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Our Programs

What We Do

Current Projects

Educational Coaching & Support 

Our experienced Educational Support Coaches provide one-to-one coaching and education for families and self-advocates seeking support in navigating the Special Education system. Educational Support Coaches can assist with educational information, letter writing, connection to community resources, records reviews, and preparation for IEPs and other school meetings. Reach out to to schedule an appointment with a member of the FMPTIC team, 

COMPASS Volunteers: Coaching Other and Mentoring Parents about School Services

COMPASS Volunteer Interest Form:

Family Matters PTIC partners with individuals interested in providing educational support and mentoring on a volunteer basis for students and families across the state seeking or navigating Special Education support. Participants commit to participate in 8-10 online educational sessions focused on core issues and challenges in Special Education. Our comprehensive program covers:


  • Family and school collaboration
  • IEP & 504 Plans
  • IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Key Special Education resources
  • Assessments, Eligibility, and Evaluations
  • Placement and Least Restrictive Environment
  • Inclusion
  • Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Advocacy Skills and Strategies
  • Assistive Technology
  • Accommodations & Modifications
  • Transition Services and Supports 

At the completion of the entire program, all volunteer participants must complete a post-test, ensuring competency. Following that, volunteers can be matched with families seeking support in different areas of the state. Participants who complete the program agree to support at least 4 families each year. Interested in supporting families in this way? Contact us!

Educational Surrogate Parent Program

Educational Surrogate Volunteer Interest Form:

Family Matters PTIC is pleased to partner with the Illinois State Board of Education to provide training for Educational Surrogate Parents (ESP) in Illinois. The program recruits and trains volunteers throughout the state who agree to step in and provide special education advocacy and support for students ages 3-21, who are youth in care, are unaccompanied homeless youth, or whose parent(s) cannot be identified or located. ESP's commit to required training, background screenings, and completion of all mandatory paperwork, including a commitment to confidentiality. All ESP's participate in an initial full-day online training and refresher training yearly. ESP's are required to submit reports two times per year.

ESP's provide key support to students by learning about their educational needs, advocating for appropriate supports, assessments and services, attending IEP meetings, partnering with school staff, and utilizing effective and professional advocacy strategies.

Education Information Helpline

Family Matters PTIC is staffed by 2 full-time Educational Support Coaches. These educational coaches partner with families and self-advocates seeking guidance and support in navigating the Special Education system. Educational Support Coaches work with families to explore their child's developmental and educational needs, partner effectively with their local school team, participate in decision-making about their child's educational needs, and share up-to-date and accurate resources regarding programs, services, technologies, practices, and interventions. How can an Educational Support Coach help you?


  • Review your child's Individualized Education Plan and/or school records
  • Provide training on various education-specific topics
  • Connect you with resources in your community 
  • Provide support specific to Early Intervention supports and services
  • Assist with preparation for school meetings
  • Consult with community organizations to ensure that you can access needed services
  • Assist parents in communicating with their school in writing

Seeking more information or would like to speak to one of our Educational Support Coaches? Call or email:


What Do Families Say?

"We are so very LUCKY to have this organization to help parents."

"I love the creativity and knowledge that was shared. Thank you!"

"While we do many many digital social stories this is the next level!  Can’t wait to write more!"

"Family Matters helped our family navigate the IEP process and advocate for appropriate accommodations for our son and daughter. With the help of our wonderful advocate, we were able to craft IEP's that addressed out children's needs ad helped them be more successful in school. This had a positively impact on them not only academically, but also socially, emotionally and for the rest of our family. I learned so much from working with our advocate and I will forever be grateful for her support." August, 2022

"I love having this resource. Our Information Specialist was very kind and attentive and has offered to provide additional help as we progress forward with my son's IEP next year. I shared her information with some friends and they were all so happy to have found her and the wealth of knowledge she could share! I have looked into advocacy courses for myself and want to explore these options further." June, 2022

"Our Information Specialist helped me feel like I had someone on my side. I felt completely lost and hopeless before I talked with her and I didn't know where to start. Just talking with her and the information she has provided me has empowered me to be a better advocate for my son. She gave me a perfect starting place to be able to educate myself and become a strong advocate." December, 2022

"This was a rewarding webinar. Very informative, with practical and sustainable tools to improve communication and reduce stress. I am looking forward to putting these suggestions to practice both personally and professionally. Thank you!" Webinar participant, 2022

"The last IEP meeting went amazing and I felt like I not only helped the family, but the district too! The VAP is the best training I have ever taken and I am so thankful for Family Matters." VAP Participant, March, 2022

"It was a fabulous training program and I wish I could have had this training years ago. I look forward to helping families and others with IEP support in the future." VAP participant, April, 2022

"Even this quick phone call has been helpful. You provide not only information but support. Sometimes I wonder if it is realistic to ask for certain things for my child at a meeting and know I can reach out." Parent, Helpline call, 2023