Hopes & Dreams 2023 Schedule

Wednesday, May 3

8:00 a.m. • Registration and Check-in

9:00 a.m. • Open & Welcome - Amy Holbert

Remarks from SC Superintendent of Education, Ellen Weaver

9:30 - 9:45 a.m. • Break to visit exhibitors

9:45 - 11:00 a.m. • Session 1

Free 2 Be Me: Transition to Adult Medical Home

Anna Bleasdale, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
Tracie Hayward, Family Connection of SC
Hannah Mathis, Family Connection of SC

When a child turns 18, they are in the driver’s seat for their own medical decisions. Learn about what to expect when your child turns 18 and they transition to adult providers. Identify what transition is and why it is important to plan ahead for this. Barriers and challenges that occur around transitioning to an adult medical home will be covered. Critical steps in preparing for transition will be outlined and strategies to make transition successful will be provided

Reframing Challenging Behaviors Using an Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Lens

Amaris Gibson,
SC Infant Mental Health Association

This training will focus on the skill of reframing for caregivers, in order to take a new perspective on behaviors they find challenging. Through the lens of relationships, participants will learn how a young child’s needs are expressed through their behavior and how as responsive caregivers, we can meet those needs.

Bridging Supports: Everything You Need to Know about Transition from Part C to Part B

Sherri Evans, SC Department of Education
Jennifer Buster, SC Department of Health and Human Services

This session will focus on the key components of early childhood transitions. Part C to B transition refers to children who are transitioning from early intervention (Part C) to early childhood special education (Part B) prior to the child’s third birthday. This session will discuss how to support a consistent implementation of effective transition practices. Child Find components of Part C and Part B will also be discussed.

Understand the Power of an Engaged Parent!

Dr. Yasha Becton, University of South Carolina

An engaged parent is a powerful parent! Learn key strategies to make a tremendous difference in the lives of children. Strategies for nurturing children, understanding the difference between what is “just a stage” and what is a problem, and understanding optimism and its positive effect on the brain will be shared. Participants will learn to identify areas where they can advocate for their children. You’ll leave this workshop knowing that Parent Engagement is a SUPERPOWER! 

A Spectrum of Services: Autism Resources in SC

Stephanie Turner, Department of Disabilities and Special Needs

About 1:44 individuals are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In addition to the core symptoms defining ASD, many individuals experience broader problem behavior at a level significant enough for families to seek clinical assessment and intervention. This presentation will share types of treatments and how they work.

11:00 - 11:10 a.m. • Break to visit exhibitors

11:10 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. • Session 2

Advocacy for All: Advocacy for Families, Caregivers, & Interventionists

Deborah DePaoli, Institute for Child Success

Want to learn how to be a more effective advocate for a child you love? How about for all children? How can you amplify your voice with lawmakers and others to better advocate for children? Join this workshop to learn the approach and techniques for powerful and effective advocacy.

There May Be Something Going On Here: The Child Find Process

Dr. Susan Thomas

When a parent or provider sees that a child is struggling at school, it is sometimes unclear what the “next steps” should be. This session provides guidance on determining when and how to request an evaluation by the school district if a disability is suspected. The process and requirements for evaluation and eligibility for services, as defined by the Individuals with Disabilitites Education Act and SC regulations, will be discussed. Participants will learn what consent is, how “parent” is defined, and the importance of Prior Written Notice. Learn what to do when you suspect that “there may be something going on here…”

Tools for Understanding & Managing Behavior in Young Children

Dr. Rosmary Ros-Demarize
Medical University of South Carolina, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics

The presentation will provide information on disruptive behavioral problems in young children and highlight frameworks for understanding the role of disruptive behaviors. There will be a focus on behavior problems broadly as well as within children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The presentation will also include evidence-based strategies to manage disruptive behaviors within the home (for parents) and classroom/clinic environments (for teachers/providers).

NAMI Basics and Transition Age Youth

Deniece Chi, NAMI

During this 1 hour presentation, Certified NAMI Basics Teacher Deniece Chi will share information about the challenges that families with transition age youth with mental health concerns face. Information is provided as instruction from the peer perspective, and expertise gained from personal life experience. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the differences as a child grows between a healthy child and a child who has experienced mental illness and how to navigate resolution of these challenges. Participants will be exposed to the support and education available through NAMI and gain resources that are available to serve families.

Early Intervention Parent Panel

Kerri Wikel, Project Director
TECS Center for Disability Resources

If experience is a great teacher, this panel of parents has a lot of knowledge to share. An opportunity for Early Interventionists to hear what supports and assistance families receiving these services find most helpful, this session also provides insight into the family’s perspective of the EI experience. Participants will leave with information that can be applied to other families beginning this journey and recognition of opportunities for families and EIs to work collaboratively to benefit the child. Families attending the conference can learn from others’ experiences and gain valuable information to take home to share with their EI.

Lunch on your own • 12:25 - 1:20 p.m.

1:20 p.m. • Keynote

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Challenges in Diagnosis and Lessons Learned

Dr. Desmond Kelly
Developmental Behavior Pediatrics

While Autism Spectrum Disorder can present in various and complex ways, there are different tools and methods to identify and diagnose Autism at a young age. Dr. Desmond Kelly, Interim Chief Academic Executive Officer for Prisma Health and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, will explain the complex neuroanatomic and physiologic differences in children with ASD. Behavioral characteristics exhibited by young children with ASD will be explained and plans to facilitate early diagnosis of ASD and interventions that could be implemented while awaiting diagnosis will be shared. 

3:00 - 3:15 p.m. • Break to visit exhibitors

3:15 - 4:30 p.m. • Session 3

SC Medicaid: Getting and Keeping Coverage

Megan Branham, Family Connection of SC

This session will explain what to expect when enrolling in Medicaid, in order to choose the best option for each family’s needs. Information about different SC Medicaid options and how to apply for coverage will be shared. South Carolina resumed its standard Medicaid annual review process on April 1, 2023.  Participants will learn what this means for families.  Learn more about this, waivers, Medicaid and TEFRA eligibility and more at this session! 

Connecting the Dots: Screens, Play, Language & Reading

Angie Neal, SC Department of Education

Children learn to read well before they are taught the first letter. It all begins with being part of a language rich environment. This workshop will explore the connection between play, screen time, language development, brain development, and learning to read. This workshop will provide critical information for parents, pediatricians, therapists, teachers, early interventionists, and anyone working with children from birth through the age of eight.

Ensuring Access to Child Care for Children with Disabilities: The Issue and Supports Available in SC

Dr. Heather Googe, SC Child Care Inclusion Collaborative

Access to child care is a critical issue for families of children with disabilities. Join this session to discuss issues and strategies related to securing and maintaining child care. Early childhood suspension and expulsion will be addressed and resources available in South Carolina to address these issues support young children with disabilities and their families will be shared. 

Saving for the Future with Palmetto ABLE

Karen Crider, State Treasurer’s Office

The Palmetto ABLE Savings Program opened for enrollment in November 2017 and has been growing steadily. The program offers individuals the ability to save money without jeopardizing benefits eligibility now or in the future. Today, over 2800 accounts are open statewide, but there are many more South Carolinians who can benefit from Palmetto ABLE account ownership. This session will provide information about the program and help potential account beneficiaries to better understand how an account can help them plan and save for their future.  

Transition 101: An Introduction to Transition for Parents and Families - Piedmont Room

Leah Erwin, , Transition Alliance of SC
Jennifer Wall, Transition Alliance of SC

Have you heard the term “Transition” for your student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) but weren’t sure what it meant? Wondering how to prepare for the discussion about post-secondary considerations (i.e. transition/life after high school!) during the next IEP meeting? Join us as Leah Erwin and Jennifer Wall with the Transition Alliance of South Carolina walk us through this process and leave with helpful resources related to Transition planning.