Informing, Educating, Empowering Families

At the Federation for Children with Special Needs, we strive to:

    • inform families of their legal rights,
    • educate families about systems and strategies, and
    • empower families to be their child’s best advocate.

The Federation for Children with Special Needs presents workshops throughout the year in communities across Massachusetts. All Parent Training and Information Center workshops are open to the public and free to attend.

Workshops Calendar Request a Workshop


PTIC Workshop Topics

Special education laws are complex, and we recommend that parents attend several PTI workshops to be fully apprised of their legal rights and responsibilities. Many parents find it useful to attend our workshops multiple times.

A good place to start is our Special Education Basic Rights Series: All of our Basic Rights workshops provide foundational information on the rights of families under state and federal special education laws.

Basic Rights: Evaluation and Eligibility
This presentation is a comprehensive introduction into special education laws and procedures. We will delve into the purpose of the law, referrals, evaluations, and the team meeting process including determining eligibility.  Further discussion will focus on services, placement, and what to do when you receive a proposed IEP. You will also learn what to do if the student is not eligible and parent’s procedural due process rights for resolving disputes.

Basic Rights: Understanding the IEP
This presentation was developed to help families gain a deeper understanding of the IEP document. We will talk about why it is important, how it is developed and the different sections of the document. Further discussion will focus on what types of services are included and measurable goals. You will also learn about what to do when you receive a proposed IEP and parent’s procedural due process rights for resolving disputes.

Basic Rights: Transition Planning (for IEP students ages 14-22)
*Highly recommended for Regional High School Districts and Vocational High Schools. 
This presentation addresses the planning involved when a student is of transition age. The importance of planning, the roles of both parent/guardian and student and the student’s post-secondary vision. We will discuss how to prepare for the transition planning meeting, the age of majority, and procedural due process rights for resolving disputes.

For more information, please attend one or more of our other PTI workshops:

New for the 2021-2022 School year!
Bullying: What Parents Need to Know
Our new presentation addresses what a bully is; the school’s legal obligation to prevent and address bullying; some strategies and tools for dealing with bullying; and how to address bullying in the IEP. We welcome both parents and professionals to join us for this extremely important discussion.
*If a group or organization has 10 or more people in attendance for this workshop, the workshop fee can be waived.

Turning Three Essentials
Explains the differences between early intervention and special education, the transition planning conference, the special education procedures including referral, evaluation, the Team meeting, eligibility determination, services, goals, placement, response options and parent’s procedural due process rights for resolving disputes.

Effective Communication
Describes how to be an effective communicator, why effective communication with the school is important, summarizes the methods of communication, how to establish effective communication with the school and parent’s procedural due process rights for resolving disputes.

Suspension & Discipline in Special Education
Describes school responsibilities for discipline, range of consequences for rule violations, difference between suspensions, expulsions and emergency removals, procedures for out of school suspensions and expulsions, and legal protections for students on IEPs.

MCAS: Access & Achievement for Students with Disabilities
Introduces the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and how children with disabilities can participate in meaningful ways in MCAS.

504 Plans
Explains 504 Plans, who qualifies, what it contains, and the major differences between a 504 Plan and an IEP.

Creating a Post-Secondary Vision
Explains the role of the student’s post-secondary vision in transition planning, where to start, how to write a vision statement and how the vision can impact assessments and the transition planning process.