Training for Parents & Professionals


The following workshops are offered by Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC). Sessions are tailored to meet individual group needs and interests. Workshops can also be presented in Spanish. Parent organizations, school systems and professional agencies are welcome to contact CPAC for information about how to schedule a workshop in their area.

Since we typically receive more requests than we are able to grant each year, priority for free trainings is determined based on the following criteria:

  • Geographic diversity
  • Target audience including parents and professionals
  • Training open to all members of the community
  • Projected attendance of at least ten people
  • Topic areas targeted in Parent Training and Information grant
  • Host group providing space, AV equipment and publicity
  • Host organization is located in an Alliance School District

For more information or to schedule a workshop, please call us at (800) 445-2722.

The Nuts and Bolts of Special Education
Parents of children with disabilities will learn how to become more active participants in their children's education. This session will include information on evaluations, record keeping, Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Section 504 and dispute resolution.

Developing the Individualized Education Program
This training focuses on how parents can be actively and effectively involved in the development of the IEP. Participants will learn the key components of an IEP and will become familiar with current Connecticut IEP forms. The workshop will offer guidance about developing measurable goals and tips for monitoring a student's progress.

Preparing for the Planning and Placement Team Meeting
This training focuses on preparing for the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting. It will explore the roles and responsibilities of both parents and professionals- and will include information on futures planning, the importance of record-keeping and strategies for creating team relationships and having successful meetings.

Help! My Child is Struggling in School
This training will explore general education strategies used to support children having academic or behavioral difficulty. Participants will gain an understanding of Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI) an approach to supporting all children in school. The session will conclude with a review of the special education referral process.

Locate, Identify, Evaluate: Child Find in Connecticut
This training is designed to help parents and professionals understand Child Find, a process required by the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Law (IDEA) that requires school districts to locate children, birth through 21, who may have a disability, and may be eligible for early intervention or special education. The training covers the main steps to receiving special education: referral to special education, Planning and Placement Team process, evaluation, eligibility criteria, and implementation of the child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Participants will learn our state's timelines for all of the above and the training will also help participants understand what interventions and alternatives are available in the regular setting before referring the child to special education.

How Do I Know If My Child is Making Progress?
This workshop will introduce participants to the importance of reviewing data provided by the school to determine whether or not a child is making progress. Participants will learn how to use the IEP and other tools to determine what data should be collected and how to utilize it to ensure that a child is making continuous progress.

IEP Goals 101: A Guide for Monitoring Student Learning
This training will teach participants how to identify key information to incorporate into the present level of academic and functional performance and how to use present levels of academic and functional performance to create measurable goals and objectives.

A Positive Approach to Challenging Behavior
Families will be introduced to a new way of thinking about their children's challenging behaviors and about the need to advocate for behavioral supports. It introduces and provides an overview of the concepts of functional behavioral assessment and positive behavior interventions.

Discipline: Rights and Options for Students with Special Needs
This workshop will review the issues related to discipline that face students with special needs in school. Participants will become aware of the required process for suspension of a child with an IEP, learn the value of positive behavioral support programs and become familiar with the components and purpose of a functional behavioral assessment.

Effective Communication
Improved communication skills can help parents gain confidence whenever they are working with professionals who are helping their child. This training will help parents and professionals identify their communication strengths and weaknesses, and will offer strategies to help if obstacles arise.

Developing Positive Relationships Between Parents and Schools
The importance of positive home-school relationships and the effect of these relationships on students' success will be discussed. Participants will also learn strategies that families and schools can use to create meaningful relationships as well as the barriers to successful relationships.

Becoming Your Child's Best Advocate: Tips and Tools for Advocating for Your Child with Special Needs
Learn how to effectively communicate with your child's school and advocate for your child's appropriate education. Participants will learn tips on preparing for meetings with teachers, clearly communicating questions and goals, and how to foster positive relationships with your child's teachers.

Reaching Agreement by Working Together
This workshop will help participants increase their understanding of the components of effective communication. The workshop will also explain the difference between positions and interests held by members of a team and will explain the continuum of dispute resolution options.

Transition 101: Preparing Students with Disabilities for Success After High School
This presentation will offer an overview of the secondary transition process for students who receive special education services. Participants will learn about transition planning including the value of student participation, legal requirements, and transition planning in the Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Getting and Keeping the First Job
Students with disabilities and their parents will hear straight talk about employment including information on accommodations, disclosure, interviewing and self-employment. Information from an employer's perspective will also be shared.

Self-Advocacy Skills: What Students and Families Need to Know
Attendees will learn why it is important for young adults to advocate for themselves and will learn about the tools available to help students develop self-advocacy skills. Participants will hear from successful self-advocates in school, work, and a variety of other settings.

Understanding Challenging Behaviors in Young Children
This workshop will help participants change the way they view and react to their children's challenging behavior. Participants will learn what their children's behavior is communicating, how to use positive behavior supports to encourage the development of new communication skills, and practical tips for promoting children's success.

Intervening Early: Steps to Take When You're Concerned about Your Young Child
Learn what steps parents and professionals can take when a young child is having difficulty at home or in an early childhood program. This presentation will describe how early intervention services can support children who are developing differently than their peers. Caretakers will also gain an understanding of when and how to proceed with the formal referral process for special education.

The Transition Process: From Birth to Three to Special Education
Families of children enrolled in Birth to Three will increase their understanding of the transition process from Birth to Three services and will gain knowledge of the key components of special education services under IDEA. Participants will learn about their role as an equal partner of the PPT and ways that they can effectively advocate for their children and communicate with schools.

Supporting Young Children
This presentation will explore the legal, practical and positive implications of including young children who have disabilities with typical peers in early childhood settings. Parents and professionals will learn about the research that supports inclusive programs and how Connecticut is putting this research into practice. Practical strategies and reasonable accommodations will be discussed. Information on existing resources for providers and families will also be available.