As a parent, you wear many hats. You’re a researcher finding out more about your child’s learning and attention issues. You’re a teacher helping your child learn new things. You’re an advocate pushing to get your child the assistance he needs.
You may have a lot of questions about how to navigate the educational 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 Parenting Training and Information Centers
The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) provides money for each state to have at least one PTI. The centers help the families of children from birth to age 22 who have all types of disabilities. The main goal of PTIs is to give parents support and free information on how to make the most of their child’s education.
The centers provide parents 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 English as a second language. These centers make sure parents understand their rights in the special education process. The centers also help parents learn to communicate about and participate in their child’s education.
How Parent Centers Can Help You
Parent centers provide workshops and training sessions about IDEA, special education and disabilities. They can also suggest ways to handle learning and attention issues at home.
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 confusing. Centers go by several different names. For example, the PTI in Delaware is simply called the Parent Information Center. The center in Washington, DC, is called Advocates for Justice and Education. The Center for Parent Information and Resources website 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 workers at these centers are parents who also have children with disabilities. They may understand your journey.