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.
The 43rd Annual NDSC Convention will be taking place on June 25-28, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Join us this summer where the views are breathtaking and the history is rich. This is your opportunity to reach Beyond All Limits! The NDSC Convention includes inspiring plenary sessions, more than 60 topic-specific workshops, sharing sessions, a film festival, an exhibit floor, social events, networking, dances, and so much more!
- PARENTS AND PROFESSIONALS: Learn from the best as internationally know experts come to Phoenix to share their knowledge and help you envision a world beyond expectations.
- SELF-ADVOCATES: Join 300 individuals with DS from across the country to learn, share, become empowered and have an amazing time!
- SIBLINGS: Share and learn alongside your peers, going beyond your fears and uncertainties.
Come and enjoy the riches of Down syndrome and look Beyond All Limits!
- 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.
The first of two Plenary Sessions officially launches the weekend 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 may attend based on their interest. These interactive workshops are provided by the experts – from those who pioneered in early childhood communication, to those who redefined the K-12 classroom and are 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 will offer the DS-ASD Track, a specifically-designed workshops track to meet the needs of these families. Experts in the field of DS-ASD will present on important issues and will be 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 will 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.
See the Convention at a Glance for a more detailed breakdown of the schedule.
- Social Events and Awards Banquet
Wednesday – Circus Extreme
Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey Circles is in town Wednesday, June 24 at 7:00pm.
Discounted pricing for NDSC members. Deadline to purchase tickets is June 18th.
Thursday – Happy Hour at the Blue Martini
Join us for a Happy Hour on Thursday, June 25th from 4:30 – 7:30pm at the Blue Martini.
All Proceeds go to the NDSC
Blue Martini Flier
Friday – Open Reception and Teen/Adult Dance
Following our Opening Plenary Session on Friday, we move into the Opening Reception and the Teen & Adult Dance! It is an evening filled with energy and excitement. In the Grand Saguaro Foyer and East Ballroom, the Opening Reception is open to all and includes a cash bar and complimentary desserts. Here families from around the globe gather to begin an exciting weekend. Teens and adults with and without DS will have the opportunity to kick up their heels at their own dance in the Grand Saguaro Ballroom North/South.
Saturday – Awards Banquet and 321 Dance
On Saturday evening, we will 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 will be an awesome opportunity for all attendees to dance the night away at the 321 Dance™!Awards Banquet Menu
The 321 Dance™ puts the FUN in fundraising! Rock the convention dance floor while showing your support for the NDSC and its mission. There is no cost to participate in the 321 Dance™ and everyone of all ages is invited. Begin your fundraising, create a team, join a team, or just donate.
- GDSF Research & Medical Care Roundtable
- The Global Down Syndrome Foundation will be hosting a Research & Medical Care Roundtable:
Alzheimer’s Disease and Down Syndrome – What Parents and Caregivers Should Know
Thursday, June 25 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Co-organized with the NDSC at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge, this roundtable will focus on DS and Alzhiemer’s disease and feature renowned scientists and medical professionals. Topics will include a review of the promising research including clinical trials, when a child or adult with DS should get tested, standards of medical care, advocacy, and support.
This is a free benefit for all registered attendees of the NDSC Convention.
Seating is limited. You must register to reserve your spot.
- Our Sponsors
- Platinum Sponsors
- Silver Sponsors
- Bronze Sponsors
- Patron SponsorsThe Arc of Acadiana
Down Syndrome Affiliate in Action
Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota
Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & Mid-south
LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation
Reece’s Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption Foundation
Who’s the Slow Learner
- General Information Resources
- Convention-At-A-Glance 2015 Brochure Plenary Session Keynotes Sharing Sessions Workshop Listing DS-ASD Workshop Track Adult Sibs Workshop Track
- 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?Children 6 months to 11 years (14 years for individuals with DS) are eligible to register for the Kids’ Camp. There are 5 separate camp sessions offered during the convention. The cost for each session is $30 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. You will access the recordings from your user account on the convention registration system. The recordings will be active until July 2017.
- 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.
- 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?