Where in the world is the next NDSC Convention?
JW Marriott Grande Lakes, Orlando, Florida: July 21-24, 2016!
There’s no better family destination in the world than Orlando! Whether it’s the Walt Disney World© Resort, Universal Orlando® and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, SeaWorld, Kennedy Space Center, fabulous beaches or scores of other one-of-a-kind attractions, it’s all waiting for you in Central Florida. On top of that, our convention is based at two breathtaking resorts – the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes! Featuring a 24,000 square foot lazy river pool, these adjacent hotels offer your family over-the-top luxury at a great value. Best of all, you get this wonderful family vacation destination AND the world’s largest and best gathering of people with Down syndrome all rolled into one. Plan now to join us in Orlando!
What’s the NDSC Annual Convention all about?
Each year, thousands of people from across the globe attend the National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention. For most, it’s to hear the latest information from world-renowned experts. For others, it’s a great vacation. But for nearly all, there’s the one-of-a-kind NDSC family reunion feeling that permeates the convention weekend.
Take a peek at the Convention Brochure and the Convention-At-A-Glance for an overview of what the weekend offers.
- General Convention Program
- The General Convention is designed for parents, family members, caregivers and professionals. It kicks off with a series of informal Sharing Sessions facilitated by family members, that allow those impacted by Down syndrome to meet peers and share joys, concerns and strategies with others. Some sessions are also topic-specific. On Friday evening, the first of two plenary sessions officially launch the weekend’s events. Plenary sessions feature inspirational Keynote Presentations by self-advocates and advocates in the Down syndrome community who present on topics of broad interest. The General Convention also consists of six Workshop cycles. Each cycle offers a selection of 90-minute workshops that registrants attended based on their interest. These interactive workshops are presented by the experts – from those who pioneer in early childhood communication, to those who redefine the K-12 classroom and those on the frontier of adult challenges.
The NDSC cares deeply about serving the needs of all families, including those with loved ones with co-occurring autism, autism-like behaviors, or complex needs. In collaboration with the DS-Autism Connections, the NDSC offers the DS-ASD Track, a specifically-designed workshops track to meet the needs of these families. Experts in the field of DS-ASD present on important issues and are available to answer questions and provide much-needed support.
The role of a brother or sister changes dramatically as parents age. The Adult Sibling Track of workshops is designed to give adult siblings the tools they will need to support their sibling. Packed with experts in financial planning, adult transition, employment and mental health, coupled with a few networking opportunities, adult sibs leave feeling prepared, supported and empowered.
An entertaining component of the General Convention is the Film Festival. Taking place during the workshop cycles, the Film Festival is an attendee’s opportunity to view the best films, film clips and documentaries featuring individuals with Down syndrome.
- Social Events and Awards Banquet
Friday – Open Reception and 321 Dance™
Following our Opening Plenary Session Friday, we move into the Opening Reception and the 321 Dance™! It is an evening filled with energy and excitement. The Opening Reception included a cash bar and complimentary desserts. Here families from around the globe gathered to begin an exciting weekend together. The night also hosts our 321 Dance™ – a celebration of all the superheros in our lives. So don’t forget your superhero accessories and imagine the possibilities!
Saturday – Awards Banquet and Dance
The Banquet is sold out.
On Saturday evening, we host our traditional Awards Banquet to honor outstanding achievements in the Down syndrome community in various categories. This is a ticketed event, which includes a plated dinner and the awards presentation. Immediately following the banquet, there is an awesome opportunity for all attendees to dance the night away. There is no cost to attend the dance. All registered attendees are welcome.
- Research & Medical Care Roundtable
Research and Medical Care Roundtable:
What Parents, Self-advocates and Caregivers Should Know
Thursday, July 21, 2016
1:00 – 5:00 pm
JW Marriott Grande Lakes
Co-organized with the NDSC, the Global Roundtable is a free benefit for registered NDSC convention attendees. This seminar features renowned scientists and medical professionals. Topics include Down syndrome and cancer, autoimmune disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Lunch and a gift bag are included. Seating is limited.
Your Convention Registration ID will be required to register.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is childcare provided during the convention?Due to insurance provisions, the NDSC does not provide childcare during the convention.
- What should I do with my kids while I attend the convention?Kids’ Camp is available for children with Down syndrome from the ages of six months to 14 years old and their siblings ages six months to rising 3rd graders (Rising 4th graders may register for the Brothers & Sisters Conference.) There are 5 separate camp sessions offered during the convention. The cost for each session is $40 per child. There is a 10% discount for families registering multiple children.
- Are children allowed in the workshops?While it is not ideal or recommended, children are permitted into workshops. Parents who attend with their small children are asked to be respectful of the audience by keeping noise and distractions to a minimum. Also in workshops where space is limited, children must sit on their parent’s lap or on the floor to allow registered attendees a seat.
- Can relatives coming to help with child care attend the convention?Yes, if they register to attend the convention.
- Is there something planned for my self-advocate while I attend a pre-conference?The Youth and Adults Conference does not begin until late afternoon; however, the Friendship Club Open House is held from 9-12 and 1-2:30 on Friday. This is an opportunity for individuals with DS ages 15 and up to stop by and meet new friends. This is not a volunteer-supported event so individuals will high support needs must be accompanied by an adult.
- Can I bring my baby to the banquet?Yes. If your baby will require a highchair, seat or space at the table then you must purchase a child ticket.
- What is the dress code for the banquet?Actually, there’s not one. Some attendees will come in suits and dresses, while others prefer something a bit more casual, such as slacks for men and sun dresses for women.
- Can I bring my whole family to the dance on Friday night?All registered attendees are invited to the dance and opening reception.
- Why can't my very mature 14-year-old attend the Y&A conference?The minimum age to participate in the Y&A Conference is 15. From past experience, we have found this to be the cut off that allows the most attendees to benefit from our program.
- Why can't we register our self-advocate for the Y&A conference on-site?Registration is not accepted on-site for the Youth & Adults Conference due to the extensive planning required to support the needs of each individual attendee.
- Can I register for the Brothers and Sisters conference at the convention?No, due to space, logistics and the off-site trip, all attendees must register prior to the deadline.
- Can you make an exception for my 3rd grader to attend the B&S conference?No, the minimum grade level to attend the B&S Conference is students entering the 4th grade. From past experience, we have found this to be the cut off that allows the most attendees to benefit from our program.
- Why are the Friday pre-conference sessions not included in the general registration?There are additional costs to bring in the high level speakers for a 4.5 hour session. Those additional costs are not absorbed by the general registration fee; therefore, an additional charge is applied to only the individuals interested in participating.
- How can I get copies of the information presented in the pre-conference sessions?Only those registered for the pre-conference sessions are eligible to receive the handouts.
- Can I attend more than one pre-conference?No, all pre-conferences take place at the same time; therefore, you can only register for one session.
- I want to attend 2 pre-conferences. How do I decide?A description of the pre-conference sessions, as well as the biography for each presenter, is available on the NDSC website to help you decide which pre-conference is the best for you.
- Can I switch pre-conferences after I have registered?Yes, you can switch to another pre-conference session as long as it is prior to the registration deadline and there is space available. Changes are not permitted after the registration deadline or onsite.
- Are the pre-conference sessions included in the conference recordings? No. Why not? Pre-conferences require separate registration; therefore, all materials and recordings are the sole benefit of attending.
- What time should I arrive on Friday if I am not attending a pre-conference?We recommend arriving before or around noon so you will be able to register, explore the exhibit floor, take in a Sharing Session and eat dinner prior to the Opening General Session.
- Can I buy a banquet ticket during the convention?No. Tickets must be purchased before the registration deadline to accommodate the banquet management deadline.
- When will I get access to the conference recordings?Conference recordings will be available to view approximately two weeks after the convention.
- Can speakers see or evaluate my child?Families interested in professional evaluations and therapeutic services should make arrangements directly with the professional prior to or after the conference.
- How can I get CEU credits?The NDSC provides a packet of materials that you can submit to your local accrediting organization. These packets are available at the NDSC table in the registration area.
- Can we register as a group?No. Registration is set up for individuals for families living at the same address.
- Do I have to pay membership dues if I am already a member of my local DSA?Yes. The NDSC and your local affiliate are separate organizations and require separate membership dues.
- Is childcare provided during the convention?
- General Convention Resources
- Convention Brochure Convention-At-A-Glance Registration Fees Keynote Presentations Workshop Schedule Sharing Sessions Co-occuring DS and Austism Spectrum Disorder Track Souvenir Journal Messaging Application GC-Workshop Planner