We are committed to improving the lives and education of ALL children everyday.
Providing resources, assisting families
ECAC helps parents navigate the special education system, know their rights, and use their voice. We provide information, support, training and resources to assist families caring for children with special needs from birth to age 26. We also support young adults with disabilities in becoming self-advocates and leaders and the educators and professionals who serve them.
As parents of special needs children, we understand.
Providing connections for support
ECAC staff are not lawyers and we not do we have the answer to every question that families have regarding their child’s success. We can provide connections to community and state resources that can support families.
North Carolina's PTI Center
ECAC is the state’s designated Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and receives funding from
the federal Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.
Who we serve
ECAC is a nonprofit organization created in 1984 by Connie Hawkins and Frank Graziadei, two parents with children with special needs. With the help of Richard White, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, they wrote North Carolina’s first grant to fund the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI). Their experience as parents of children with disabilities, compelled them to help find support for other families of children with special needs.
Connie Hawkins was both ECAC’s founder and Executive Director for 34 years. Frank Graziadei, has returned as a Board Member. Both Connie and Frank are still advocating for a free and appropriate education for ALL children with a special focus on child with disabilities.
Continuing to grow our services
Learn more and get started!
This exciting program provides online employment preparation and training designed to better prepare students with disabilities (ages 16 to 21) to make a successful transition to school, college or technical training after completing high school.
Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC) and Disability:IN North Carolina (DI-NC) are pleased to announce that we will be offering the Pre-ETS STAR Program, a Vocational Rehabilitation Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities (ages 16-21) beginning in Fall, 2022. The Pre-ETS STAR program will serve students with disabilities from across the entire state, including students who attend public schools, charter schools and students who are homeschooled.