Tips for Parents: Making the Most of Organizations Designed Especially for Parents

by Tina Spencer, M.S.

Parents and teachers have the most direct impact on student success in school. Each grade offers different instructors, new learning expectations, and changes in classroom environment. Parents play an important role in helping students get through each school year. Whether living in affluent or low-income neighborhoods, most parents are eager to support their children, teachers, and school leaders. To do this, they need to know about the curriculum, what the schools are teaching, and how academic expectations change. They also need a better understanding of laws that govern their children's education.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) began as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA), or Public Law 94-142, in 1975. The latest reauthorization took place in 2004 to align with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). High expectations for all children and preparation of students with disabilities to lead productive and independent adult lives were among the congressional intents of IDEA 2004 (Moore-Brown, Estomin, Ferguson, Power-deFur, 2005). Together, IDEA and NCLB try to ensure equal access to education for all students.

Several organizations in Virginia are designed to educate and offer assistance to parents. Many of these organizations provide opportunities for parents to learn more about the revised laws as well as how to do their part in supporting their child's achievement. Some of these organizations are identified below.

Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center

100 North Washington Street, Suite 234
Falls Church, VA 22046
Phone: 703-923-0010
1-800-869-6782 VA only
(804) 819-1999 (Richmond)

Parent Resource Center

Judy Hudgins, Specialist
Division of Special Education and Student Services
Virginia Department of Education
P.O. Box 2120
Richmond, VA 23218-2120
Phone: (800) 422-2083; (804) 371-7421
Parent to Parent of Virginia
P.O. Box 38341
Richmond, VA 23231
Phone: (804) 795-1481

Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

1027 Wilmer Avenue
Richmond, VA 23227
Phone: (804) 264-1234

The Arc of Virginia

The Arc of Virginia Family Involvement Project
2025 E. Main Street, Suite 107
Richmond, VA 23223
Phone: (804) 649-8481 ext. 103; (888) 604-2677 ext. 103

In addition to contacting the organizations listed above, family members may attend sessions at the conferences listed below to continue building their knowledge base in an effort to help children succeed in school. More information is available at TTAC Online at

  • June 18 and 19, 2007: AT & Aug Com '07 "A New Direction". Register online at

  • July 11-13, 2007: Shining Stars 2007. Early Childhood Conference. Register online at


Moore-Brown, B., Estomin, E., Ferguson, M., & Power-deFur, L. (2005). Challenges regarding the integration of NCLB and IDEA '04.

Paper presented at the 2005 ASHA Convention. Retrieved March 7, 2007, from 

Date: May/June  2007