SAVE THE DATE: DRNC’s next Disability Advocacy Conference will be May 1, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina
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2018 Archives

Join Us for the 5th Annual Disability Advocacy Conference on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at The Friday Center, Chapel Hill, NC from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Approved by the NC State Bar for 5 CLE hours, including 1 hour SA/MA

Endorsed by the National Association of Social Workers – NC Chapter

Registration includes session materials, breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks.

New sessions for 2018!

  • 3-session track on the Impact of Trauma, including a screening of the 1-hour documentary, Resilience
  • Psychiatric Advance Directives
  • Parental Rights
  • Restrictive Interventions in Public Schools
  • Changes in Special Education
  • Updates on Medicaid Reform and Other Medicaid Topics

2018 Conference Schedule

(download PDF for more detailed descriptions of each session)

7:30 – 8:30 am Registration and Breakfast
8:30 – 9:35 am

Breakout 1

  • EPSDT: Medicaid for Children (Sarah Somers) [CLE 1.0]
  • Closing the Health Coverage Gap in North Carolina: A Path towards Increasing Access to Medicaid (Ciara Zachary) [CLE 0.5]
  • Restrictive Interventions in Public Schools (Virginia Fogg and Kristine Sullivan) [CLE 0.5]
  • The Right to Live in the World: An Update (Lisa Grafstein, Larkin Taylor-Parker) [CLE 1.0]
9:50-10:55 am

Breakout 2

  • Understanding the Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Chris Hodgson and Holly Stiles) [CLE 0.5]
  • Medicaid: The Basics and Emerging Issues Surrounding Medicaid Waivers (Emma Kinyanjui and Lisa Nesbitt) [CLE 1.0]
  • Psychiatric Advance Directives (BeBe Smith and Bob Ward)
  • Guardianship Reform (Corye Dunn) [CLE 1.0]
11:10-12:15 pm

Welcome and Keynote Speaker – Lynne Seagle of Hope House Foundation

  • Lynne Seagle is the executive director of Hope House Foundation, the only organization in Virginia that provides services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities exclusively in their own homes and apartments. Lynne guided the organization through its transition from running group homes to supporting people in their communities. She received the Leadership Award from the American Association on Intellectual Disabilities in 1990 and the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation’s International Future Leader Award in 1998. She is a sought-after speaker on the topic of community and integration.
12:15-1:15 pm Lunch (included in registration fee)
1:15-2:25 pm

Breakout 3

  • Medicaid Appeals (Dylan Hix and Tadra Martin) [CLE 1.0]
  • Resilience: Documentary Screening
  • Parental Rights (Holly Stiles) [CLE 1.0]
  • Recent and Upcoming Changes in Special Education (Moderator: Virginia Fogg; Panel: Carol Ann Hudgens, Leigh Mobley)
2:40-3:45 pm

Breakout 4

  • What’s Happening at the NC General Assembly (Corye Dunn) [CLE 1.0]
  • Systems Strategies to Address Toxic Stress/Trauma and Build Resilience (Moderator: Cas Shearin; Panelists: Mary Lynn Barrett, Nicole Cole, and David Thompson)
  • Medicaid and Managed Care: The Winds of Change (Emma Kinyanjui, John Rittelmeyer, and Ciara Zachary)
  • Resources for People with Disabilities (Carolina Farmer and Meredith Huml)
3:55-5:00 pm

Breakout 5

  • The Positive Impacts of Shifting the Focus to Recognizing Trauma and Its Effects (Moderator: Cas Shearin; Panelists: Jarrett Barnhill, Jenny Cooper, and Jill Hinton)
  • From Applicant to Graduate: Your Rights and Tips for Success in Higher Education (Holly Stiles) [CLE 0.5]
  • NC ABLE Accounts: Eligibility, Features, Benefits, and 2018 Changes (Mary Buonfiglio)
  • For Attorneys Only — Recognizing and Responding to a Lawyer with a Mental Health Disorder (Corye Dunn and Lisa Grafstein) [SA/MH CLE 1.0]
5:00-6:30 pm

Reception for Sponsors

Reviews of Previous Conferences

“I have attended all of the Disability conferences and I learn something useful every time! Thank you for putting this conference together every year.”

“It was great. This was my first conference and I plan to return.”

“I have learned so much today that I can use in my elderly and disabled program.”

“Each session provided me with information I did not know before. After each session it allowed me to network and ask questions about how it would relate to my situation.”


The following hotels offer discounted rates for conference registrants:

Courtyard by Marriott, 100 Marriott Way, Chapel Hill, NC (just across the driveway from The Friday Center) – $139 per night plus tax and service charges for a King or double room. Call 919-883-0700 or 800-321-2211 to reserve your room. The block name is “Disability Rights.” This room block and discounted rates will expire on March 19, 2018.

Aloft Hotel, 1001 South Hamilton Road, Chapel Hill, NC (one mile from The Friday Center) – $129 per night plus tax and service charges for a King or double room. Parking is $10. Reserve your room on the Aloft website or call 919-932-7772. The block name is “Disability Rights NC Conference.” This room block and discounted rates will expire on March 19, 2018.


If you would like to attend the conference but do not have the means to pay the full registration fee, you may apply to Disability Rights NC to receive a discount on your registration. These discounts are available due to the support of our generous sponsors. Get the application form here. All applications for scholarships must be submitted no later than March 16, 2018.

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). If you are an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) or a parent, family member or individual guardian of an individual with I/DD, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Jean Wolff-Rossi Fund maintained by the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities. Apply for Rossi Fund assistance here.

Request an Accommodation

On your registration form, please let us know how we can ensure that our conference is fully accessible to you, or email

Refund Policy

Full refunds minus a $15 handling fee will be given up until March 16, 2018. After March 16, you will receive a refund of $65 (or the amount you paid minus a $15 handling fee, if less than $65). Refunds will be issued by check within 21 days of our receipt of your written request for a refund mailed to the attention of Elaine Whitford or emailed to

Your refund request must include your full name, complete mailing address, and, if applicable, the name of the company or organization that paid your registration fee.

Authorization to Photograph and Video

By registering, you irrevocably consent to and authorize Disability Rights NC to photograph and record video images of you 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.