If you are new to the world of special education law it is hard to know where to begin. The procedures are confusing, the language is alphabet soup, and school districts are not forthcoming about parent’s rights and options. For a parent to meaningfully participate in their child’s PPT/IEP meeting, however, it is critical to do your homework and understand both federal law (IDEA) and Connecticut state regulation.The Feinstein Education Law Group provides free consultations to discuss questions and concerns about your child’s school program. Often parents contact us when there is a clear dispute that requires legal representation. Sometimes, however, a parent is newly overwhelmed with the process and looking for more general support and information. During these phone calls I often recommend to connect with a local parent group, or to utilize free resources through the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center. CPAC is a statewide nonprofit organization that offers free information, trainings, and support to families of children with any disability or chronic illness from birth to age 26. CPAC is Connecticut’s Parent Training and Information Center (PTI). Many parents aren’t aware that each state has a PTI authorized through IDEA. PTIs are mandated to provide free trainings and information. PTIs are also mandated by IDEA to assist parents to
- better understand the nature of their children’s disabilities, educational, and developmental needs;
- communicate effectively with school districts or early intervention providers;
- participate in decisionmaking processes and the development of IEPs and individualized family service plans;
- obtain appropriate information about options, programs, services, and resources available to assist children with disabilities and their families;
- understand the provision of IDEA for the education of, and the provision of early intervention services to, children with disabilities
- participate in activities at the school level that benefit their children; and
- participate in school reform activities.
In December CPAC announced the appointment of their new Executive Director, John Flanders, following Nancy Prescott’s retirement after 32 years with the organization.The deadline to sign up for CPACs next 8 Session Parent Leadership Training is March 7, 2016. You can find out more about CPAC and other trainings at cpacinc.org or on Facebook.