conference training planning

The Utah Parent Center (UPC) is Utah’s Parent Training and Information Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs.

The Parent Training and Information (PTI) project is the “heart” of the Utah Parent Center and has been continuously funded since 1983. This project is funded by grant #H328M200028 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004). Project activities are designed to respond to the training and information needs of the parents of Utah’s identified 65,000 children and young adults with disabilities.

The UPC’s model is based on several effective strategies to deliver information and training and to develop skills.

One-On-One Consultations

The majority of our peer support is provided through one-on-one phone consultations. When you call our Center, you will be connected with one of our Parent Consultants, each of whom are themselves a parent of a child with a disability. Our Consultants can help you:

  • work with your child’s school to advocate for appropriate services,
  • understand your rights and responsibilities,
  • find resources through information and referral,
  • make connections with other families and resources in your community, and
  • receive support.

Workshops and Presentations

The Utah Parent Center’s workshops are offered to families, special educators, general educators, paraprofessionals, administrators, service providers, and interested community members. Please call UPC at 801.272.1051 or 800.468.1160 or send an email to for more information or to schedule a workshop.

Utah Parent Center Orientation on Services and Programs

This brief presentation provides parents and professionals with information on the services and programs provided by the Utah Parent Center.

Parents as Partners in the IEP Process

Parents are important members of the IEP team. They can and want to be effective partners with other members of the team in developing and delivering special education programs for their student with disabilities. However, they often lack information. This workshop helps parents understand their role, rights and responsibilities in the IEP process. Parents will also learn how to effectively prepare for, participate in and follow-up on IEP meetings held on behalf of their student. Trainers who are parents of children with disabilities will present the information.

Transition from School to Adult Life

Special education is responsible for coordinating services for young people while they are in school. When students leave school, in spite of many services and options that may be available, there is no longer a ”central agency” or person assigned responsibility to plan, coordinate and oversee the provision of information and services. This means that families and adult individuals with disabilities become primarily responsible for seeking out what they need and engaging with the agencies and organizations providing adult services.

Tools for Constructive Communication: Learning to Communicate as an Effective Team Member

Some of the most important skills – or tools – needed by parents and all team members are good communication skills. In these interactive workshops participants will learn and practice 5 basic skills that can lay the foundation for the effective exchange of ideas and information. Participants will also learn the principles of interest-based negotiation. Effective relationships often employ constructive communication – the kind that builds effective teams. Everyone will want these tools in their toolbox.

Section 504: What Parents Need to Know

What do parents need to know about Section 504? It is important for parents of students with disabilities and special needs to have information and an understanding of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Understanding the provisions of this important law can help parents be effective partners in working with schools to meet the educational needs of their student with disabilities.

Stress…And What To Do About It!!!

Yes…WE FEEL STRESS!!! In this workshop we explore some of the things that “make us crazy”, the unique stressors related to living with and raising a child with a disability (or working in the disability field). More importantly, participants will learn and practice some techniques to help deal with the stress! This interactive workshop will benefit all participants by helping them understand STRESS…AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!!!

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce families to a new way of thinking about their child’s behaviors and about the need to advocate for behavioral interventions and supports. These workshops introduce and provide an overview of the positive concepts of functional assessment and positive behavior interventions and supports. (It is not designed to teach how-to skills in these areas.)

Negotiation and Advocacy Skills: How to Successfully Advocate and Negotiate Within Public Service Systems Through Interest-Based Negotiation

Managing conflict in one’s personal or professional life – starts with you! These workshops teach participants step-by-step strategies of how to overcome conflict, manage emotions, work together for the best solutions, find the proper resources and take concerns to the next level. This process is called “Interest-Based Negotiation”. It is a process that should improve (not damage) relationships and allow everyone to come to an agreement that is satisfying to all parties involved.

Gifts and Challenges: A Child with Special Needs in Your Family

  • For Parents: Having a child with special needs is a wonderful experience that many of us did not anticipate. We find ourselves experiencing a different life from what we expected. Participants in these workshops will explore some of the unique “gifts and challenges” that are ours. Participants will have an opportunity to share ideas for recognizing and appreciating gifts, managing challenges, understanding and coping with feelings, recognizing how parents’ emotions impact their interactions with professionals and much more!
  • For Professionals/Educators: Professionals and educators will gain insight and understanding of the experiences of parents of children with disabilities and special needs. Participants in these workshops will explore some of the unique “gifts” that families receive and “challenges” that families face. Participants will have an opportunity to share ideas for recognizing and appreciating gifts, managing challenges, understanding and coping with feelings, recognizing how parents’ emotions impact their interactions with professionals and much more!

Criteria for Training Requests

Since we receive more requests for workshops and presentations than we are able to grant each year, priority for free trainings is determined based on the following criteria:

  • Priority topic areas targeted by our Parent Training and Information (PTI) project
  • Diverse locations across the state
  • Local sponsors providing space, publicity, refreshments and AV equipment (if needed)
  • Target audience including both parents and professionals
  • Attendance should number at least 15 people
  • Training event is open to all members of the community