Many parents of children with disabilities went to school during a time when there were no legal protections against disability discrimination in education settings. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) did not come along until 14 years later, although Massachusetts had similar legislation in place beginning in 2001.

The Cambridge SE-PAC was established in the early 2000’s, taking shape as a parent organizations in 2006, when attorney and special education parent Maureen Manning established a parents-only listserv to support mutual information-sharing and advocacy on behalf of all students with disabilities in Cambridge.