2018 Hopes and Dreams Conference

The 2018 Hopes & Dreams conference on Monday, March 19 and Tuesday, March 20 will feature keynotes and breakout sessions geared to parents and caregivers and the professionals who serve them. Don't miss this chance to learn more and collaborate to better meet the needs of those with disabilities and special healthcare needs. Register today and join us at the River Center at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29212.

The conference provides an opportunity for professionals, family members and self advocates to learn more about the resources and support available to the special needs community. Family members are also able to connect with professionals who care for children of all ages with various disabilities and long-term healthcare issues. This increased collaboration between parents and professionals sets the stage for all children and individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential.

Registration Information

Register today to ensure your space at this year's Hopes & Dreams conference. A limited number of paid scholarships are available for family members of those with disabilities.

Register Now

Register online until: 5 p.m.  3/16/2018.
Same-day registration will be available at check-in both days.


Apply for Scholarship

If you are a family member of an individual with a disability you may be eligible for a scholarship to cover your attendance.

Monday's keynote panel - Resilience in Action - will feature Master Sergeant Walter J. McDaniels and Deputy Jamel Bradley of the Richland County Sheriff's Department along with Andy Broughton of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice INSIDERS program. The panel will provide the audience with a qualitative approach to understand the effects of toxic trauma.

Walter J. McDaniels has served the citizens of Richland County for the last 22 years. He currently is First Sergeant within the School Resource Officers Division, serving as Departmental Liaison for the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as a Sergeant Detective within the cold case homicide, major crimes and white-collar crime units within the criminal investigation division of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. He earned a bachelor's in human service from Springfield College in Charleston, where he is also an adjunct professor, and a Master's in public administration from Troy University. A published author and community advocate for at risk youth, he believes in the practice of transformational leadership.

Deputy Bradley, who wears a hearing aid and calls himself "hard of hearing," uses his personal testimony to mentor kids encountering the same issues he faced growing up.

Andy Broughton serves as the Coordinator of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice INSIDERS program. He and the young men assigned to the INSIDERS program educate law enforcement, school faculty and parents on the use of strength based incentives as a tool when dealing with students who have experienced adverse childhood trauma. The Strength Based Incentive approach focuses on the development of positive reinforcement discipline designed to teach rather than punish.


Dr. Sandy Magaña will discuss the development of a culturally based approach to addressing the informational needs of Latino parents as Tuesday's keynote speaker. Latinos represent the fastest growing population in the U.S., and Latino children are one of the fastest growing populations with Autism. Dr. Magaña holds the Professorship in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin. Her research focus is on the cultural context of families who care for persons with disabilities across the life course. She has received funding for her research from the National Institutes of (NIH), and National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). Currently, she is focusing on identifying racial and ethnic disparities among persons with autism and other disabilities, identifying new pathways to diagnosis, and developing evidence-based treatments for underserved children on the autism spectrum, and their families.

Sandy Magaña, PhD, MSw

Each day will also feature three 75-minute breakout sessions, with several options for each. The workshop descriptions are available below.

The full conference agenda (DOC) shows there is surely something of interest to everyone.

To determine eligibility for Continuing Education Units (CEUs), download the Approved Credit Statement(DOC)

Download the Workshop Descriptions (DOC) for more info regarding the breakout sessions.

Download the Workshop Schedule (DOC) for times and dates for your sessions of interest.