Parent Information Relating to Special Education


All these opportunities are FREE unless noted.  

Todos estos eventos son gratuitos excepto donde se indique.

In most cases you must register if registration information is provided.

Ongoing and On Demand events and courses follow this monthly list of events.

When other events are announced they will be posted with these at:


MAY 2024


Registration for Fairfax County Therapeutic Recreation Camps


Early Childhood Academy — For families of young children with disabilities

Continuing to May 31— self paced course

Learn practical information to help you help your child develop skills to be successful in life.



Learning Your Way  Online Self-Paced Courses

24/7 Access, until Jun. 30, 11 pm

Special Education 101, Trauma 101, Dispute Resolution, Other Health impairments, Kinship Care, Constructive Collaboration



Strategies to Promote Healthy Sleep in Kids with Disabilities

Wed. May 1, 11:00 am
Gain tried-and-true strategies to promote falling asleep, staying asleep, and awaking at scheduled times.



ADHD Diagnosis, Now What? Navigating Life with Your Unique Brain

Wed. May 1, 3:00-4:30 pm

Learn about ADHD; become aware of areas where you need support;  and learn about resources.



Anatomy of an IEP

Wed. May 1, 6:30-7:45 pm

Learn about the sequence and contents of the separate sections of an Individualized  Educational Plan.



Building Independence with the TFIL Team

Thu. May 2, noon-1 pm

Learn how the Arc2Independence app can be customized to help your student navigate daily routines and challenges.



Connecting the Dots: Early Childhood Hearing Loss

Thu. May 2, 6:30-7:00 pm

Learn risk factors, signs of hearing loss during childhood, and how it could affect a child’s growth and learning.



Youth Mental Health First Aid — Course for Adults

Fri. May 3, 9:00 am-3:30 pm,  $25

Learn the risk factors and warning signs of mental health challenges in youth, their potential impact, and how to respond.




IEP University (IEPU) — Self-Paced ~ 6 hours of content

Mon. May 6 to Sun. May 26 with access 24/7

Get accurate and useful information about IEP development and meetings including many practical strategies. 



Building Strong Parent Advocates  Self-Paced Course

Mon. May 6 to Sun. May 26, ~ 6 hours of content

Build a solid foundation to understand the special education process while being empowered to be your child’s best advocate.



Helping your Anxious Child

Tuesdays, May 7 & 14, 10-11 am

Video courses plus group discussion. $ varies

•May 7, Part I: Child-Centered Approaches

•May 14, Part II: Parent-Centered Approaches





Anatomy of an IEP — For Military Families

Wed. May 8, 11:00 am-12:30 pm

Learn about the sequence and contents of the separate sections of an Individualized  Educational Plan.



The Co-Development of Motor Skills and Executive Function in Autism

Wed. May 8, 1 pm

Learn about emerging research on the development of motor skills and executive function in autism.



Measurable IEP Goals

Wed. May 8, 6:30-8:00 pm

Learn about the benefits of high expectations, what are measurable goals, and why monitoring progress is so important.



Lunch. Learn. Inspire

Thu. May 9, 11 am-1 pm

Share challenges you’ve noticed for someone with a developmental disability and benefit from the ensuing discussion.



It’s A Balancing Act:  Reclaiming Yourself Through Self-Care and Wellness

Thu. May 9, 6:30-7:30 pm, 14715 Bristow Rd. Manassas

Gain tangible strategies to make self-care an integral part of your routine in caring for your family.



Empowering Beginnings:  Unlocking Early Services and Supports — For Military Families of Children ages 0-4

Thu. May 9, 6:30 pm

If your child is not meeting milestones, or you have concerns, act early to find out more and gain help!



Talk Saves Lives:  An introduction to Suicide Prevention

Thu. May 9, 7-8 pm

Suicide can be prevented. Learn how to recognize common risk factors and warning signs, and learn how to respond. 



Attachment: Creating a Relationship with My Child Where They Feel Safe and Protected — in Spanish

Apego: Creando una relación con mi hijo donde se sienta seguro y protegido 

Viernes, 10 de mayo, 10:00-11:30 am

Cuatro de los retos que puede tener mi hijo, y estrategias para responder sin afectar el desarrollo de un apego seguro. 



Morning at the Museum — National Museum of Natural History

Sat. May 11, 8:30-10:00 am, 1100 Constitution Ave. Washington, DC

Families with students with cognitive or sensory processing disabilities may come to explore the exhibits and for sensory-friendly activities. 



Storytime Reading:  Gizmo's Pawesome Guide to Mental Health 

Sat. May 11, 11 am-noon, 8601 Mathis Ave. Manassas

This book introduces for youth (age 5-11) the ideas of mental health, healthy coping, and trusted adults who can help.



Sensory Friendly Evening at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Sat. May 11, 6-7 pm, 100 Maryland Ave, SW, Wash. DC

Families with children with cognitive or sensory disabilities can explore the plant displays and learn about carnivorous plants.



ADHD is Awesome:  The Holderness Family Guide to Thriving with ADHD

Mon. May 13, 1 pm, with replay link

How to dispel ADHD myths and reframe your thinking about ADHD, modeling it with positivity, and embracing both routine and fun.



Covid-19 Compensatory Services Partnership Between FCPS and Varsity Tutors

Tue. May 14, 10-11 am OR Wed. May 15, 7-8 pm

Learn about a new opportunity for your student to receive COVID compensatory education based on their IEP.



How to Successfully Navigate Disability and Life Insurance Issues with the Experts

Tue. May 14, noon

Hear from disability and life insurance denial experts on these policies and what to look out for.



More Than Sad —Training for Parents & Caring Adults

Tue. May 14, 7:00-8:30 pm, 4-6 pm, 

This program teaches caring adults about depression, demystifies treatment, and encourages those in need to seek help.



Distracted and Devoted:  Navigating Family Life with ADHD

Tue. May 14, 7:30-9:00 pm

Embracing the Chaos: stay focused; stay connected: 



Changes in Autism Symptoms Across Childhood

Wed. May 15, 1 pm

Learn how autism symptoms change throughout child development.



Ins and Outs of IEP Meetings

Wed. May 15, 6:30 pm

Learn what to expect at an IEP meeting, how to prepare for it, and how to work together afterwards to support your student.



Pathways to Wellness:  Mental Health Recovery

Fri. May 17, 9 am-2 pm, Ernst CCC, Annandale

Celebrate the journey and progress toward mental health recovery with speakers, and workshops.

Register:    $ varies



Storytime Reading:  Gizmo's Pawesome Guide to Mental Health 

Sat. May 18, 10:30-11:15 am, 18115 Tiangle Shopping Plaza, Dumfries

This book introduces for youth (age 5-11) the ideas of mental health, healthy coping, and trusted adults who can help.




Growth Mindset for Writing — For 4th & 5th grade students

Sat. May 18, 1:30-3:00 pm, 6849 Old Dominion Drive, # 200, McLean

Students will explore the parts of the writing process and will develop strategies to overcome their stuck spots.



Talk Saves Lives:  An introduction to Suicide Prevention

Sun. May 19, 4-5 pm

Suicide can be prevented. Learn how to recognize common risk factors and warning signs, and learn how to respond. 



Helping Your Child Experience Social Success

Tuesdays, May 21 & 28, 10-11 am,  $ varies

Video courses plus group discussion led by Dr. Dan. 

•May 21, Part I: Understanding Social Difficulties

•May 28, Part II: Social Choreography




Exploring the PMDD-ADHD Link: How to Recognize and Treat Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Tue. May 21, 1 pm, with replay link

Take an in-depth look at PMDD, it’s symptoms, similar disorders, and the importance of self-advocacy in healthcare.




Dispute Resolution Options in Virginia

Wed. May 22, 6:30-7:45 pm

Learn about the various dispute resolution options, how they work, and when it may be best to use a specific one. 



TFIL Talks: Lessons from the Arc2Independence App

Tue. May 28, 7 pm

Individuals with IDD or DD can watch how they could use this app to help them with transportation, safety, or daily living. 





Plan Ahead — Nurturing Parenting Class —Families of children ages 5-11 

Tuesdays, Jun. 11 to Sep. 17, 6-8 pm, virtual

Families increase their empathy, find new ways to foster appropriate behavior, build self-esteem, and learn to have fun together.  

Register:   email or phone  Erica Rincon Diaz 703-324-5004 


Plan Ahead — Active Parenting Class —Families of children age 0-4 

Tuesdays, Jun. 11 to Sep. 17, 5:30-8:00 pm, 4401 Sideburn Rd, Fairfax

Learn nurturing parenting routines and infant massage, and build self-esteem.  With a meal and child care. 

Register:   email: or phone  Sammy Zeballos 703-324-3532    

Plan Ahead — iCan Bike

Week of June 24-28, Tuscarora HS, Leesburg   $350

Over the course of a week, trained adults and student volunteers help kids with disabilities to learn how to ride a bike.

Contact: or call  Eileen 703-777-1939 x 208


Plan Ahead — African American Culturally-Focused Parenting Class

Wednesdays Jun. 26 to Sep. 18, 5:30-8:00 pm, Gum Springs CC, Alexandria, meal included.

This parenting class emphasizes African American history, culture, and traditions.  All family members have age-appropriate instruction.  

Register:  email: or phone Marcus 703-324-7737 or Tierra 571-407-6639



Sensory Rooms at Fairfax County Community Centers

These calming and relaxing rooms provide interactive ways to promote physical and intellectual development.


Lorton Community Center Sensory Room Schedule

Sully Community Center Sensory Room Schedule:

Jim Scott (Providence) Community Center Sensory Room Schedule


Accommodations for Recreational Classes and Camps with Fairfax County Parks

Accommodations include physical accessibility, ASL interpreters, assistive devices, sensitivity training for classmates, and staff training.

To request accommodations: 703 324-8563


Scholarships for Classes with Fairfax County Parks

Children of families that receive public assistance (medicaid, free school lunch, SNAP, TANF) are eligible to take one set of classes per quarter for a $15 fee.



ADHD @ School: Top 10 Hurdles to Learning with ADHD

This 10-part self-guided course equips caregivers and students with effective solutions to the specific academic and behavioral challenges associated with ADHD 



The Arc@School Advocacy Curriculum    $99 for 6 months

Build your special education knowledge, know the law, and learn to advocate for the services your child needs.  Scholarship:



Dyslexia & the IEP: How to Make Sure the IEP Is in Tip-Top Shape

24/7 Access:


NAMI Basics

This 6-session course is for adults who provide care for youth (ages 22 and younger) who are experiencing mental health symptoms (including ADHD and ASD).



Children’s Challenging Behaviors

This 6-hour workshop focuses on children’s challenging behaviors, mental health conditions, special education, and advocacy skills.  Register:


Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training

Learn about special education law, rights and responsibilities; tests to measure progress and regression; SMART IEPs; and strategies for effective advocacy.  $50-$90



Advanced Training in Collaborative & Proactive Solutions   

Participants will learn how to use the ALSUP assessment and how to solve problems collaboratively.   $149



The Parent Playbook — 9 Module Online Course on Autism

From the VCU Autism Center for Excellence & Virginia Autism Council. An introduction on Autism Spectrum Disorder for families, including tips for caregivers, characteristics, interventions and recommended programs and services.



Two 9-1-1 Pre-Notification Programs Are Now Available

Both allow prior registration so that first responders will be aware of the special needs of individuals at the scene.

Fairfax County Emergency Health Profiles

Ongoing medical and behavioral health conditions can be included, along with emergency contact information.

Fairfax County Community Connect


The special needs of individuals, and information about pets and your residence can be included with emergency contacts.




All these support groups are open to newcomers, and they are free, except where noted.  No diagnosis is required to participate.  Participants are typically given the opportunity to share their story, experience support, and glean guidance (as desired) from group members regarding both community and school resources.  Confidentiality is to be respected.


AAC Parent Group meets occasionally on Saturdays.  Contact:  Amanda or 703-941-7757 ext. 316


Alpha Moms  This support group for adoptive parents meets monthly in McLean.  Contact:


Arlington Epilepsy Support Group, a list-serve, can be accessed at


Autism Dads meets one evening monthly.  Contact:  George Buzby at 571-419-1257 or



Autism Society of NoVA Parents and Caregivers meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, 7-8 pm via Zoom. Meeting ID: 946 600 1682; One tap mobile (301) 715-8592


Cafés Virtuales Para Padres:  Miércoles de 7:00-8:30 pm.  Regístrese con al menos 24 horas de anticipación: o 703-324-7720 


CHADD: Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

West Fairfax/Burke CHADD Parent Support Group  1st & 3rd Thur. of each month at 8:00 pm Contact:  Cathy,  


CSB Family Support Group at Gatlan Center  2nd and 4th Wed. of each month 6:00-7:30 pm via Zoom Contact: or call 703-799-2882.


D.A.D.S.  Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome 3rd Tue. each month, 7-9 pm via Zoom.  Contact:  George or call 703- 545-6089.


Dr. Dan’s Support Group for Parents Raising Challenging Children meets via Zoom on Mondays, 1-2 pm, Register:


Embark in the DC Metro Parent Support Group is for parents of children and youth with mental health challenges.  It meets virtually on alternate Thursdays, noon-1 pm.  Register:


Fairfax Juvenile Court Parent Support for problems including runaway behavior, truancy, alcohol/drug abuse, and serious behavioral problems at home, at school, or in the community. Sign up for a phone consultation at


Fairfax Kinship Support Group meets virtually on the 1st Thursday monthly at 6:30-8:00 pm.  An in-person group meets on the 3rd Thursday monthly at Fairfax County Community Centers at 6:15-8:00 pm.  Dinner and childcare are provided.  Register: 


Formed Families Together meets monthly as peer support groups for adoptive, kinship, and foster caregivers and parents. A Virtual support group meets the 1st Sunday evening monthly. An In-Person support group meets the 3rd Wednesday evening monthly. Register:


Foster the Family Support Group for foster and adoptive moms meets the 3rd Monday of each month, 6:30-8:00 pm in Falls Church. Childcare is provided. Register:


Grupo de educación y apoyo a padres en española se reúne el cuarto sábado de cada mes, de 10 a 11 am en Zoom en ID de reunión: 946 600 1682


El Grupo de apoyo ASNV para padres y cuidadores en español se reúne el segundo sábado de cada mes de 1 a 2 pm en ServiceSource, 10467 White Granite Dr. Oakton.  Estacione en la parte de atrás. Para obtener más información, envíe un correo electrónico a


Grupo de apoyo para madres de habla hispana de niños con autismo se reúne mensualmente en línea y está patrocinado por Johns Hopkins Medical Center.   Contacto:


Hablemos educación especial es un grupo de discusión de padres de habla hispana y de un estudiante autista. Se reúnen virtualmente el primer miércoles de cada mes de 7:00-7:45 pm  Registrarse:


Infinity ABA Parent Connect, for families with a child with autism, meets online on the 2nd Thursday monthly at 7:00-8:30 pm.  Guest speakers, discussions, and resources. Register:


Kinship Café meets online 6:30-8:00 pm the 3rd Thursday of the month for those raising the children of relatives and friends. To attend, call 703-324-7720 or email .


Military Families Support Group meets on the 2nd Tuesday monthly at 7-8 pm for military families of all disabled dependents.  Access: OR Email for details 


NAMI:  National Alliance on Mental Illness builds better lives for affected families.  

Family Support Group for Parents of Youth meets the 1st and 3rd Sundays monthly at 7:00-8:30 pm.  Contact:  Michelle Best .  

NAMI Family Support Group meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays on Zoom for parents of children living with mental health challenges including ADHD, ASD, etc. 

NAMI Parent & Caregiver Support Group meets on the 4th Thursday monthly. Email or call 804-285-1749 


NOVA Adopt Friends Parent Peer Support Group for adoptive parents meets on the 3rd Thursdays monthly 6:00-7:30 pm. Zoom:  


OCD Family Support Group meets the 1st Mon. of each month, 7:30 pm.  Contact:   or  call 202-215-5859


Parents of Autistic Children (POAC-NOVA) Support Group meets in-person the 1st Saturday monthly at 10:00-11:30 am, 6121 Franconia Rd. Alexandria. RSVP to 


People of the Global Majority is a discussion group for BIPOC parents of children with autism.  They meet virtually on the 1st Monday monthly at 7:00-7:45 pm.  Register:


REACH Parent Support Group meets monthly to support parents of individuals with developmental disabilities who also have mental health or behavioral issues.  Contact:  Dr. Pourmand health


Small Steps Together is a discussion group for parents of preschool and elementary children with autism.  They meet virtually on the 4th Monday monthly at 7:00-7:45 pm.  Register:


Virginia Family Network Book Club for parents and caregivers of children living with mental health challenges meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 7 pm. Contact Nicole Anjum at .


Virginia Family Network Coffee Chat and Self-Care meets monthly on the 3rd Thurs. 9:00-10:30 am to connect and to discuss self-care journeys. Contact Nicole Anjum at 


Virginia Family Network Parent Meetup is on the 1st and 3rd Fridays at 8 pm for parents/caregivers of children with mental health challenges. Contact Nicole Anjum at .








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