Join us for the 6th Annual Disability Advocacy Conference
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
at the Durham Hilton Near Duke University

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

Tonier ‘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

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 & 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

  • For Attorneys Only – Trauma Informed Legal Advocacy TRAUMA (follow up to Resilience screening) (NC CLE 1.0) (Trauma)
  • Facilitated Group Discussion Following “Resilience” (Trauma)
  • Medicaid Transformation Listening Session
  • Equal Access to Health Care for Individuals with Disabilities

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

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

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

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

Continuing Education

Lawyers and paralegals licensed in North Carolina can receive up to 5.0 CLE credit hours, including 1.0 hour of ethics credit.  The National Association of Social Workers – NC Chapter has endorsed this program for CE credit for social workers. Social workers and peer specialists will be provided certificates of attendance that may be used to obtain course credit.


The scholarship deadline has passed, please email with questions. 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. Residents of Mecklenburg County are eligible for scholarships through Mecklenburg First in Families.

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