What's New (Homepage)

Jake’s Juxtaposition – “Leaders are built, not born”
"Leaders are built, not born". With this said, let me explain, when you're leading it is assumed that you know where you're headed. So to successfully lead yourself and others who may be following you you've got to have a clear picture of where you want to be. Read more from Jake>

Individualized Education Program Document Revision Process – by Bureau Bulletin
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) is currently in the process of revising the State’s individualized education program (IEP) document. An essential component to the provision of a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities, the IEP document is the official record of a planning and placement team’s decisions regarding a student’s special education eligibility identification and program. As federal and state requirements have changed over the years, the document currently in use in the state has required multiple updates since its origination. As a result, the Bureau of Special Education (BSE) has determined that a more holistic revision of the IEP document is warranted. Our goal is to design an IEP document that is less complicated for practitioners to use and easier for parents and students to understand. Read more here>

Jakes Juxtapositions - “Summertime”
Hello, this is Jake again. As summer approaches, I find myself wanting to be out an about in a leisurely manner more and more and just breathe in the fresh salty air near the shoreline or the deep earthy fragrance of a nature trail or park. I've got a few of my favorites for you for this summer, so check it out. Read more from Jake>

Jakes Juxtapositions - “This blog is dedicated to you”
Sundays are my favorite days. This past weekend made me think of who my pillars are and the importance of my supporters, family, friends, peers and teachers that I don’t think I acknowledge enough. Read more from Jake>

April 2019 - Directors Corner
A lot of the information in this month’s e-News concerns Prior Written Notice. PWN is one of the most important parts of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and one of the most important parts of your student’s IEP. Changes are coming in the form that is used to record those IEPs and I wanted to discuss a little bit about why this is so important and what you can do to help make it better. Read more from our Executive Director>

Jakes Juxtapositions - “Oh, The Places You’ll go”
Hello Friends, this’s Jake again, and this blog is focused on the accessibility of the places that should be accessible, but are they? Have you always wanted to go to a place, then you realize the physical boundaries that limit the accessibility to it? Well, let’s talk a bit about accessibility to some popular attractions and other places, like restaurant, every day appointments and gathering joints that often tickle my brain. You may already know, I am Foodie, so local restaurants play critical roles in my life. Read more from Jake>

Jakes Juxtapositions
This is Jake, CPAC’s new intern. I am a TBI (traumatic brain injury) survivor, an advocate and a Public Speaker. There was a recent article in the New York Times Opinion section on how “Students learn from people they love”. This was a very interesting article, so I thought I put my two cents in this topic as it personally affected my past education and as much shaping my future. When it comes to special education or general education, there is no difference on positive, harnessing approaches between students and teachers. Read more from Jake>

FAQ December 2018
Dear Parent Consultant:My son, Aiden, will be 16 in January. At his last Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting, the team mentioned that because of his age it is time to begin transition planning. They mentioned filling out the transition planning section (page 6 in Connecticut) of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) document. What does “transition planning” mean, and where do we begin? Thanks, Aiden’s Mom Read the answer here>

Directors Corner December 2018
I want to start by wishing all of you the Happiest Holiday season from all of us here at CPAC, and our hope for the best New Year in 2019. As we enjoy this season of sharing I want to offer a suggestion; as you calibrate and move into the coming year we at CPAC hope you will share us. Over the past year I have been to many places all around the state, and sat in on many of the meetings where parents have had the chance to talk about their experiences in special education. In all those meetings the thing that struck me most strongly was the number of people who told us how much they wished they had known about us. People who had been facing challenges for years saying “I never heard of you, I wish I had.” Read more from our Director>

FAQ November 2018
Dear Parent Consultant, Every night is the same battle with my second grade daughter - reading. She is required to complete a reading log for school and whenever it's reading time we battle over everything. The selection of the book, the time it takes, etc. She resents it and so do I. Do you have any suggestions to help me to engage her in this increasingly painful assignment? Signed,Not Dr. Seuss Read the answer here>

Directors Corner November 2018
While we are focused this month on the topic of literacy, I wanted to take a moment to express my thanks, and that of all of us at CPAC, for each the good things that happened this year and for all the support we receive as we work with the families of Connecticut. Over the course of a year we receive thousands of calls and emails from families who have questions and concerns about their children’s education. We provide well over a hundred training sessions around the state for families, students, and professionals. Read more from our Director>

Special Education Cost Model Task Force
The State Education Resource Center (SERC), in collaboration with the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC) and the Special Education Cost Model Task Force, invites you to complete this survey, which will help us have a better understanding of your experiences and concerns related to special education funding and its impact on the special education process. The results from this survey will be shared with the Special Education Cost Model Task Force as they continue to examine ways to make special education costs more predictable for school districts. Learn more here>

Directors Corner October 2018
As you’ve certainly heard from a wide assortment of sources, October is National Bullying prevention month. And as parents of kids with disabilities, we know that our students are two to three times more likely to be subject to bullying and harassment than the general population. This edition of the e-News and our website provide a lot of information on the problem as well as thing we as parents can do to help the situation. Read more from our Director>

Directors Corner September 2018
As I sat down to write this month school has been open for a bout two weeks we have been to the Back to School meeting with most of the state’s Special Ed Directors, and the number of calls are up as families run into the issues that come with the start of the new year. Read more from our Director>

Open Forum for Parents of Students with Disabilities
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the RESC Alliance invite parents of students with disabilities to participate in regional forums to obtain feedback and input on special education systems, processes, and services. The CSDE is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities receive access to the services and supports that they are entitled to under the law. These regional forums will provide parents with the opportunity to share their experiences with the Special Education Bureau Chief in a structured environment to discuss the most pressing needs of the special education community in Connecticut. Learn more about these regional forums>

Bureau of Special Education Back-to-School Meeting

Bureau of Special Education Back-to-School Meeting Connecticut State Department of Education | September 12, 2018 What is the CT Secondary Transition Youth Advisory Board (YAB)?As an initiative within the CT Secondary Transition Community of Practice (COP), a Secondary Transition Youth Advisory Board was created to provide a place for students and youth with disabilities ages 14 to 26 to have their voices heard by the people who plan for and support students. Learn more about YAB>

Director's Corner August 2018

I wanted to talk in this issue about the new school year, and as always the issues that come to mind revolve around communication, and the information that families sometimes have and sometimes share about their students. I can’t remember if it has ever come up in this space, but, in addition to a few other things, I am a member of the Cromwell Board of Education. In my mailbox for the last week or so have been a series of notices of what is going on in the school to get things ready to start. One of the messages talked about new teacher orientation and the fact that they were taking all the new teachers on a bus tour of the town so they would have a better idea of the place their students are coming from. Read more from our Director>

State Performance Plan (SPP) on Special Education

Every year, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires each state to submit a State Performance Plan (SPP) on special education. The SPP includes reports from the state on 20 areas with questions running from whether evaluations for students being considered for special education are done on time, to whether students who had received special education are employed after High School, to whether some ethnic groups are put in special ed more often than others. Read about the SPP here>

A joint Statement by the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center and the Connecticut Council of Administrators of Special Education in support of Governor Malloy’s veto of PA 18-89

Today the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC), and Connecticut Council of Administrators of Special Education (CONNCASE) are expressing our shared opposition to PA 18-89 and our wish that the members of the Connecticut General Assembly will vote to sustain the Governor’s veto. Read the joint statement here>

Press Release from Executive Director John M. Flanders

Last week Governor Malloy’s vetoed PA 18-89, An Act Concerning Classroom Safety and Disruptive Behavior. We are asking the members of the General Assembly to allow the veto to stand and to work with all stakeholders to create a new bill that will support the admirable goal of classroom safety, but without sacrificing the rights of children with disabilities. We believe that this bill, although clearly well intended, will deprive students with disabilities of their right to an appropriate education; and it will exclude too many children with disabilities from classrooms for actions related to their disabilities, actions that their education programs should be helping them to address. Read more from our Executive Director>

Next Steps Parent Leadership Training Series 2018

This eight-session intensive series is designed to help parents and professionals gain the skills and knowledge necessary for them to be effective members at the Planning and Placement Team meeting (PPT). This training series will prepare participants for a variety roles at the school, district, regional or state level. Learn more and fill out an application>

Director's Corner February 2018

Not long ago I came upon a meme from one of the Facebook groups I follow. It read “How many of you cry after every IEP meeting?” At the time, it included over 120 comments and by my count only three disagreed. From what we see at CPAC, it is not an exaggeration to say many parents hate and fear PPT meetings. Most often that is because there is a real power imbalance in them. When they are bad you come in to face a phalanx of six to fifteen people who all know each other work together and often seem to be united against you.Read more from our Director>

Questions and Answers (Q&A) on U. S. Supreme Court Case Decision Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1

On March 22, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court (sometimes referred to as Court) issued a unanimous opinion in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S. Ct. 988. In that case, the Court interpreted the scope of the free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Read more>

Special Education Concerns Rise As School Districts Grapple With State Cuts

The state's budget crisis is hitting Connecticut schools hard, and special education programs might also be feeling the pain, even though these services are protected by federal law. Paraprofessionals across the state say that schools are not fully staffing these positions, which are often used in the classroom to aid students with disabilities. And that could violate students’ rights to a free and appropriate public education, which is codified in federal law. Read the full article>>

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If your child has special needs... We are here to help!

Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center, Inc. (CPAC) is a statewide nonprofit organization that offers information and support to families of children with any disability or chronic illness, age birth to 26.

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Featured Resource
Learning, Caring and Having Fun: One Mom's Advice for a New Parent of a Child with a Disability A huge thank you to Kristen for sharing her experiences raising a child with many disabilities and offering advice for other parents of young children.
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