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The experimental projects.

In 1990, the Experimental Parent Training and Information Project initiative was authorized by Congress and added to the special education law (P.L. 101-476, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA). This amendment was designated to help parents of children with disabilities, particularly parents from culturally diverse backgrounds, to take the next step in arranging their grass-roots efforts to train and inform parents of their rights under special ed law. The idea was to target parents living in the nation's largest inner cities and remote rural areas, areas where it is known that students with disabilities are particularly underserved.

As a result of this amendment, TAPP was authorized to initiate outreach efforts to identify and support the efforts of culturally diverse parents, parent leaders and community organizations in developing experimental projects information support and training in urban and rural communities.

The Experimental Projects were so named to emphasize the use of a variety of methods and to encourage a broad range of support to underserved groups. The goal of the experimental projects is to facilitate a process whereby parents in such communities can identify their personal strengths and the strengths and resources in their communities. The project intends to identify barriers to obtaining appropriate services and supports needed to effectively participate in the special education process.

After identifying community resources, barriers and potential strategies, additional technical assistance supports will be initiated to further assist groups to capitalize on the strengths and resources found in every community. It is hoped that this will result in the provision of a combination of support, information, and training to assist parents to be more effective advocates for themselves and their children.

Over the past two years, technical assistance (TA), training and intensive support have been provided to more than 20 parent groups from culturally diverse backgrounds, in geographically underserved urban and rural communities.

In the first experimental projects' grant competition, conducted this past fall, four groups received grants from OSERS. The groups that were funded under this competition are Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment (COPE), Washington D.C.; Carlene Howard, Director; Mentor Parents, Seneca, Penn.; Gail Walker, Director; Touchstones, Seattle, Wash.; Joe Garcia, Director; and Special Kids Inc (SKI), Houston, Texas; Agnes Johnson, Director.

Intensive TA will be provided this year to approximately 16 groups, and it is anticipated that TA will be provided to an additional 45 to 50 groups this year.

This technical assistance can involve the provision of a wide range of services which accommodate eligible groups. Outreach and TA are coordinated by Charlotte "Dee" Spinkston. The TAPP central office is located in Boston, Mass. If you would like more information about the Experimental Projects please call (617) 482-2915.
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Title Annotation:Experimental Parent Training and Information Project; Networking: Information from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
Author:Spinkston, Dee
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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