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Building Bridges to Success: Parent Training & Information (PTI) Center

Helping families work together with professionals across the systems that serve children

Helping families know their rights to ensure that infants, toddlers, children, youth and young adults with special needs receive the early intervention, education, and transition services they need for a productive life, the PTI also works with families who have children at risk of inappropriate identification and classification.

 About Us / Our Programs / How we help families  → Building Bridges to Success

What the Parent Training & Information Center Offers

SPAN’s knowledgeable Information Specialists and Family Resource Specialists are also parents who have faced many of the issues and challenges in accessing appropriate services in early intervention (EI), education, and transition from school to adult life.

Each of these specialists is available to provide families with information, resources, best practices, and support through individualized technical assistance. Our staff members each focus on specific counties, so we can target families’ specific needs:

  • Access to online and print resources to help families be more knowledgeable about children’s rights and best practices
  • In-person and online training sessions to empower parents, professionals, and youth as advocates for children or for themselves
  • Family-to-family emotional support and information
  • Leadership opportunities to strengthen the family voice in early intervention, education and transition systems

Resources & Materials

Extended Special Education and Transition Services S3434 Fact Sheet

IEP Meeting Checklist for Parents of Preschoolers  |  This checklist can be used by parents to prepare for and at the IEP meeting to ensure that all topics are covered in the proper order

Pre-IEP Meeting Letter for Families  |  This letter can be filled in and sent to the IEP team in advance of the meeting to ensure that the team is prepared to have a complete discussion to develop an appropriate IEP

IEP Meeting Checklist for Families  |  This checklist can be used by parents at the IEP meeting to ensure that all topics are covered in the proper order

Guide to IDEA, NJ State Special Education Code, & Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act  |  This guide summarizes the key provisions of IDEA, state special education code, and Section 504, including their similarities and differences

Overview of the Special Education Process in New Jersey |  Describes terms related to the special education process

Overview of the Early Intervention System in New Jersey |  Describes terms related to Early Intervention services

SPAN Fact Sheets  |  This collection of fact sheets provides short and to-the-point information about a variety of topics

Search the SPAN website by keyword for resources on:

  • Early Intervention
  • Evaluations
  • Assessment
  • Individualized Education Plans (IEP)
  • Transition to Pre-School
  • Transition from School to Adulthood
  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
  • Inclusion
  • Positive Behavior Supports
  • Discipline
  • Response to Intervention
  • Section 504
  • Dispute Resolution
  • More

For individualized assistance, please call our Warmline at (800) 654-SPAN (7726) or (973) 642-8100.

Visit our Training and Workshops page for more information on the types of sessions we offer.

Useful Links & Websites

Working with Adult Allies  |  Webinar from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) explores how youth self-advocates and adult allies can collaborate effectively

Sharing Your Story for a Public Policy Purpose  |  Webinar from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) explains how to use personal stories for advocacy in different situations

Participating in Advisory Groups  |  Webinar from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) on what youth self-advocates need to know in order to serve on boards and other groups

Leadership is a Journey: A Series for Youth Self-Advocates  |  Webinar series from National Center for Family/Professional Partnerships (NCFPP) in collaboration with the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, Kids As Self-Advocates, and Youth MOVE supports the identification of leadership as a journey and support understanding and learning in key leadership development area

Starting and Sustaining a Youth Advisory Board Series  |  Webinar series for organizations that seek to develop a youth advisory board

What Our Families Say

I now understand the law and it is much clearer to me. I obtained phrases to use when speaking with the school and a more helpful way of navigating through the system.

The scenarios really helped me understand what should be happening in those meetings.

The workshop helped to break many assumptions/stereotypes about special education. I now know better ways to help my child and to work with the school.

I learned how little changes can make a big difference!

Contact Us

For Individualized Assistance, please call our Warmline at (800) 654 SPAN (7756) or 973-642-8100 —OR—  email us.

Please be sure to provide a phone number where you can be reached.

Our Staff

Maria Docherty

PTI Director & Director of Technical Assistance


Peg Kinsell

Director of Institutional & Policy Advocacy


Erin Seigh

Transition Coordinator

Family & Professional Development Trainers

Nicole Pratt

Director of Family-Professional Development


Tara Szymanek 

Family and Professional Educator


Tammi Kaminski

Family and Professional Educator


Jeannette Mejias

Bilingual Trainer

The contents of this website were developed in part under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H328M150032. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Carmen Sanchez.