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What are Parent Centers?

Parent Centers are an invaluable resource for families of children with disabilities. Parent Centers are comprised of Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs). Every state has at least one PTI and though each one has its own unique name, each is commonly known as a PTI (e.g. the PTI in Arizona is Raising Special Kids and the PTI in Colorado is PEAK Parent Center).

Some states also have Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs). CPRCs do the same kind of work as PTIs, but they focus on reaching traditionally underserved families who have children with disabilities, such as those living in a specific area in the state, those with low income, or those with limited English proficiency. PTIs and CPRCs are funded through our nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and are designated by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

Purpose of Parent Centers

Families who have a child with a disability have special concerns and often need a huge amount of information. And, dealing with many issues at one time can be overwhelming. The experienced staff at Parent Centers, many of whom have a children with disabilities themselves, help families sort through the various issues and put them in perspective. The purpose of Parent Centers is to provide parents, self advocates (individuals with disabilities), and family members with high quality information and training about:

  • Specific disabilities, 
  • Parent and children’s rights under the IDEA and other relevant laws, and 
  • Resources in their community, the state, and the nation.

Parent Centers know about the needs of children and families. They understand school policies and practices. Through their experience with the education of children with disabilities and understanding of the needs of families and schools, Parent Centers make valuable contributions on a local, statewide, and national basis in support of schools to improve services and outcomes for students with disabilities.

PEAK Parent Center is the PTI for the State of Colorado. If you live outside Colorado, you can (external, non-PEAK website) Find Your Parent Center through the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) website!

Shirley’s Story

Shirley and baby photo

Shirley works for PEAK Parent Center, the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI, also known as a Parent Center) in her home state of Colorado. She is also a parent of three children, her oldest son has significant hearing loss. Shirley first became acquainted with PEAK when she needed support to learn how to advocate for her son so he could get the best education possible. As a consumer, she found PEAK’s work to be so compelling that she decided to join the staff and help make sure ALL children with disabilities can receive an education with equally high standards! Today, Shirley loves to help other parents! She has a unique understanding of what they are going through. Every day she equips parents, educators, and other professionals with the skills and tools they need to successfully educate students with all types of disabilities AND abilities!

(External, non-PEAK website) Center for Parent Information and Resources