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Parent Technical Assistance Center


General Federal Landing Pages regarding COVID-19:

OSHA COVID-19 page

CDC Landing page for COVID-19


Department of Education on Children and the COVID-19 Virus:

Questions and Answers On Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak(March 2020)


Helpful Information for Employers:

CDC Interim Guidance for Business & Employers

Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division: Provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to influenza, pandemics, or other public health emergencies, and their effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

OSHA publication: Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

Maine Association of Nonprofits: Great, easy-to-read article about things that should be on the radar of nonprofits as you navigate the current situation. 

Coronavirus Webinar (Minnesota Council of Nonprofits held this webinar on 3/4/2020. Slides and recorded webinar are available.)

Remote Work Quickstart Guide

Emergency Telework Information 

Sample Telecommuting Policy (also available as a Word template that can be customized to your agency)

Keeping Technology Clean 

Tips for Communicating with Your Staff During Times of Crisis 

Guidance for Businesses During Times of Disaster

Parent Center Staffs' Bite-Sized Professional Development Resources

Week 1 – September 3rd, 2020

How Accommodations and Modifications Affect FAPE

Even though many students are learning at a distance during COVID-19, Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) still needs to be offered. Here’s a quick reminder on how accommodations and modifications affect FAPE:


Week 2 – September 10th, 2020

Accommodations, Modifications, and Interventions at a Distance

It's helpful for families to know the best practice for successful distance learning starts with engaging with... Do you know the answer? FAMILIES, of course! What else needs to be considered when developing an appropriate distance learning plan? See more here:,-Modifications,-and-Intervention-at-a-Distance.aspx


Week 3 – September 17th, 2020

How to Improve Distance Learning Students’ IEPs

Families may find themselves in a position during COVID-19 where they would like to improve the quality of distance learning their child is receiving. Increasing real-time or synchronous learning activities, taking scheduled movement breaks, and weekly parent check-ins are a good start. More at:


Week 4 – September 24th, 2020

IEP Accommodations During Distance Learning

Navigating assistive technology for distance learning just got easier. This well-organized resource from provides suggestions for how to match in-person accommodations with their distance learning equivalent:


Week 5 – October 1st, 2020

Successful Online Learning Tips

Successful online learning through regular brain breaks, time management, and positive feedback. See more online learning tips for families:

Week 1 – October 8th, 2020

Find Your Best Work-Life Balance

Working from home offers many benefits and its share of challenges. Find your best work-life balance by carving out a dedicated workspace and remembering to eat lunch. More at:


Week 2 – October 15th, 2020

Tips for Challenges of Remote Working

What are some of your greatest challenges with remote working? Learning to “leave work” at the end of the day and wearing work clothes can help create an often-needed sense of separation between these two spheres of life. More tips at:


Week 3 – October 22nd, 2020

Routines and Other Tips for Working Remotely

What is your pre-work morning routine? Working from home can result in a much shorter morning commute, but make sure to give yourself some time to wake up and start your day before signing into that morning meeting.


Week 4 – October 29th, 2020

More Tips to Achieve Work-Life Balance

When does work end when you’re working from home? Consider finding an activity or two that helps you wrap up and shut down your work day. We all need and deserve time away from our to do list.

Week 1 – November 5th, 2020

Resource on the Quiet Power of Encouragement

Parents usually reach out to us when things are not going well. Your information and your encouragement can both be helpful. “The whole emotional tone of a tough situation can be transformed through encouragement. Somehow things seem a little brighter.” Full article at:,encouragement%20in%20a%20boisterous%20way.


Week 2 – November 12th, 2020

Ideas on How to Encourage Others

Have you noticed how encouragement (in addition to accurate information) can really help the family you’re supporting? Try to identify what’s going well, acknowledge even the smallest efforts of the parent, and make simple positive comments. More ideas at:


Week 3 – November 19th, 2020

Study on the Question-Behavior Effect

In our work with families, we often ask questions and provide information. Which is more likely to be effective and motivational? The answer, which happens to be yes or no questions, along with more information, is available here:


Week 4 – Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Uplifting & Positive Words of Encouragement

What are you doing to provide encouragement to the families you support? Consider posting an encouraging quote in your workspace to share when you can tell a parent is feeling down. “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Week 1: December 3rd, 2020

Assistive Technology and the IEP

Would you or the families you serve like more information on how to incorporate assistive technology (AT) into an IEP? Check out this resource for understanding AT needs, AT evaluation information and much more:



Week 2: December 10th, 2020

Internet Access is a Civil Rights Issue

When you think about equity and access, internet access may not be the first barrier you identify, but the pandemic has made this barrier more visible. Check out this article to learn more about how lack of internet access impacts underserved students and transcends to post-secondary, employment, and healthcare:


Week 3: December 17th, 2020

ELLs with Special Needs: Effective Instructional Strategies

The overrepresentation of English language learners (ELLs) in special education classes (Yates & Ortiz, 1998) suggests that educators have difficulty distinguishing students who truly have learning disabilities from students who are failing for other reasons, such as limited English. For more information on how schools can support ELL families, consider the following resource:



Week 4: December 23rd, 2020

Disproportionality in Special Education Placement

Are you familiar with significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity? Would you like to better understand the factors impacting significant disproportionality? Being equipped with the information from this article could help parents better grasp under-, over-, and misidentification of students of color with disabilities.

Week 1 – January 7th

Mental Health

Instances of mental stress and substance abuse have increased during COVID. To better understand the impacts of COVID-19 and mental health on adults, families with adolescents and older adults are encouraged to check out this article: If someone is in mental health crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text "MHA" to 741-741 to talk to a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line.



Week 2 – January 14th

Mental Health Online Screening Tool

Increased stress can lead to mental health challenges, and mental health diagnoses carry a lot of stigma preventing many from seeking support. It is sometimes hard to know if symptoms of stress are at a point where additional support is needed. Mental Health America recently developed an online screening tool for common mental health concerns, such as better understanding mental health and offering resources:


Week 3 – January 21st

Resiliency and Mental Health

Many parents are seeing a change in their children related to stress during the pandemic and may benefit from resources to support their children considering increased stress. Check out this resource for parents on promoting resilience in children:


Week 4 – January 28th

Understanding Responsibilities of Mandated Reporting

As many children are learning from home, it is important to understand your responsibilities related to mandated reporting of child abuse and neglect. This website offers summaries of mandated reporting laws in each state, an introduction to mandated reporting, and standards for making a report:

Parent Center Directors' Bite-Sized Professional Developement Resources

Week 1 – September 1st, 2020

What can we learn from those who came before us about how to lead through times of crisis? How did Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass do it? This short video shares 5 common traits of the famous leaders highlighted in the book, “Forged in Crisis.”


Week 2 – September 8th, 2020

Many sources agree that empathy is key to successful leadership in times of crisis, but empathy has to extend beyond one leader for it to work. Developing a culture of empathy that helps withstand crisis takes a team. Learn how to lead your team to a culture of empathy using the 5 practices outlined in this blog and infographic:


Week 3 – September 15th, 2020

Being able to build relationships and trust is essential to leadership – especially in times of crisis. Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest impact. Consider using these conversation starter cards to break the ice in your staff team meetings. Choose one person to call out a page number. Then, use the conversation starter on that page to help your team grow together.


Week 4 – September 22nd, 2020

In this short TedTalk “Everyday Leadership,” Drew Dudley tells a story that illustrates how a simple connection can have huge and lasting impact during a crisis. Lollipop Moments are powerful leadership tools. What is a Lollipop Moment? Find out here:


Week 5 – September 29th, 2020

We can never have too many ideas up our sleeves to help us build our team’s trust. It is absolutely essential to have a cohesive team when leading through a crisis. This epic list of 32 team-building activities is invaluable for directing staff teams and training teams alike:

Week 1 – October 6th, 2020

Early Intervention and Inclusion

Are you looking to increase your center’s Early Intervention resources? In 2015, the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released a joint policy statement about inclusion of children with disabilities in Early Intervention programs. It is a great resource to share with families, and a great tool to use in leading the development of Early Intervention work at your center. You can find the policy statement here:


Week 2 – October 13th, 2020

Developmental App Useful for Everyone

The CDC has a great set of resources for families of children ages birth to 5 that are part of an initiative called Learn the Signs, Act Early. They were developed for Autism, but are useful for anyone. Consider sharing them out as a starting place in building your center’s Part C library. There is even a Milestone Tracker app! Check it all out here:


Week 3 – October 20th, 2020

Early Intervention Collaboration

Ready to start collaborating with Early Intervention Partners beyond your state’s Part C Education Department lead. Find out all the other partners in Part C work right here:


Week 4 – October 27th, 2020

Early Childhood Technical Assistance

The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems is a national Technical Assistance center that houses scads of resources for Part C There are tool kits, webinars and handouts for partners and families alike. If you’re in need of more Early Childhood resources for families or Professional Development related to Early Childhood for your staff, this website is a great place to start:

Week 1 – November 3rd, 2020

Nonprofit Leadership Skills for Every Director

Do you know what leadership styles you are best at and which ones could be improved? Do you know how to study the workflow at your center and why it’s important? What about the 9 leadership skills all directors must master? More need-to-know information available here:


Week 2 – November 10th, 2020

Resource Library for Nonprofit Leadership

Without planning and policies, our centers and their staff struggle. But, who has the time? Finding a few examples and blending them to fit your needs is often the best and quickest way to get down to business. Board Source has one of the go-to Service and Resource Libraries for nonprofits. Many items do have a small cost, but the payoff is huge. You can even find the templates you need created by others who actually use them to succeed. Check it out here: 


Week 3 – November 17th, 2020

Online Magazine for Nonprofit Leaders

Want to stay in the know on emerging topics affecting nonprofits such as how to crowd fund, what your liability insurance policy for staff should contain, or how to survive an IRS audit? Blue Avocado is an online magazine with practical tips and tools for community-based nonprofits. Many of the resources are provided by professionals in the field. Learn more and sign up here: 


Week 4 – November 24th, 2020

Create an Elevator Pitch for Your Center, or Create Your Nonprofit Elevator Pitch

One of the most effective tools for nonprofits is an elevator speech. Delivering one is one thing, and teaching board and staff members to deliver one is another. This article gives practical examples and non-examples blended with tips like being careful not to speak too fast and how to communicate goals inside a speech. Use it for yourself, and to train others in your center: 

Week 1 – December 1st, 2020

Tackling Unconscious Bias

As most of us know, biases are deeply embedded. However, we are often unaware of them. What can we do about something we are unaware of? How do we coach our staff teams and the families and professionals we work with in shifting their thinking and behavior?  Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt & Trevor Noah explore both the “what it is” & the “what to do about it” in this funny Daily Show clip. Head’s up -It’s 13 minutes long, but it’s worth the watch:


Week 2 – December 8th, 2020

Tips for Effective Diversity Training

Diversity training is one of the first, best steps in helping shift attitudes and beliefs. Research shows certain types of ongoing, activity-based, diversity training is most effective. This article explores which types of training to implement and why: 


Week 3 – December 15th, 2020

‘A-ha’ Activities for Bias Awareness

Diversity training has been shown to only change attitudes and beliefs when it is reinforced with activities over time. Here’s a list of some things you can blend into your center’s professional development and team-building events throughout the year:


Week 4 – December 22nd, 2020

Workplace Diversity & Inclusion

Setting standards for an inclusive work environment starts with embedding changes in leadership and management practices. One way to model competence to your staff is by incorporating the use of a diversity calendar like this one into your center’s annual planning:

Week 1 – January 5th, 2021

How to Help Staff Cope with Trauma

Most of us are quite happy to usher in the new year. 2021 has the potential to be a time of reconnecting and healing. Have you thought about how to help your staff team cope with and overcome trauma? Learn the basic how-to’s in this brief article:



Week 2 – January 12th, 2021

Tool to Support Employee Success

There are specific steps that leaders can take to help staff members successfully heal from trauma. The process is not from a medical model of delivery, but a collaborative one between the worker and their leader. Easing into and being clear on returning-to-work responsibilities as well as the availability of and types of support matters. Learn more and utilize a fillable workbook to help your employees be successful here:


Week 3 – January 19th, 2021

Self-Help and Coping Strategies

The Department of Veteran’s affairs offers a catalog of coping resources and self-help options related to trauma management. Explore mindfulness and the ways in which an office visit from a therapy pet might be in order: 



Week 4 – January 26th, 2021

Practice Mindfulness to Decrease Stress

Setting up the workplace to offer the best chance of success in coping with trauma is essential. Helping your team members prevent email addiction and strategize to limit multitasking are a great start. Learn more about it in this article from Berkeley. It even includes an audio recorded breathing exercise to utilize at your desk:

Technology Resources

Note: This workshop was put on by R4 PTAC in December, 2010 as a telephone workshop - not a webinar. Despite the workshop happening a number of years ago, the content is still relevant for parent centers.


The following resources were funded through a 2013 supplement from OSEP to the Region 4 PTAC, to enhance R4 parent centers' capacity surrounding their project websites.  The archived information is provided to Region 4 parent centers trough a partnership between Idealware and the Region 4 PTAC.


  • Starting the Audit Process (Originally offered on 5/29/13)
    In this session, we'll kick off the website auditing process by defining your priorities and setting your goals. Next, we'll go through strategies for user interviews and surveys so you can assess whats working on your website and what needs improvement. Finally, we'll discuss the idea of the heuristic website audit, comparing the process to web design best practices.
    Recording   Slides
  • Defining Your Design and Content Strategy (Originally offered on 6/19/13)
    A website needs content before it can be useful to your constituents. In this session, you'll learn how to define your content strategy what content goes where, who creates the content, and how your content is organizedso your website provides value. From there, we'll kick off the design process with an introduction to wire framing, how to create a site map, and an overview of website analytics to help you identify your high-traffic areas and what visitors want from your site.
    Downloads: Recording  Slides
  • Fleshing Out an Accessible, Usable, and Polished Website (Originally offered on 7/10/13)
    In this session, we'll take a look at the nitty-gritty of web design. Starting with a more detailed look at the wire framing discussed in the previous session, we'll then plunge into visual design outlining best practices for usability and accessibility. We'll end this session with a discussion on search engine optimization (SEO), so your constituents can find you on search engines such as Google.
    Downloads:  Recording   Slides
  • Lets Get Technical (Originally Offered on 8/21/13)
    With your strategy and goals defined, it's time to get under the hood. In this session, we'll cover the technical side of website design, starting with an overview of content management systems (CMS), which make it easier for nontechnical staff members to create or update website content themselves. We'll also cover the technical side of implementing your SEO strategy and website analytics tool, and cover website security. Finally, we'll end with a discussion on integrating your website with your database, online payment tool, or other systems.
    Downloads:  Recording   Slides
  • Defining Your Priorities and Moving Forward (Originally Offered on 9/18/13)
    Now that your strategy is in place, and you've got an understanding of the tools involved, it's time to put your plan in action. In this session, we'll discuss how to work with a consultant who can bring your redesign to fruition. We'll end with an overview of the typical website development processes.
    Downloads:  Recording  Slides
  • Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines:  Does your organization show up on the first page of results in search engines like Google or Yahoo? The content and structure of your website can have a dramatic effect on how easily potential constituents can find you via search engines. In this session, we'll talk through the techniques that can help from straightforward ones that anyone can do, to some of the structural and technical ones that can make a big difference.
  • Creating an Accessible Website:  What are the straightforward steps that every organization should take to help those with disabilities access their website? What are things that make the difference between a site that's helpful and a site that's unusable to a part of your audience? What tools are available to help audit your website for these types of issues? We'll answer these questions as we go through the standards that can help any organization make their website accessible to anyone.


  • Creating a Parent Centered Website (Worksheet)
    One of the main purposes of your websites navigation (the menu) is to make it easier for your site visitors to find what content they want. As such, it's important to first identify who is going to visit your site who are your user groups? and then put yourself in their shoes.
  • When Should You Update Your Website Content? (Worksheet)
    Nothing that appears on your website is likely to be accurate forever. Some things like event listings or a tip of the daywill be out-of-date much sooner. It's very useful to create a review and update calendar for yourself to ensure you know what youll look at when.
  • What Type of CMS Do You Need? (Worksheet)
    There are many different content management systems (CMS) available, and while they all provide the same essential functionality, some are better suited to different uses and types of organizations. To choose the one that's right for you, think through your organization's website needs.