Learn more about ECAC’s mission, history and our commitment to Empowering Families and Improving lives!

ECAC's History

In 1980, the North Carolina Protection and Advocacy agency, the Governor’s Advocacy Council for Persons with Disabilities, received a federal grant to train 60 families about the new federal and state special education laws. During that training, two parents of students with disabilities, Connie Hawkins and Frank Graziadei, recognized the power of and need for parent training and became active volunteer trainers in the community. This volunteer work also included the Exceptional Children’s Advisory Council which served as the parent advisory board for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

By the 1983, the volunteers were answering telephone calls and conducting workshops for families and, to support their efforts, Dr. Richard White from the Special Education Department of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte wrote their first grant to the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. ECAC became a private nonprofit parent organization with Frank Graziadei as chairman of the Board and Connie Hawkins as Director. The new parent center served 9 counties and had a total budget of $60,000.

Since our beginnings as a volunteer organization, ECAC has been a parent directed and staffed organization. The majority of both the Board of Directors and employees are parents of individuals with disabilities.

Today, as one of the oldest federally funded parent training and information centers in the country, ECAC has a network of collaborative partners at the national, state and local levels. The organization offers parent training, information and support to North Carolina families of children with disabilities and continues to believe in the importance of parent training and in the power of parents.

Parent Info Line:


Ask a question: ecac@ecacmail.org

ECAC provides services and support across NC to parents, families, students, educators and other professionals!



Address: 907 Barra Row, Suites 102/103
Davidson, NC 28036
Phone: 704-892-1321
Fax: 704-892-5028
Parent Info Line
Parent Info Line: 800-962-6817
More Office Locations

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ECAC is committed to ensuring that our website is accessible to all. Compliance with section 508 website accessibility is an ongoing process and if you have any difficulty with the accessibility of our website or resources, please let us know by calling: 1-800-962-6817 or send an email to us at ecac@ecacmail.org. Thank you!