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Letter from the Director's Desk...

Sensory Cinema is happening this weekend in Jonesboro! TCFEF is pleased to bring this wonderful social event to the families in Northeast Arkansas. After last month’s movie event, I was approached by one of the adults from a group home who was acting as spokesperson for his entire group. He wanted to meet with me afterwards to discuss future shows offered. He was respectful and professional with his suggestions for our little social program. I could tell he had rehearsed his speech. Simply put, his group of folks want less animated films and more adult content films specifically Marvel and action type movies. So, moving forward, TCFEF will provide a Double Feature during Sensory Cinema; two movie choices to appeal to a wider audience. I appreciate his willingess to speak to me about this need. You're never too old to learn how to do things in a more inclusive way. If your organization would like to partner with us to bring Sensory Cinema to your local theater, please reach out. This is a vital event for our families and is needed statewide. Details of the specific movies for this weekend are listed within this newsletter. Join us!

Learn More


March 9th - Sensory Cinema viewing of Champions and Antman Quantum Mania at the Malco in Jonesboro from 9:30 AM. Click Here

March 14th - Annual Pie Day from 9:30-1:00 at the Capitol in Little Rock. Click Here

April 8th - Autism Festival and Walk from 10-12:30 in Little Rock. Hosted by AAF. Click Here

April 8th - Sensory Friendly Easter Egg Hunt from 10-11:30 in Sherwood. Click Here

April 8th - Sensory Cinema viewing of Super Mario at the Malco in Jonesboro from 9:30 AM. Click Here to follow our Facebook page for the announcement.

April 15th - Puberty and Beyond Workshop from 10-12 in Harrisburg. Click Here

April 15th - Messtival from 9-12 at the Museum of Discover in Little Rock. Click Here

April 22 - Walk a Mile for Autism from 9-12 in Greenbrier. Hosted by Sunshine ABA Therapy. Click Here

April 23rd - Sensory friendly hours from 11-1 at the Musuem of Discover in Little Rock. Click Here

April 29th- Getting Down for Down Syndrome at the Little Rock Zoo. Hosted by ADSA. Click Here

April 29th - Famous Family Bistro Event from 8-1 in Little Rock. Click Here

Various Dates: Community Connection hosts different disability friend social events year round for all ages in different cities. Click Here

To keep up with TCFEF events, Click Here to check out our calendar!

Sensory Cinema is Back with a Double Feature!

Join TCFEF for Sensory Cinema in March and April! March 9th, we will be showing Antman Quantumania and Champions and April 8th we will be showing Super Mario. Click Here to learn more about this program and upcoming features including double features!

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.

News from your parent mentors!

Independent Futures That Work

The Independent Futures that Work (IFTW) project is all about transitioning for individuals ages 14-26 who have a disability. Where to start the Individual Education Plan (IEP) Transition Plan can seem challenging; the student’s interest, strengths and desires after high school should always be kept forefront. IFTW has two check lists that may be helpful: Independent Living Here We Come! and Independent Working Here We Come!

You can CLICK HERE to check out more resources on the website!

As the state lead for Arkansas with the IFTW, I will be scheduling trainings about these checklists. If you are interested in hosting a training, call 501-398-1667 or email karen.lutrick@tcfef.org

-Karen Lutrick, SW and Central Region

Summer Camps!

Below are a list of summer camps, make sure to check for accommodations for your child!

  • Camp Alderdsgate 2000 Aldersgate Rd, Little Rock, AR
  • Camp Solgohachia 4 Ozark Mt. Rd, Solgohachia, AR
  • Brookhill Ranch 431 Brooks Loop, Hot Springs, AR
  • Girl Scout Camps: Cabinino, Crossed Arrows, Diamonds
  • Boys Soccer Academy, University of Central Arkansas Campus, Conway, AR
  • Ferncliff 1720 Ferncliff Rd Little Rock, AR 
  • Summer Camp Academy, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR
  • Fine Arts Camp, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR

Check with your local school, church, and therapy centers as they may also have camps during the summer. Register early!

-Teresa Hendrix, NE Region

April is Month of the Military Child!

April is the Month of the Military Child. The color Purple has been chosen as a visual recognition for support. This celebration or recognition of the military child/teen/student is so important for people to understand the good, bad, awesome and sometimes ugliness that these kiddos experience. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Tips for School Staff: It is deployment time for many Arkansas reserve families. It would be great to be know deployment times of mlitary families so you can look out for any mental health or behavioral issues that may arise and provide extra support to those students!

-Loreena Hegenbart, North Central Region


I always think of March as the month of change. Our clocks change, the seasons change, the temperature changes.  This got me thinking about some of the challenges children with disabilities face when dealing with change. Social stories are a great way to help children and families handle new situations. They are often used with individuals on the autism spectrum but I have found them helpful with children who are anxious or nervous.  These stories are designed in a specific way that takes the child step by step through what they will experience.  It allows them to process the scenario before they actually go through the experience.  Social stories can range from washing hands to going on a trip.  They are a great source for parents and teachers too.  Below is a website that has developed helpful social stories.

Carol Gray Social Stories

-Katrinka Sullivan, NW and River Valley Region

Welcome Our New Parent Mentor!

Lauryn is involved in several different non-profits that benefit children with disabilities. She has a master’s in social work and is a small business owner. Lauryn is married and has two children, one with multiple disabilities where each condition has a different impact on his home life and in his educational environment. Lauryn works hard to promote inclusion and raise awareness of her sons’ challenges at home, school and in the community. She also volunteers her time with both Ag for Autism and Make-A-Wish in the Northeast region and in the Arkansas Delta. A farming family heavily immersed in the culture of that lifestyle, Lauryn and her family make their home in Poinsett County.

-Lauryn Tacker, Delta Parent Mentor

Parent Mentor Bios

TCFEF Events!

Join TCFEF and Dr. Ruth Eyres for

Puberty and Beyond for Parents!

April 15th from 10:00-12:00

Harrison, Arkansas

PDF Flyer

10th Annual Famous Family Bistro Conference and Disability Resource Expo

Hosted by Arkansas PAC for CMS.

Join TCFEF and others for resources, prizes, food, and more!

April 29th from 8:00-1:00

Little Rock, Arkansas

PDF Flyer

Registration Link

Awareness in March/April

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month! Look for the hashtag #DDAM2023 on social media and CLICK HERE to find ways to spread awareness!

World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day is March 21st! Celebrate and spread awareness by rocking mismatched socks! To learn more about ways to celebrate and spread awareness CLICK HERE

National Cerebral Palsy Month

March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month! Celebrate and spread awareness by wearing GREEN! To find more ways to spready awareness, CLICK HERE

Month of the Military Child

In April, we celebrate our military families and their children by wearing PURPLE! Did you know Arkansas has Purple Star Schools for military friendly schools? To find out more about this program, how to celebrate Month of the Military Child, and for resources, go to our website CLICK HERE!

Autism Acceptance Month

During the month of April, people celebrate Autism awareness by wearing BLUE. There has been a recent shift to wear GOLD or RED for Autism acceptance. To find out more ways to spread awareness and acceptance, CLICK HERE

National Occupational Therapy Month

April is also National OT month! TCFEF would like to extend a huge thanks to all the amazing OTs out there that support children and adults with disabilities! Don't forget to thank your local OTs! For more ways to celebrate and spread awarness CLICK HERE


The public health emergency will end April 2023. Medicaid Renewals will start going out! Make sure your contact information is updated. You can even renew your Medicaid online! Don't allow your coverage to expire if you are still eligibile. If you are a child or adult with a disaiblity, you may qualify for other Medicaid programs. Don't wait!

Medicaid Portal

Board Member Spotlight

Rachel Hritz is an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher for grades K-5. Before that she spent 9 years teaching Kindergarten and became an outspoken advocate at her students IEP meetings. In 2018 Rachel was seeking an autism diagnosis for her son while also helping her students’ families go through the same process...

CLICK HERE to read board member bios and learn how to become one!

We want to hear from you!

Let us know about your disabililty event! We can spread the word in our newsletter and on social media! Email us


Want to request a topic or have an idea for our newsletter? Email us

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