parent Mentors!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from NE Arkansas! Parents if you are looking for some fun activities to do with you kiddos check out Autism Awareness Centre Inc. They have lots of great ideas to keep everyone busy and happy during the Holidays. I love their Arts and Crafts ideas as well as Baking and Cooking with kids. Enjoy
-Teresa, Northeast
"When traveling alone with a special needs child, consider stopping at big store parking lots instead of rest stops for breaks. (Convenience and safety). Limit traveling at night. When traveling as a family, stop at points of interest along the way so everyone can enjoy and have a learning experience!"
-Loreena, North Central
Whether you are travelling by car or air this holiday season, take a moment to visit the following
links for tips and helpful information: Traveling by car - CLICK HERE
Traveling by air - CLICK HERE
Hoping you and yours have a happy and safe holiday season.
-Karen, SW & Central

I was looking at my calendar the other day and couldn’t believe how quickly my days are filling up with holiday activities. For individuals with disabilities, these busy schedules can be overwhelming. As you plan out your holidays, take time to focus on how you can incorporate breaks into your child’s holiday routines:
  • Allow for downtime. It's okay for your child to not participate in every activity and just have quiet time. Maybe schedule quiet reading time or taking a walk.
  • Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep. Sometimes it is fun to stay up extra late but it often leads to cranky, overwhelmed kids.
  • Bring activities or items that you know help your child calm down.
  • Take time for yourself. Children know when their parents are stressed and it feeds into them feeling overwhelmed. It's okay to take time just for you.   
-Katrinka, NW & River Valley
Holiday Articles with More Tips!
Disability Friendly Holiday Events!
Trail of Holiday Lights! Enjoy the holiday festivities in your vehicle or at special holiday events in different towns across Arkansas! Click here to learn more.
Santa Drop by Arkansas Air and Military Museum on December 17th at 10:00 AM in Fayetteville. Click here to learn more.
Holiday Train Rides in NW Arkansas on AM Railroads! Various dates available. Choose seating when you buy tickets online. You can call ahead to let them know your child has a disability. Click here to learn more.
Shop for the Holidays and Support Artisans with Disabilities!
The Blue Umbrella is a unique gift shop where artists with disabilities can sell their creations! The idea is a collaboration between Arkansas Department of Health Services (DHS) and Division of Developmental Disability Services (DDS). It is located inside Arkansas DHS at 700 Main Street in Little Rock! Click below to learn more about shopping and also becoming an artisan for the shop!
Office Closure
Closed for Christmas and New Years!
The Center for Exceptional Families would like to wish you and your family Happy Holidays. Our office will be closed from December 19 - January 2nd.
Board Member Spotlight
Lauren Preston
Vice Chair
Lauren and her husband received a Down Syndrome diagnosis for their son, Jack, shortly after his birth. Since that day, she has been focused on educating herself and others about his diagnosis and the importance of inclusion for individuals with disabilities. She is passionate about the disability community and strives to raise awareness and promote acceptance.
Disability Resources
Respite Care Vouchers
Respite care is a service that provides caregiving for your child with a disability so you can have a break. Funds are available with $300 per quarter and up to $1200 per year! If you already have respite care through Medicaid, you won't qualify. Funds are given on a first come, first serve basis.
Ways to Support Our Center!
Support TCFEF with a Facebook Birthday Fundraiser! To learn more Click here!
Holiday shopping on Amazon? Learn how to support TCFEF by Clicking here.
You can support us when shopping for groceries at Kroger! What are you waiting for? Click here!
Searching online? Use Microsoft Bing and support TCFEF! Doesn't get any easier than that! Click here!
Want to help more directly? Consider a tax- deductible donation directly to our organization through Paypal! Click here!
We want to hear from YOU!
Which of the following would you like to see offered by TCFEF?
Facebook Lives
Informative Tiktok Videos
Virtual Q&A Sessions
Kid/teen content