Conference 2019

Tags: Events
Join us for the 6th Annual Disability Advocacy Conference
“Building Skills and Growing Networks”
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
at the Durham Hilton Near Duke University

Register Now

Early Bird General Admission: $125  ($150 after March 31)
Early Bird Attorney seeking CLE credit: $165 ($190 after March 31) – 5 CLE hours, including 1 hour ethics approved by the North Carolina State Bar.

Registration form for payment by check available here.

Plenary Speaker: Tonier Cain
Her Personal Story, Trauma, Incarceration, and Recovery

Plenary speaker Tonier Cain at a Speaking EngagementTonier ‘Neen’ Cain Tonier  is a trauma survivor and internationally recognized trauma informed care expert. Cain’s work focuses on heightening awareness of the characteristics and effects of trauma and improving the performance of service providers, businesses, government agencies and others who interact with trauma victims and survivors.

For 19 nightmarish years, Cain lived on the streets, racking up 66 criminal convictions, until finally treatment for her trauma offered her a way out and up. Her story points to the consequences of untreated trauma to individuals and society at-large, including mental health problems, addiction, homelessness and incarceration.

Trauma blind-spots distort perceptions, lead to costly mistakes, and limit the possibilities of victims and survivors. Tonier Cain illuminates a reality that constrains the prospects of people who deserve understanding and genuine opportunities.

Recognizing Trauma and Its Effects

Trauma, including one-time, multiple, or long-lasting repetitive events, affects everyone differently. It is critical to recognize trauma and to adopt a trauma-informed approach to engage people that acknowledges the role that trauma plays in their lives. A trauma-informed approach is not accomplished through any single particular technique or checklist. It requires constant attention, caring awareness, sensitivity, and possibly a cultural change at an organizational level.

Disability Rights NC is pleased to feature sessions within each breakout hour focused on the theme of the positive impacts of recognizing trauma and its effects.

In addition to her plenary session, Cain will lead a breakout session: The R.I.C.H. Approach, in which she guides providers through the use of trauma informed care practices centering on Respect, Individuality, Connection and Hope. This course, designed to provide the tools to help survivors feel safe so they may begin to heal from past trauma experiences, will also shed light into understanding how survivors copes.

Conference Agenda

(Sessions offered are tentative, please check back for the final agenda and presenter bios.)

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:35 a.m. Breakout Sessions I

  • Restrictive Interventions in Public Schools (NC CLE 0.5) (Trauma)
  • The Ins and Outs of Intake
  • EPSDT: Medicaid for Children (NC CLE 1.0)
  • How the ADA Came to Be

9:50 – 10:55 a.m. Breakout Sessions II

  • Resilience: Documentary Screening (Trauma)
  • Guardianship Reform in North Carolina (NC CLE 1.0)
  • Medicaid Waivers: Emerging Issues and Appeal Strategies – Part 1 (NC CLE 1.0)
  • Employment Essentials: Services and Accommodations (NC CLE 0.5 )

11:10 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. Welcome and Plenary Session with Tonier ‘Neen’ Cain

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.     Lunch

1:00 – 2:05 p.m.      Breakout Sessions III

  • System Strategies to Address Trauma and Build Resilience (follow up to Resilience screening) (Trauma)
  • For Attorneys Only – Trauma Informed Legal Advocacy TRAUMA (follow up to Resilience screening) (NC CLE 1.0) (Trauma)
  • Medicaid Transformation Listening Session
  • Access to Health Care

2:20 – 3:25 p.m.      Breakout Sessions IV

  • The R.I.C.H Approach (Respect, Individuality, Connection and Hope) (Trauma)
  • Medicaid Waivers: Emerging Issues and Appeal Strategies – Part 2 (NC CLE 1.0)
  • What’s Happening at the NC General Assembly? (NC CLE 1.0)
  • Recent and Upcoming Changes in Special Education

3:40 – 4:45 p.m.      Breakout Sessions V

  • Accessible Yoga for Disability Rights Advocates (Trauma)
  • For Attorneys Only – Ethical Considerations When Representing Clients with Diminished Capacity (NC CLE Ethics 1 .0)
  • NCServes – Addressing the Needs of Veterans with Disabilities
  • Healing Neen Screening (Trauma)

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.      Sponsors/Presenters Reception

  • (conference sponsors, presenters and invited guests only)

Request an Accommodation

Individuals requiring accessibility accommodations should note specifics on the registration form (available in early February) or email

Authorization to Photograph and Video

By registering, participants irrevocably consent to and authorize Disability Rights NC to photograph and record video images at the event and to use and publish the same. All negatives, prints, and digital files shall be solely the property of Disability Rights NC.


The Hilton Durham Near Duke University, our host property, offers a discounted conference rate of $119. Call 1-800-HILTONS (445-8667) and reference the group code: DRC or access our conference link on the Hilton website.

CLE Credit Offered for N.C. Attorneys

Lawyers licensed in North Carolina can receive up to 5.0 CLE credit hours, including 1.0 hour of ethics credit (approval pending with the NC State Bar.) The presentation Ethical Considerations When Representing Clients with Diminished Capacity is open to attorneys only. All other conference sessions are open to all registrants.


Individuals unable to pay the full registration fee may apply to Disability Rights NC to receive a discounted registration. These discounts are available through the generous support of our sponsors. Applications for scholarships will be available once registration is open and must be submitted no later than April 15, 2019.

Scholarships are not available for individuals whose registration will be paid or reimbursed by an organization, corporation, or other corporate entity (such as a school, church, state or local agency, or nonprofit).

Individuals with a developmental disability (I/DD) or parents, family members or guardians of an individual with I/DD may be eligible for financial assistance through the Jean Wolff-Rossi Fund maintained by the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Refund Policy

Full refunds minus a $25 handling fee will be given until April 15, 2018. After April 15, a refund of $75 (or the amount paid minus a $25 handling fee, if less than $75).

Refunds will be issued by check within 21 days of receipt of a written request for a refund mailed to the attention of Susan McLean, or emailed to