Parent Training and Resources


Disability & Special Education Acronyms

Updated June 2020   Welcome to the alphabet soup of special education! The disability community is full of acronyms that people constantly use in writing and in conversation, and it’s important to know what those acronyms stand for. Acronyms are used in order to abbreviate names or phrases. The CPIR is pleased to provide this list.


Video | 8 Insider Tips on Navigating IEP Meetings

“Are you getting ready for an IEP meeting? Are you nervous or wondering what to expect? You’re not alone.”

This 13-minute video from is directed at parents who are getting ready for an IEP meeting or who are new to the process. The video captures the conversation between two parents (one a former teacher), both of whom are “veterans” of many IEP team meetings. They candidly talk about what they wish they’d known before the meetings. Eight nuggets of guidance emerge during their conversation.

The video is available in English and, using subtitles, in Spanish. Read more here, and learn about accompanying resources, including the podcast Why We Cry at IEP Meetings.


Contents of the IEP

Current as of November 2017.  An IEP is a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in keeping with certain requirements of law and regulations. These requirements are discussed.


Module 1: Top 10 Basics of Special Education

While the date of publication for this training module was July 2007, the information provided about the 10 basics of the special education process is still accurate. The requirements of the law (IDEA) have not changed since this module was written. What’s most likely out of date as of January 2018 will be the many references to resources of further information or assistance on the steps involved in special education.


All About the IEP

Current as of July 2017.  When a child receives special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), he or she must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a written document listing, among other things, the special educational services that the child will receive. The […]


Present Levels (Component of the IEP)

Current as of September 2017.  IDEA requires that each IEP must include a statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. This part of the IEP is commonly referred to as the “present levels statement.” For short, we’re just going to […]



Annual Goals in the IEP

Current as of September 2017. Now let’s take a look at annual goals, the second component of the IEP, in the following sections: Annual goals, in a nutshell IDEA’s exact words Tie between “present levels” and annual goals Using prompting questions Addressing the child’s academic.


Placement, Short-and-Sweet

Once the IEP team has decided what services a child needs, a decision must be made about where services will be provided. Where the child’s IEP is carried out is called placement. Parents have the right to be part of the group that decides the child’s placement.

In deciding the child’s placement, the group must make sure that the child has the maximum opportunity appropriate to learn with children who do not have disabilities—in academic, nonacademic, and extracurricular activities. This part of IDEA is called Least Restrictive Environment or LRE.




Positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) are principles that help all children improve their behavior at school, at home, and in the community. The benefits are enormous. When children are in positive, predictable, consistent environments, they have better grades, better behavior, higher self-esteem, better school attendance, greater motivation, and more success in life. Schools practice PBIS. As a parent, you can too. This presentation will show you how to use positive approaches to teach your child new behavioral skills to use at home and in the community. These skills will be important throughout the life of your child.

Module 1

Module 2

Supporting Young Children with Challenging Behaviors. In this 59-minute webinar from June 2016, Dr. Tweety Yates discusses possible causes of young children’s challenging behaviors and some effective strategies for supporting these children. Connect with the webinar, a PDF of the webinar slides, and a summary of the webinar’s content at:


Behavior at school. What a gigantic topic, for families and schools alike. NICHCY is pleased to connect you with resources for helping children with disabilities with respect to behavior at school.

Having a child with challenging behavior can affect the entire family, and family members often find the need for more information and guidance in this difficult area. The resources listed below are intended to connect families with resources and support. The list isn’t intended to be exhaustive of the behavior resources available, but it will certainly get you started and lead you to yet more information and resources.

Assistive Technology

Gathering STEAM: Planning for Inclusion with UDL
Ever wondered about how deconstructing a traditional lesson plan could lead to a more inclusive learning environment? Using UDL principles framed by CCSS, Luis Perez & Kendra Grant walk the deconstructing lesson plan path and explore processes to design inclusive lessons to meet academic needs of all learners.

Growth mindset and belonging research: What educators and families can do to support students’ resilience during the transition to college.

Video no longer exists.

Getting Ready for Age Majority
This webinar discusses:
– why age of majority is a critical issue for parents and youth with disabilities alike;
– the importance of starting early and building young people’s decision-making skills;
– resources, strategies, and tools for preparing youth for reaching their age of majority;
– the valuable role that supported decision-making and person-centered planning can play in supporting the young person after he or she gains their majority; and
– the part that Parent Centers can play in moving this message forward.
Presenters | Sue Swenson, Dawn Rowe, and Cathy Haarstad

Moving on Using Person-Centered Planning to Support Transitions
Presented by Cheryl M. Jorgensen Ph.D at the 2015 PEAL Conference

This website, which is continually updated, provides youth, young adults, parents, and professionals with secondary transition resources to facilitate a young person’s progress towards post-secondary goals related to education, employment, and community living. Scroll through this homepage to find topics that are of interest to you.

K- 16 Special Education and Preparing your child for Adult Life
Two-part online learning course: Beginning With the End in Mind

Module One: Developing a Strong IEP
This course will give you a better understanding of the Individual Education Program (IEP). You will learn about the components of an IEP, how to use the IEP to get an appropriate education, and a parent’s role in developing the IEP.
Module Two: Making Inclusive Education a Reality
This course will provide parents with the tools necessary to work collaboratively with school teams. Questions that will be answered include, “How can I work with my school district to develop education services for my child that are based on high expectations and prepare my child for a productive life?” and, “How can we build a school team committed to classrooms where all students participate in learning?”


Are You Thinking What I Think You’re Thinking? Nurturing Social Thinking In Children. For children who struggle with social learning, day to day life in school can be an enormous challenge. In this webinar, noted author and lecturer, Michelle Garcia Winner, shares some practical ideas for educators and parents to help children with social cognition challenges become better social thinkers and communicators. This session will focus on elementary school age children.

See the Charade: What we Need to Do and Not Do to Make Friendships Happen.
Presented by Chreyl M. Jorgensen Ph.D at the 2015 PEAL Conference

Response to Intervention

RTI & Family Engagement: A Construct for Intentionality. In this webinar, Dr. Darren Woodruff, former co-director for the National Center on Response to Intervention, and Debra Jennings, co-director of the Region 1 Parent Technical Assistance Center in New Jersey, discuss research related to parent involvement in the RTI process. They provide a general overview of research related to family engagement, a construct for developing strategies for intentional family engagement when implementing RTI, and discuss the importance of collaborating with OSEP-funded Parent Centers in addressing family engagement.

Video no longer exists.

This collection or resources provides information for parents and families abour RTI as well as information for schools about working with parents and families throughout RTI implementation. As a result of revisions to the website, links embedded within documents may no longer be correct. To ensure you are able to access supplemental or related materials search by the title of the document on the website.

Video no longer exists.





Assistive Technology: An Overview

This module offers an overview of assistive technology (AT) and explores ways to expand students’ access to it in the classroom (est. completion time: 2 hours).



Accessing the General Education Curriculum: Inclusion Considerations for Students with Disabilities

This module highlights classroom considerations that promote access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities (est. completion time: 1.5 hours).



Accommodations: Instructional and Testing Supports for Students with Disabilities

This module overviews instructional and testing accommodations for students with disabilities, explains how accommodations differ from other kinds of instructional adaptations, defines the four categories of accommodations, and describes how to implement accommodations and evaluate their effectiveness for individual students (est. completion time: 2 hours).



Addressing Disruptive and Noncompliant Behaviors (Part 1): Understanding the Acting-Out Cycle

First in a two-part series, this module discusses problem behavior in terms of the stages of the acting-out cycle and suggests ways to respond to students in the cycle’s different phases (est. completion time: 1 hour).



Addressing Disruptive and Noncompliant Behaviors (Part 2): Behavioral Interventions

The second in a two-part series, this module describes interventions that can increase initial compliance to teacher requests as well as interventions that can be implemented to decrease disruptive and noncompliant behaviors (est. completion time: 1 hour).



Early Childhood Behavior Management: Developing and Teaching Rules

This module, a DEC-recommended resource, includes information on how to create developmentally appropriate behavior rules for early childhood classrooms so that they link to a given school’s behavior expectations. The importance of communication with families about rules and expected behaviors is also stressed (est. completion time: 1.5 hours).



Family Engagement: Collaborating with Families of Students with Disabilities

This module—a revision of Collaborating with Families, which was originally developed in collaboration with the PACER Center—addresses the importance of engaging the families of students with disabilities in their child’s education. It highlights some of the key factors that affect these families and outlines some practical ways to build relationships and create opportunities for involvement (est. completion time: 1 hour).



Parents: Supporting Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This parent resource offers tools and strategies for supporting your child’s learning at home during school shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.



Secondary Transition: Interagency Collaboration

This module defines and discusses the purpose of interagency collaboration and addresses the importance of partnering with agencies to improve outcomes for students with disabilities who are transitioning from high school (est. completion time: 2 hours).


The Pre-Referral Process: Procedures for Supporting Students with Academic and Behavioral Concerns

This module highlights the benefits of the pre-referral process—a preventative approach that can eliminate inappropriate referrals to special education—and outlines the six stages most commonly involved in its implementation (est. completion time: 1 hour).



Autism Spectrum Disorder (Part 1): An Overview for Educators

This module provides information on the early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as an overview of the difference between a medical diagnosis and an educational determination of ASD. Resources include notes on instructional considerations for teachers who have children and students with ASD in their classrooms, as well as things to keep in mind when working with the families of those children and students (est. completion time: 2 hours).



Autism Spectrum Disorder (Part 2): Evidence-Based Practices

This module, second in a two-part series, highlights strategies that have been shown to be effective in teaching appropriate behaviors and skills and decreasing inappropriate behaviors with children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It next explores several strategies that are particularly effective with young children, elementary and middle school students, and high school students (est. completion time: 3 hours).


IEPs: Developing High-Quality Individualized Education Programs

This module details the process of developing high-quality individualized education programs (IEPs) for students with disabilities. The module discusses the requirements for IEPs as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) with implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District (est. completion time: 3 hours).



Related Services: Common Supports for Students with Disabilities

This module offers a description of related services and an overview of the benefits they provide to students with disabilities in the general education classroom. It highlights five commonly used related services (Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology Services, Social Work Services, and Psychological Services) and briefly highlights many of the other related services as identified through IDEA ’04 (est. completion time: 1 hour).



RTI (Part 1): An Overview

This module outlines the differences between the IQ-achievement discrepancy model and the Response-to-Intervention (RTI) approach. It also offers a brief overview of each tier in the RTI model and explains its benefits (est. completion time: 1 hour).



RTI (Part 2): Assessment

This module explores in detail the assessment procedures integral to RTI. It also outlines how to use progress monitoring data to determine whether a student is meeting the established performance criteria or whether more intensive intervention is needed (est. completion time: 2 hours).



RTI (Part 3): Reading Instruction

This module illustrates different research-based reading strategies that may be used with the response-to-intervention model to improve reading skills (est. completion time: 1.5 hours).

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RTI (Part 4): Putting It All Together

This module synthesizes the information in RTI (Parts 1, 2, and 3) to provide teachers and other school personnel with a more comprehensive illustration of how to successfully implement RTI (est. completion time: 3 hours).



RTI (Part 5): A Closer Look at Tier 3

This module describes which students will receive Tier 3 intervention (i.e., special education services), components of Tier 3 reading interventions, and students’ response to this individualized intervention. This module also explores parent involvement and issues related to English language learners (est. completion time: 2 hours).


Secondary Transition: Interagency Collaboration

This module defines and discusses the purpose of interagency collaboration and addresses the importance of partnering with agencies to improve outcomes for students with disabilities who are transitioning from high school (est. completion time: 2 hours).



Secondary Transition: Student-Centered Transition Planning

This module will help users to better understand the benefits of student-centered transition planning, identify ways to involve students in collecting assessment information and developing goals, and be able to prepare students to lead their own IEP meetings (est. completion time: 2 hours).