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PEATC, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
Assisting families of children with special needs since 1978
Little boy on the beach

Training and Workshops through PEATC

The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) is happy to provide FREE workshops to the community. Our workshops are made possible through Federal funding from the US Department of Education/Office of Special Education Programs and from private donations. PEATC can also exhibit or send materials for conferences and fairs. Most of our workshops are also available in Spanish.

Our Federal grant designates PEATC as the Statewide Parent Training and Information Center, therefore we serve all regions of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In order for PEATC to continue to offer our services free of charge, we must ensure that at least 10-15 people are registered to participate in each workshops to ensure that our program activities and resources are well managed so that Virginia's families and professionals can continue to benefit from PEATC's trainings.

While PEATC will advertise all of our events, we ask that the requesting organization participate in advertising and registration for the event as well in order to ensure sufficient participation in the training. We ask that you stay in contact with PEATC as the registration changes so that we can properly plan. Alternately, PEATC can manage registration for your event at no cost.

To request a PEATC Trainer please complete this form. If you have any questions, please call or email

PEATC Trainings and Workshops

Parent Training Information (for families of children with disabilities)

For videos on our workshops, please visit our YouTube page at

Special Education

  • NEW: Dyslexia Presentation and Simulation In this workshop, attendees will gather an overview of dyslexia and participate in an intensive simulation intended to generate robust conversation around children with dyslexia and their experiences in the classroom. The presentation will highlight the prevalence, characteristics, intervention, and accommodations for dyslexia. The content will also review where dyslexia can be found in the Virginia Department of Education resources and provide attendees with a broad base of additional resources that can used or shared with families. The simulation is intended to give the participant the power of empathy, which can truly be attained in this short experience.
  • Understanding Evaluations This presentation takes you through the reasons for evaluations, timelines, and the Eligibility meeting as well as a basic understanding and meaning of the scores. It also covers the steps of a re-evaluation and the parental right to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).
  • IEP Meetings: Ins and Outs This presentation will help prepare parents of what to expect in the IEP meeting, to have a productive student-focused meeting. From preplanning before the meeting to working together afterwards, this presentation will build relationships and self-advocacy skills of the parents while focusing on the needs of the student.
  • Anatomy of an IEP Like a biology student, this presentation will dissect the parts of the IEP document and examine their functions individually, learning their meanings and application. It will provide constructive and practical tips to help create an IEP that supports all of the student's needs.
  • Understanding Special Education This workshop will help you identify your child’s learning strengths and challenges as well as organize your important information about your child so it will be helpful in educational planning. Come and learn the seven phases of the special education process and identify the specific actions you may take during the special education process. You will become familiar with due process rights and learn ways to work as partners with teacher and other school personnel. This workshop is offered in both English and Spanish
  • Measurable IEP Goals This workshop brings families and educators together using a common language to build measurable goals to all students. What is a measurable goal? How do you understand and write a measurable goal? These questions and much more will be answered in this workshop.
  • Understanding Section 504 Civil Rights Law This workshop is designed to give parents and professionals a working knowledge of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504. The law is designed to eliminate discrimination on the bases of disability in any program or activity receiving federal funds. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of Section 504 and how it might ensure a student that attends a public school receives a free and appropriate public education.
  • How to Conduct Friendly and Productive IEP Meetings This workshop was designed with input from parents, parent groups, advocacy organizations, teacher’s, mediators, facilitators and district representatives. Participants will discuss how to make IEP meetings more productive and friendly and is divided into four key areas: People, Process: Preparation and Meeting, Outcome and Follow-through. Comments by parents and school personnel are included on the slides. The workshop will focus on practical skill development for IEP team members and specific strategies for increasing communication and conflict prevention will be discussed in each of the four areas.

Adulthood & Transition

  • Transition: Families Pave the Way Your child's future and adulthood. It may seem far off, but it's not too early to start planning. Forget about the magic transition planning age of 14 ... today is the first day of the rest of your child's life! This workshop will teach you five powerful strategies for steering your child's life toward high expectations and happiness. Whether you are new to transition or an experienced veteran, these five practical tactics will clarify the vital leadership role that ONLY parents can bring to meaningful transition planning.
  • Successful Transition Planning and the IEP: All You Need to Know For parents of children aged 14 and older, this workshop will prepare parents and students to be active participants in developing a meaningful and useful transition plan to help them as they prepare for life as an adult, when they finish school. It will tell you what needs to be in the transition plan, and what the law (IDEA) says about transition services. The transition plan is part of the IEP for students who are 16 and over. It can be frightening to contemplate life after school has finished, but PEATC is here to help take the mystery out of it and to give you the information you need to ensure that a successful transition is within the reach of your child.
  • The Journey to Adulthood: Puberty and Sexuality A candid and practical discussion that offers parental strategies for assisting young adults with disabilities to (1) successfully navigate puberty, and (2) meet the emerging expectations of adult life. This research-based curriculum was developed in response to interviews with 1200 families from a variety of cultural perspectives. This workshop is offered in both English and Spanish

Behavior & Communication

  • Learned Helplessness When does helping a child become too much help? In this workshop the focus will be on the definition of learned helplessness and how to combat dependency. Through sample scenarios we will discover how learned helplessness can occur in school or at home and possible solutions to empower the child. Discussion of age appropriate chores will help teach those important living skills that will transform our children into independent and resilient adults.
  • Taming the Tornado: Understanding and Managing ADHD at Home and at School This workshop provides a general overview of ADHD – describing what ADHD is, the common Myths associated with the diagnosis, a deeper look at females with ADHD, and early indicators that may be overlooked. Participants will also learn what type of behaviors may be seen at home and at school. Attendees will learn about Executive Function and ADHD and how accommodations and modifications can level the playing field. Finally participants will develop behavior management tactics.
  • Understanding Youth with Emotional Disabilities Participants will explore the challenging and often stigmatized different diagnosis that may be found under the category of Emotional Disability with special focus on the behaviors that may be seen. Attendees will further explore the academic impact and explore areas of support creating a climate of acceptance, belonging, and community in schools. Finally, participants will analyze escalation of behaviors and approaches to management.
  • The ABC’s of Behavior As a result of this workshop, participants will be able to look at how behavior influences our lives and understanding how it is addressed in IDEA 2004. You will become familiar with the ABC’s (Antecedent, Behavior & Consequence) of all behavior supports and behavior management. Functional Behavioral Assessments will be covered and you will have an opportunity to practice using a FBA tool to assess behavior. This workshop is offered in both English and Spanish
  • How to Talk So Schools Will Listen (and Listen So Schools Will Talk) Why are partnerships so difficult? What can be done to improve understanding between parents and professionals as they seek to find mutual agreement on IEPs and other issues related to education for students with disabilities? This workshop will help participants discover communication techniques, learn how to recognize and prevent barriers to communication and build agreements around difficult problems. This workshop is offered in both English and Spanish
  • Understanding Conflict What are some causes and triggers to conflict specifically for IEP meetings? Lack of knowledge about the topic, preprogrammed opposition, misunderstanding of the message of the other, pressure to have the conclusion before the meeting, personal trauma or history… we could go on and on. This workshop will review overlooked and promising practices identified in recent research about parent-school conflict in education. Participants will walk away with knowledge about the research and steps for implementation to address conflict.

Family Engagement

  • The ABC’s of Collaboration…Back to the Basics Everyone collaborates but are your collaborations providing better outcomes for students? During this interactive workshop parents and professionals we will explore the ABC’s of collaboration, identify the key characteristic needed to make current and new collaborations more effective while creating synergy between parents and schools.
  • Understanding the Dynamics of Cyber Bullying Technology and our Youth The term Cyberbullying raises new challenges for not only parents, school administrators but also law enforcement to protect children from this widespread epidemic. Cyber Bullying is different from “schoolyard” bullying. During this interactive workshop, participations will enter the world of technology and explore motivations, categories, warnings signs and forms online cyber bullying can take. Participants will learn tips and strategies to protect their children.
  • Your Voice Matters - It’s Key To The Process of Empowering Parents to Engage Do you feel disengaged in your child’s education? Parents your voice matters! This workshop will empower you to see the value of your gifts, expertise and contribution around authentic family engagement. During this interactive workshop, we will explore our personal definition of parent engagement and learn effective approaches to advocating for our children. We will also consider strategies that we can use to provide constructive and practical tips and techniques to building strong collaborative relationships with our schools.
  • The Power of Engaging Families Creating a synergy between parents and schools around authentic family engagement initiatives can lead to better outcomes for students. During this interactive workshop, parents and professionals will explore their personal definition of family engagement and examine how their individual participation contributes to the partnership of shared responsibility for the success of all children. Participants will consider strategies that move from random and isolated family engagement efforts to more systemic, integrated, responsive and sustainable approaches to Family Engagement. Local and state level examples of these strategies will be shared.
  • DADS Organized & Engaged (DOE) This series of workshops are designed to weave fathers more tightly into the academic and social fabric of the school community through tactile training, leadership development, peer mentoring, and engagement that promotes effective advocacy skills. The workshops promote appropriate communication skills with their child’s mother, school professionals, and other stakeholders as fathers are equipped to be a more visible and valuable asset to any educational school team as well as their child’s over all well being.
  • Friendship Building Strategies Participants will explore the diversity and nature of their own friendships and build a vision of possibilities for children to develop positive relationships and friendships with each other. The importance of creating a climate of acceptance, belonging, and community in schools will be stressed by infusing opportunities for creating this climate across all areas of the curriculum and throughout the school day. Lastly, attendees will identify specific strategies that parents, general educators, and special educators can use to facilitate friendships for students. This workshop is offered in both English and Spanish
  • Is Your Child a Target of Bullying? This workshop offers intervention strategies for parents of children with disabilities who may be the target of bullying at school. Participants will learn how to: identify types of bullying, develop strategies to prevent bullying, identify responses to bullying, talk to their child about bullying, obtain help from professionals and find out about disability harassment laws. This workshop is offered in both English and Spanish
  • Bullying Prevention for Administrators and Teachers This workshop is designed to help safeguard schools against bullying. The objective of the workshop is to arm attendees with research based information on best practices in bullying prevention. Attendees will leave with the ability to distinguish accurately between bullying and other forms of aggression. Attendees will also leave with strategies that will help foster a school culture that averts the development and reduces the occurrence of bullying.

Community Support

  • NEW: Tending The Flock: Special Needs Ministries As part of our community support series, this workshop will help lead discussions within church leadership and the community to determine ways to accommodate and encourage participation of those with special needs. It discusses the 5 stages of building a relationship. It also explores options of special needs ministries. Self-reflection of the congregation and leadership through discussion and worksheets will help plan and design a vision for inclusion of all.
  • Bridges Out of Poverty This workshop is designed as an overview to help schools, employers, community organizations, healthcare providers, social service agencies, law enforcement, and individuals by bringing all sectors and economic classes together to build resources that improve outcomes. Bridges Out of Poverty provides a framework for understanding the challenges and strengths of those in poverty. Three additional trainings are available upon request. Those include viewing poverty from the individual, community, or organizational lens.
  • Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World If you’ve spent part of your life or most of your life struggling to get by in the world, the idea of actually getting ahead might seem out of reach. 'Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World' is a 16 week series of small group sessions which take attendees step by step through a discovery of yourself. As a team we investigate realities of the conditions in your community and how they impact residents. These sessions are designed to provide solutions in a cohort environment.
  • Understanding Diversity Diversity exists in places we don’t always think to look. A community itself is a grouping of pieces which delightfully interlock to create a unique landscape. In this workshop, through activities and discussion, we will address the concept that a community has more representations than we realize. Diversity can materialize in a new student, in the class, a child placed in your home, your child’s new friend or the neighborhood where you have just moved. Welcoming people of diverse backgrounds into our lives helps develop a population that will not only share mutual respect, but indeed allows us to find joy in the different threads which make each of us unique.
  • Reversing the School to Prison Pipeline This workshop is designed to promote disability awareness for School Resource Officers and Law Enforcement that serve in public school environments. It emphasizes rights of students with disabilities while encouraging policies and protocols that support capacity building in educational settings. Attendees of this workshop should leave with more information that can help them avoid unnecessary over representation of students with disabilities in the juvenile justice system.

Early Childhood

  • Early Childhood and the ABC's of Behavior This workshop will help parents and professionals become familiar with A, B, & C of all behaviors: Antecedents, Behaviors, and Consequences. Participants will gain understanding of the difference between positive behavior supports and behavior management, become familiar with tools that provide positive child guidance, and have the opportunity to brainstorm ideas on behavior modification.
  • It Takes A Village: Your Role in Early Childhood This workshop gives a general overview of what early childhood education and intervention is. We will concentrate on what the roles are of the parents and professionals. There is a special focus on how the collaboration between the two helps to ensure healthy child development. We offer methods on effective communication between the two, how to bridge that communication gap and how to avoid or recover from possible communication barriers.
  • Who, What, and When of Early Intervention This workshop covers the early intervention process and the family’s role in developing an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Participants will come away from the workshop understanding how the information families have about their children is critical to developing a plan for the baby and the baby’s family. Families in who may be in the midst of chaos, grief, fear, and the unknown will learn how to be their child’s and their family’s best and most effective advocate.
  • The Big Step: Transitioning Into Preschool This workshop is to give insight on the importance of successful transitions from Early Intervention services to preschool. It touches on the importance of the roles of the parents, service coordinators, and educators. Participants will learn the positive and negative effects of transitions. We will also focus on what to look for in a preschool program.

Military Families

  • Understanding Military Youth with Emotional Disabilities Military children with mental health, emotional and behavioral disabilities have some additional challenges that their civilian counterparts may not experience. Frequent relocations, separations, the loss of a parent or a parent returning wounded and the stress of deployment can exacerbate mental health conditions. Participants will explore the different diagnosis that may be found under the category of Emotional Disability with special focus on the behaviors that may be seen. Attendees will further explore the academic impact and explore areas of support creating a climate of acceptance, belonging, and community in schools. Finally, participants will analyze escalation of behaviors and approaches to management.
  • Boundaries (For Professionals) Setting clear boundaries are essential to ensuring mutually respectful, caring, and supportive relationships. There are no clearly defined ethical guidelines regarding boundaries in the relationships between educators and families. Problems can crop up when there is disconnect on key items related to boundaries in parent-professional relationships. This workshop walks participants through the importance of boundaries, how to address boundary issues, as well as how to manage parent expectations and conflicts.
  • Managing Your Impact What are some causes and triggers to personality conflicts specifically for IEP meetings? Motivated by different reasons, difference in willingness to take risks, lack of knowledge about the topic, misunderstanding of the message of the other, preconceived perceptions, previous interactions… etc. This workshop will analyze human personality traits and promising collaborative practices identified in literature and research. Participants will walk away with increased knowledge on what drives personality, how personality conflict can arise and what steps can be implemented to address those conflicts that arise.
  • Successful Transition Planning for the Military Child and the IEP Military parents and students aged 14 and older have unique considerations when it comes to preparing for life as an adult. This workshop will encourage active participation in developing a meaningful and useful transition plan, with focus on what the law (IDEA) says about transition services, as well as military specific topics such as surrogate decision making, special needs trust and the Survivor Benefits Plan and Secondary Dependency.
  • Teambuilding Working in special education requires teamwork. Communicating in the IEP meeting requires a team approach and collaboration. Each team members (parent, teachers, psychologists, specialists, administrators) contribution are equally valued and important. No member can work in isolation. All IEP team members must work together to help students be successful. This workshop will teach participants valuable information on effective communication, personal skills for working in a group, and how to effectively develop as a group. The focus on group development surrounds the Tuckman Model of Group Development and the characteristics seen in each stage. Workshop participants will learn how to more effectively navigate the stages of group development to develop into highly functioning teams.
  • Embracing Diversity While Engaging Military Families Diversity exists in places we do not always think to look. For military families diversity encompasses changing locations, experiences and expectations regarding the demands of the military lifestyle. Participants will explore what makes a person, setting or situation diverse while engaging the military family.

8003 Forbes Place, Suite 310
Springfield, VA 22151
703-923-0010 (phone)
800-869-6782 (toll free)

Copyright © 2018 PEATC - Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center. All rights reserved.

Content on this site was produced, in part, with grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, under CFDA # 84.328M, #84.310A, and #84.235F. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. government, or any other source.

PEATC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to building positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Our special focus is children with disabilities. You can reach PEATC by calling 703-923-0010 (Voice/TTY), or sending an e-mail to

Celebrating 30 Years of Building Better Futures for Virginia's Children

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