The Parent Training and Information Center

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is our federal special education law. It was first passed in 1975. The primary purpose of IDEA is to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities. The goal is to help students make effective progress using specially designed instruction and/or related services such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technology, and counseling to meet their unique needs.

One of IDEA’s foundational principles is the right of parents to participate in the educational decision making regarding their child with a disability. As the parent, you are a vital member of the Team that designs your child’s special education program. You know your child’s strengths and weaknesses at home. You know your child’s history, development, and family factors impacting your child’s learning. As your child’s most important and lifelong advocate, you are the one who sets high expectations for your child.

The special education laws, regulations, and process are complex. You may have a lot of questions about how to navigate the special education system. You may also have questions about medical insurance coverage, or where to find legal, medical, or other services and help for your child.

To help you play your vital role in the special education process, IDEA funds each state to have at least one Parent Training and Information Center (PTI). The purpose of all PTIs is similar. It is to inform, educate, train, and support parents, youth with disabilities and the professionals that work with them about the special education laws and procedures so they can be effective advocates for their children. The Federation was the nation’s first parent information and training center funded under the federal special education law in 1975.



Information Center

The Information Center provides free information and assistance on special education laws and procedures, disabilities, community resources, and more. Evening hours are available.


PTI Workshops

PTI workshops on a variety of special education topics are offered regularly throughout Massachusetts and are free of charge to parents, professionals and students.

person standing in from of a group speaking

Parent Consultant Training Institute (PCTI)

The Parent Consultant Training Institute (PCTI) is an intensive training program designed to provide all parents and professionals with a solid foundation in special education laws, procedures, and related subjects.



The Parent Training and Information Center has many online resources available to help families of children with special needs.


Below are quick access links to some of our most common resources.