Our Special Education Parent Program
Program Director - Charlie Merrick
The mission of our Special Education Parent Programs are to provide parents of children with disabilities, and professionals who work with children with disabilities, information, trainings, resources, workshops, and strategies to promote advocacy and meaningful involvement with their children's education program. Our Special Education Parent Programs use strength based and family specific training.
For further information about a particular topic, please call to speak with one of our parent training coordinators.
North Country Special Education Parent Center (NCSEPC) - (State Program)
NRCIL has recently been named by the New York State Education Department as one of 13 statewide Special Education Parent Technical Assistance Centers (TAC). These Centers will provide parents of children with disabilities with information, resources, and strategies to:
In order to promote the development of effective parental and family engagement statewide, the Parent Centers will:
- Collaborate with public school districts on methods to facilitate positive parent involvement as a means of improving special education services and results for children with disabilities
- Improve parent participation in the survey process to measure the percent of parents with a child receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities
- Assist NYSED to identify and promote effective practices for positive parental involvement in the special education process
Parent Training & Information Center - (Federal Program)
Please contact NRCIL's Parent Training & Information Coordinator Richelle (Shelly) David at NRCIL 210 Court Street, Suite 107 Watertown, NY 13601 or call us at: 1-800-585-8703 or 1-315-785-8703.
What is Parent Training & Information Center?
The Advocacy Center’s Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) program is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The purpose of the program is to provide training and information to families of children with disabilities and to the professionals who serve them. PTICs serve families of children of all ages and all disabilities to help them better understand their children’s disabilities and education needs, communicate more effectively with school and related professionals, understand their rights and responsibilities under IDEA, and obtain appropriate services for their children. The Northern Regional Center for Independent Living (NRCIL) is a Core Community Partner with the Advocacy Center for PTIC.
Counties that are served under the Federal PTIC program:
- Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties are all covered. (including Fort Drum and the Saint Regis Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation)
Why Visit a Parent Center?
- To gain a better understanding of your child’s disability
- To get connected to other community resources
- To learn more about your rights and your child’s rights under the IDEA
- To build stronger partnerships with your child’s school
- To learn more effective ways to communicate with teachers and other personnel working with your child
- To connect with other parents
- To become a stronger and more effective advocate for your child
- To learn how and where to access helpful information from a variety of sources
- To receive professional development opportunities
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) overview
- Advocacy Training Program
- Disability-Specific Workshops
- Effectively Working with Your School
- Parents Rights and Responsibilities
- Effective Communication
- Conflict Resolution
- Special Education Policies and Procedures
- Laws, Rules and Regulations
- Schools and Bullying (Dignity Act)
- Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS)
- Many more....
Training is designed to be strength based and family specific. If you are interested in a particular topic, please call and inquire.
Your Rights as a Parent:
- To be fully informed
- To be notified in advance of all meetings
- To request a new meeting day and time if you can't attend
- To participate in decision making
- To have all information explained
- To have confidentiality maintained
- To be able to review all school records
- To be able to challenge and appeal the CSE/CPSE decisions
Working Through an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Before an IEP meeting:
- Obtain and review your child's past plans and evaluations.
- What will support your child's growth and development? Keep in mind:
- your child's strengths/weaknesses
- your child's behavior plan, routine, and structure
- Write down the things you would like to discuss and questions you have.
- Invite someone to attend the meeting with you for support.
- Talk with your child. Find out his/her feelings.
- Remember to review your parental rights.
During an IEP meeting:
- Adopt a positive attitude.
- You or your support person should take notes at the meeting.
- Take the time to ask your questions.
- If something is not clear or you do not understand a term or acronym, ask for an explanation.
- Have realistic expectations of what the school can and cannot do.
After an IEP meeting:
- Communicate frequently with your child's team through a notebook, phone calls, or regular meetings.
- Stay involved. Consider joining parent groups, volunteer in the school, attend special events.
- Give positive feedback to the team when things work well for your child.
- Continue to evaluate. If the IEP is not working well for your child, talk to the team. If there are still concerns, request in writing, to the district's chairperson, the need to adjust the program.
- Keep informed, be an educated parent. Attend workshops and parent meetings.
- Sort by topic (i.e. reports, assessments, Individual Education Program and a record of telephone calls).
- Organize documents in chronological order.
- Read all documents thoroughly and evaluate the information. Check for accuracy, completeness, and consistency. Make notes in the margins if you have questions.
- Organize and store the documents in a safe and easy location.
All caring adults that work with children want them to grow up and become Successful Adults. School districts have caring, dedicated educators that work with your children everyday to achieve that end. Making connections with these individuals on behalf of your children is vital for their success.
For more information, contact Charlie Merrick at 315-785-8703.