Regardless of the reasons, children with disabilities do not always receive the services that they should from their schools.
That’s where the Parent Information Center comes in.
The nonprofit, serving parents and caregivers of children with disabilities from birth to age 26, provides information and support to ensure students receive the appropriate education and related services from Delaware’s public schools.
“We work with families with children with a broad range of disabilities—learning, emotional, intellectual, physical, attention deficit disorder, autism,” says Marie-Anne Aghazadian, executive director of the center. “Our fundamental mission is to make sure parents and schools collaborate, respect each other and essentially do what’s right for kids.”
The local PIC is part of a network of centers—there is at least one in every state. The centers are mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and are overseen by the U.S. Department of Education.
The PIC served 2,300 parents from all three counties during 2013. Staff meet with parents for one-on-one consultations and also offer workshops, webinars and online resources. PIC staff also serve on task forces, committees and other policy-making bodies to advocate for parents and students.
“We focus very strongly on serving families who have economic and educational challenges, which includes low-income families, and we work with a large Hispanic population,” Aghazadian says. “We also work with parents on issues such as bullying or finding therapeutic services.
“But our main focus is to help parents become effective partners in education and help parents to be engaged in their children’s education in a meaningful way.” (picofdel.org)