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For Parents and Families

What you can expect

  • All of our services are provided at no cost to NC Families
  • Any support provided by ECAC staff remains 100% confidential
  • Unbiased, accurate information
  • Timely response

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
image of lady holding microphone standing among other adults

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.

image of mom and young adult looking at notebook
image of young girl reading book to adult female with service dog

Lending Library

Most libraries do not have a comprehensive inventory of books on topics related to early intervention, special education, and disabilities for families, educators, and youth . Luckily, ECAC houses the state’s largest private catalogue of books focused exclusively on these topics, with books in English and Spanish. 

You can check out books at no cost to you. Books are mailed to your home, along with a return envelope so they can be returned when you are finished.

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 parents and family members of a child from birth to age 26 with special needs
  • Children and youth with special needs from birth to age 26
  • Educators and professionals who work with children with special needs

North Carolina's Deaf/Blind Project

A project of ECAC, in collaboration with the NC Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children Division and East Carolina University. The NC Deaf-Blind Project provides a variety of supports and services designed to meet the needs of families with children who have deaf-blindness, birth to 22, and those that educate them. The NC Deaf/Blind Project provides 1:1 support, education and leadership development. All Deaf/Blind Project services are free to N.C. families.
ECAC North Carolina Deaf-Blind Project logo, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children Division
NC SIP logo

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:
  • Provides support to schools in the use of the Family Engagement Quality Indicators Checklist.
  • Conducts Parents as Leaders trainings across the state to help families gain the knowledge and skills needed to become more actively involved in helping improve educational outcomes and services for children with disabilities.
  • Coordinates and maintain the “Speakers Network” which is comprised of family members of students with disabilities. These parents share their stories in teacher preparation courses at universities.
  • Engage community partners to help increase family engagement through research-based activities.

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.