Some of the 91 special education parent training and information centers around the country learned Friday that they have won more than $5 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
The department split the $5 million among 19 centers in 13 states and Puerto Rico. The centers, which are primarily supported by these grants, are available in every state.
They offer training, information, and assistance to families of children with all disabilities, from birth to 26, and those who work with these individuals. There's also a national center and six regional centers.
Some of the centers work with special groups of children, such as a New Mexico center that works with parents of Indian children with disabilities.
"Parents, be strong, hold on, and don't be afraid to utilize the resources available," parent Latanya Pinto, who is Alamo Navajo, said in a newsletter about her experience with that center, Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs, or EPICS, helped her advocate on behalf of her young son. The center won a $1 million grant last year. "EPICS helped me to understand what I needed to do, they taught me about advocacy. EPICS helped me find my voice," she said.
The grants awarded Friday went to centers in Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, and New York, among other states. Parent training and information centers have been supported by the department for nearly 35 years, spokesman David Thomas said.