The Metropolitan Parent Center

The Metropolitan Parent Center is a Parent Training and Information Center, which helps families of children with disabilities to obtain free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment and access other needed services. It also assists parents to develop skills and knowledge that will help their children achieve functional and academic goals that will lead them to independent productive adult lives to the maximum extent possible.

  • The Metropolitan Parent Center is a part of a nationwide network of Parent Training and Information Centers, which are provided with technical assistance by the Alliance National Technical Assistance Center.
  • It is also a member of the NYS Parent Center Network.

Who is eligible for our help?

Any child / youth with a disability, ages birth to 26 who is a resident of New York City. Training and information is also offered to professionals from schools and community organizations.

Our Parent center can help parents to:
  • Understand the special education system under the federal IDEA and State laws and regulations.
  • Better understand their children’s needs and learn to access and identify services and resources.
  • Locate information and referrals about a wide variety of services.
  • Secure one-to-one advocacy assistance.
  • Obtain parent training for parents with developmental disabilities.
  • Acquire educational advocacy training.
  • Benefit from workshops on Special Education topics (see calendar of events)
  • Join parent support groups.
  • Connect and collaborate with community-based organizations.
  • Resolve disagreements with the school or other agencies.

Our Parent Center includes:

  • The Richard M. Lash Resource Library, which hasi nformation on Special Education
  • Multi cultural publications
  • Fact sheets
  • Brochures
  • Disability related books
  • Videos / CD-ROM’s
The Dr. Nivia Zavala Family Center provides
  • Training
  • Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Computer and Internet Access

Parent Support Groups

Parent support groups will provide a safe and confidential outlet for sharing with peers stories, successes, and hardships. Parents/Guardians will have opportunities to form new supportive relationships with other parents.

Sinergia’s Autism Project Partner in N.Y.C. Council’s Autism Initiative 

As part of the City Council Autism Initiative, Sinergia’s Autism Project and directs outreach and programming to parents of children with autism; particularly to Latinos parents who are not yet able to communicate in English, to families living in poverty and those who may have limited access to information and services and lack knowledge of the service systems, and/or have limited or no knowledge of their children’s educational rights or how to navigate the special education system. 

The project  provides simultaneous translation services at workshops due to the language needs of non-English speaking parents.  However, increasingly some workshops are now provided directly in Spanish to facilitate the learning and greater participation of Latino parents. 

In order to increase outreach, meet the language, cultural needs of Latino parents as well as to offer a parent support group; the project has incorporated a series of Desayunos/Encuentros.    This format provides parents with a more intimate and informal setting where they can come together, learn, share experiences and ideas.  The encuentros offers parents the opportunity for clarification and reflection on information derived from previous workshops and facilitates a dialogue with their peers. 

Sinergia’s Autism Project will continue to bring parents together and help to create a network of support, which incorporates educational, scientific, art institutions and service organizations. Collaboration with these entities will help parents to learn about services and resources and foster a greater understanding of how systems work and how parents can utilize services to benefit children and sustain their families. Our project provides information and support for families of children with autism.   Hopefully, the entire network of the Autism Initiative will create greater awareness of autism and increase community understanding of the complexities and needs of children with autism and the challenges faced by their families.   Please call Gina Pena, coordinator at (212) 643-2840 for upcoming training sessions or for any further information about the Autism Initiative. 

Click on the links below for resourceful websites.
Funding made possible by
the US Department of Education
(OSEP) Office of Special Education Programs.