At a glance
Every state has at least one Parent Training and Information Center (PTI).
These centers provide free information to families of kids from birth to age 26 who have a disability.
You can learn more about your child’s rights at a parent center.
As a parent or caregiver, you wear many hats. You’re a researcher finding out more about your child’s learning and thinking differences. You’re a teacher helping your child learn new things. You’re an advocate working to get support at school to help your child thrive.
You may have a lot of questions about how to navigate the education system or where to go to find legal, medical, or other help for your child. Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs) can lend a hand.
About Parent Training and Information Centers
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides money for each state to have at least one PTI. The centers help the families of kids from birth to age 26 who have a disability. The main goal of PTIs is to give parents or guardians support and free information on how to make the most of their child’s education.
The centers provide families with information about:
About Community Parent Resource Centers
Some states have community centers in addition to PTIs. The community centers work mainly with low-income families or families that speak . These centers make sure parents understand their rights in the process. The centers also help families communicate with schools and participate in their child’s education.
How Parent Centers Can Help You
Parent centers offer workshops and training sessions about IDEA, special education, and disabilities. They can also suggest ways at home to help kids who learn and think differently.
You can call or email a parent center. Or you can visit a center in person. The people there can answer questions, give advice, or find the help you need.
The centers often have lists of tutors, educational specialists, and special programs or schools. Many centers also have large libraries of helpful books, videos, and pamphlets. Some of this information is available at no cost. Some centers also send out newsletters.
Finding a Center Near You
Locating your state’s PTI can be a little tricky because the centers go by different names. In some states the names are straightforward, like PTI Nebraska. But New Mexico’s PTI is called Parents Reaching Out. A national website called the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) has a state-by-state listing of PTIs.
Taking advantage of a parent center can help you build a support network. Chances are good the people at these centers are parents who also have children with disabilities. They may understand your journey.
Parent centers often hold workshops about special education rights, IDEA, and other topics of interest to parents and guardians.
You can find support groups and other community resources through your state’s PTI.
The CPIR’s website has a state-by-state listing of PTIs.
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About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.
Sheldon H. Horowitz, EdD is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.