Information is power! Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIC’s) provide training and information to parents of infants, toddlers, school-aged children, young adults with disabilities and professionals. This assistance helps parents participate more effectively with professionals in meeting the educational needs of their children with disabilities. PTIC’s work with families to obtain appropriate education services, work to improve educational results for all children, resolve problems between families and schools or other agencies, and connect children with disabilities to community resources that address their needs.
There are two Parent Training and Information Centers that serve families in Illinois. These agencies are funded by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Family Matters Parent Training and Information Center is a PTIC program at ARC Community Support Systems. Family Matters was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to become a Parent Training and Information Center, in October 2002, to serve the entire state of Illinois outside of the Chicago area. Family Matters provides information, referral, links, and training to parents, students with disabilities, and special education professionals. Parents can get assistance with special education problems or concerns, obtain information, and seek training opportunities through a toll free help line 1-866-436-7842. Regional coordinators in the North, South, East, West, and Central areas of the state offer free workshops on special education rights, responsibilities and related topics. The mission the Family Matters, Family Support Program and the Parent Training and Information Center is to build upon families’ strengths, empower parents and professionals to achieve the strongest possible outcomes for students with disabilities, and to enhance the quality of life for children and young adults with disabilities.
The Family Resource Center on Disabilities is located in Chicago. FRCD was organized in 1969 by parents, professionals, and volunteers who sought to improve services for all children with disabilities. A new Illinois law mandating the education of all children with disabilities by 1969 was the original impetus for their coming together – to inform and activate parents on their newly won rights. New legislation – P.L. 94-142 in 1975; P.L. 99-457 in 1986; P.L. 101-476 (IDEA) in 1990; P.L.101-336 (ADA) in 1990; and P.L. 105-17, (IDEA Amendments) in 1997; – intensified the Center’s efforts to educate and train parents, professionals, and volunteers. In 1976, the Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD) became one of five pilot programs to operate a parent center funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. FRCD provides information, support, and training to parents and professionals in the Chicago area.
Equip for Equality is the statewide protection and advocacy organization in Illinois. They provide legal assistance for a variety of issues, including special education, for families of children who receive services. They have a toll-free Helpline available at 1-866-KIDS-046 (1-866-543-7046). Helpline staff can answer questions, provide support and assist with learning about legal rights. The website for Equip for Equality has helpful information and instructions on how to request legal assistance at www.equipforequality.org.
There are additional advocacy organizations that provide you with tactical information to help you become a strong and knowledgeable advocate for your child. Incredible information and resources are available online to help families navigate the Special Education system. See our Related Website Links section, Educational Information and Resources for starters!
Special Education – Main Page
Requesting Special Education Services
Case Management for your Childs Special Education Services
Inclusion/Least Restrictive Environment
Advocacy Toolbox – Main Page