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For Parents and Families

What you can expect

Empowering parents, caregivers, and youth

A child with special needs is not the only family member to need support. As a parent or caregiver, it can be challenging understanding a diagnosis, knowing where to start for services or feeling like you’ve been heard when it comes to your child’s care and education.

ECAC is here to help fill this gap.
image of teenage girl in wheel chair being pushed by her mother

How we can help

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1:1 Assistance to parents, families, self-advocates

We can answer questions about navigating the special education process, community resources, parent rights, family engagement, self-advocacy, and more. We also offer specialized support for families & children with deaf-blindness. ECAC staff cannot provide legal advice.

When you call ECAC for 1:1 assistance, you will speak to a Parent Educator who will help you find the answers you need. What makes our services especially helpful is that each Parent Educator on staff is also a parent to a child with a disability. We know what it is like to go through this process both on a technical and personal level.

Workshops and trainings for family members and youth

ECAC provides engaging and informative trainings that help build the knowledge and skills of participants. We offer trainings regularly on various topics and offer them both online in webinar format and in person across the state. 

Trainings are offered in English and Spanish. You can request an in-person training or webinar using our online form.

image of father reading a book to a toddler on his lap and young beside him
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Family leadership development

Families are their child’s first and best teacher. We also know that families can be their child’s best advocate. To support this, ECAC provides training to families to develop their leadership skills to advocate for their own and other children. We also connect them to leadership opportunities across the state. 

The voice of families is key to ensuring we have the best systems in place to foster positive outcomes for ALL children.

Youth leadership

Working directly with young people is critical to understand how to best support them in their journey to become as independent as possible. ECAC coordinates a youth leadership team that meets monthly, and also conducts several trainings for youth around topics related to transition and self-determination. 

ECAC values youth voice and creates opportunities that are youth driven.

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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

North Carolina's DeafBlind Project

The NC DeafBlind Project is a collaboration between ECAC, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) in the Office of Exceptional Children, and East Carolina University (ECU) Teacher Support Program (TSP) for Learners with DeafBlindness. 

The NC DeafBlind Project provides free technical assistance to children and youth with DeafBlindness from birth through 22 years of age and their families. The following are examples of the type of assistance which may be offered:

  • Information and referrals: Access state and national resources and receive a free resource packet.
  • Consultation: Speak with a Family Engagement Coordinator
  • Training: Attend conferences and meet national/international experts, learn at a workshop/retreat or online.
  • Networking: Meet and share with other families, bi-monthly family phone calls.
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ECAC and the North Carolina State Improvement Project (NCSIP)

NCSIP is a program in the Exceptional Children Division of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education, NCSIP works to improve the quality and effectiveness of educational programs and instruction for students with disabilities in North Carolina.

ECAC in partnership with NCSIP offers strategies at the state, district and local level as well as collaborating with universities and community stakeholders to support families participation in their child’s education. Through this partnership, ECAC:

Speak with a parent educator

If you would like to start by speaking with a Parent Educator, call (800) 962-6817 or use our online form.