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Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) operates five integrated and interdependent statutory programs that share a primary goal – to help people with disabilities become fully productive members of society by achieving independence and meaningful employment.  GVRA has highly-skilled, trained teams of professionals, including Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs), who offer the following services for Georgia residents:  Counseling and Guidance, Postsecondary Support, Supported Employment, Work Readiness Training, Job Placement Assistance,  Assistive Work Technology, Vocational Training, and On-the-job training.

Please click here for further information.

HCDE’s 3 Year Plan for System Changes in Exceptional Education

HCDE-blk-and-whiteFor 15 years LifeLine has advocated for systems change on behalf of thousands of Hamilton County students with special needs.  With the formation of the Chattanooga Inclusive Ed Working Group a couple of years ago, we joined many others in documenting the needs of the county and offering solutions to meet those needs.  On Thursday evening, July 19th, 2018, Dr. Cale Horne with Chattanooga Inclusive Ed and Mr. Garfield Adams presented the Group’s 3 year plan for systemic change to the Hamilton County School Board.

A copy of the final draft of the 3 year plan can be found here: HCDE – Three-Year Plan – Final draft for distribution   Our sincere gratitude to all of the individuals, families, and community partners that brought this project to this point.  The board received the presentation and we look forward to continuing the work we have begun.

New Local Resource for Learning & Attention Issues!

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About four years ago, 15 national level organizations serving families affected by learning disability and related challenges collaborated in an effort to pool their collective knowledge in one website.   They recognized that the 1 in 5 who are affected needed a central location to find resources.  www.Understood.org was born.  As the resource achieved national recognition, families began requesting local groups and resources from Understood.  They also wanted opportunities to connect with other families.  Understood responded by creating an on-the-ground local resource/outreach program of parent mentors.  They were called Parent Fellows.

In March 2018, Lisa Mattheiss, LifeLine’s Executive Director, was appointed Parent Fellow with Understood.org.  She is excited to be able to more specifically meet the needs of students, families, and educators in the metro Chattanooga/Northwest Georgia area through this opportunity.  Through the Parent Fellow position, Lisa will be (more…)

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Looper Speech & Hearing Center

Looper Speech & Hearing Center is a nonprofit organization governed by a local voluntary Board of Directors dedicated to meeting the speech, language and hearing needs of our area’s children and adults.  They offer evaluation, therapy, counseling, and consultation services for the following:

Speech Issues:  articulation, voice disorders, stuttering, aphasia, laryngectomy, tongue-thrust, swallowing issues, dysarthria, cleft palate, delayed speech/language

Hearing Issues: pure tone issues, speech reception threshold, speech discrimination, otoacoustoic emission, otoadmittance (impedance), ABR, central auditory test, hearing screening, auditory training.

Speech pathologists help patients develop, or recover, reliable communication skills so patients can fulfill their educational, vocational, and social roles.

For further information please contact them at:

Looper Speech & Hearing Center

1011 Professional Blvd./Dalton, GA 30720

Phone: 706-226-4623

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Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee

Epilepsy and seizure disorders are defined as neurological disorders marked by sudden, recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, and/or convulsions and are associated with abnormal electrical surges in the brain.

Epilepsy Facts:

  • 1 in 100 people have active epilepsy in the United States
  • There are over 20 types of seizures
  • 1 in 26 people will have epilepsy/seizure disorders at some point in their life
  • Common causes of epilepsy are head injury, infection, fever, brain tumors, and genetics.  However, no cause is identified for 70% of people with epilepsy. (more…)
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Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, Inc. – Pregnancy, Immigration, HIV/AIDS, Counseling

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, Inc.’s mission statement is “Empowered by the grace of Jesus Christ, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee fosters human dignity of the vulnerable in our region through shelter, counseling, education, advocacy, and reverence for life.”  Some of their services are:

The Pregnancy Center: Along with providing free pregnancy testing, birth options, and  informational & community referrals, they have added the “Earn While You Learn” Program.  Once classes are completed, the parents are given “Baby Bucks” to purchase new baby items such as car seats, cribs, diapers, etc., from their Baby Store.  Eligible ages – birth to 2 years.

The Office of Immigrant Services: Fostering family unity and self-sufficiency of immigrants in our area, this program assists families in navigating the complicated U.S. immigration system & works to connect them with needed resources.  CCETN is the only low-cost provider of immigration legal services accredited by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration Appeals in all of East Tennessee.

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Juice Plus+ Children’s Health Study

As parents, we have our work cut out for us.  It’s hard to get kids to eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables when their taste buds are hardwired to prefer donuts, french fries, and pizza.

Juice Plus+ is dedicated to improving the state of children’s health and nutrition around the world.  It is a whole food-based nutritional product that provides nutrition from 17 different fruits, vegetables, and grains–like apples, broccoli, kale, parsley, and beets–in a convenient and inexpensive capsule form.  Juice Plus+ helps you bridge the gap between what your family should eat and what you do eat every day.

Juice plus+ is NOT a vitamin.  It is fruits and vegetables compressed into capsule or gummy forms.  In order to bypass the taste and/or texture of fruits and vegetables, families with special sensory needs have also had much success with these products.  Reduction of inflammation, building a healthy immune system, protecting structural integrity of DNA, and cardiovascular wellness are all additional positive side effects of this product.

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An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?  According to the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD):

“Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are general terms for a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders. The new diagnostic classification system (DSM-5, May 2013) combines the previous subcategories of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder–not other-wise specified (PDD-NOS) into the one category of ASD.

Autism spectrum disorder is present early in life and is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in:

• Communication/language
• Social abilities
• Restricted/unusual patterns of activities and interests

The characteristics of ASD can be present in different combinations and at different levels of severity. Often specific behaviors vary widely from person to person. ASD occurs in as many as 1 in 59 children, is about 4-5 times more common in boys than in girls, and occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups.” (Autism Spectrum Disorder:  Tips and Resources for Families, TRIAD, 2018).

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