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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.

See our schedule to register for a workshop in your area.

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
A comprehensive introduction to special education laws and procedure:

    • purpose of the law,
    • when and how to make a referral,
    • evaluations,
    • the Team meeting process,
    • standards for determining eligibility,
    • services and placement,
    • what to do if the team decides the student is not eligible,
    • what happens after the close of the Team meeting, 
    • parent’s response options to an IEP, and
    • procedural due process rights for resolving disputes.

Basic Rights: Understanding the IEP
Provides an understanding of the Individual Educational Plan (IEP):

    • why it is important,
    • how it is developed,
    • what information belongs in each section,
    • what types of services are included,
    • measurable goals,
    • what to do when you receive a proposed IEP, and
    • procedural due process rights for resolving disputes.

Basic Rights: Transition Planning (for IEP students ages 14-22) 
Provides an understanding of the transition planning process:

    • why transition planning is important,
    • services that could be included,
    • who is eligible,
    • student and parent roles in transition planning,
    • role of student’s vision,
    • how to prepare for a transition planning meeting,
    • age of majority,
    • anticipated graduation date, and
    • procedural due process rights for resolving disputes.

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

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.