Skip to main content

Live Stream on Tuesdays from 12:30pm-1:30pm 

The Focus on Family and Disability Seminar Series is a forum to educate diverse audiences about current issues, policies, research, and evidence-based approaches in health, education, and disability to improve outcomes for children with disabilities/special needs and their families. Target audience includes graduate students, faculty, service providers, community stakeholders, and family members. 


Download flyer Click here to register




March 9, 2021Parenting a Child of Color on the Autism Spectrum

Danyale Sturdivant, MSSW, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Parent Advocate

In this highly personal narrative, the presenter, a mother of a child with autism and a licensed clinical social worker, describes her own journey of adjustment to the reality of her child’s autism.


April 13, 2021Supportive Care Needs of Parents and Caregivers of Children who have Rare Diseases

Sharon King, President, Taylor’s Tale Public Charity and Grassroots Organization

As a parent of a child with a rare disease, Sharon King has lived experience with the role of caregiver. Join in on this presentation to understand what resources are available for parents and caregivers and learn how to improve access to the resources.



Past Programs


September 8, 2020Navigating special education in light of COVID-19

Sherry H. Thomas, Director | Exceptional Children Division

Learn everything parents with children who have disabilities need to know now about public education during COVID-19! The director of the Exceptional Children’s Division at the NC Dept. of Public Instruction will share guidance, tools, and resources to support special education students and to keep parents informed and updated.


October 13, 2020Let’s Get Innovative: Cultivating a movement for engagement, empowerment, and community inclusion

Kate Barrow, Community Engagement Specialist

Stacey Harward, BSW, Community Engagement Specialist

North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Use Services

This session aims to help reframe the perspective of community members to a rights-based model, that avoids tokenism, increases inclusion and participation, and mobilizes for change that enrich the lives of all people.


November 10, 2020Infant and Early Child Mental Health

Mary Wise, LCSW, Bilingual Clinician | Center for Child and Family Health, Duke University

Mary will explore the impact of trauma and adversity on young children, from infancy through preschool age.


December 8, 2020Finding the Supports You Need — Panel Presentation

Panelists: Abbie Szymanski, NCCARE 360 | Carol Cranford, Family Support Network of North Carolina | Ginger Wilder, Care Management for At Risk Children (CMARC)

This panel discussion will highlight services and resources available to families with children who have special needs during COVID-19 and beyond.


January 12, 2021Diversity in Neurodivergence: Girls and Women with Autism

Caroline Garrett, MSW, Clinical Social Worker, Autism Self-Advocate

This seminar provides participants with an overview of autism in girls and women, including an introduction to the neurodiversity paradigm and identity-first language. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss successes and challenges in their fields and collaborate on methods to improve gender-competent care for individuals with autism.


February 9, 2021Connections Matter: Building caring connections to improve resiliency

Taylor McDonald, Partnership Engagement Manager | Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina

Taylor will be summarizing information on linking early brain development, trauma, resilience and community, connections and resources and will instruct participants how to leverage this campaign in your local community.