Annual Convention

Call for Speakers

The 2020 NDSC Annual Convention will take place June 25-28 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, LA.

The NDSC Convention is the largest event of its kind attracting more than 3,500 participants worldwide. Workshops will take place Friday, June 26, Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28. Only speakers who are available to present on all three days should apply. Special consideration when scheduling will be given to professionals attending the DS-MIG Annual Symposium on Friday, June 26.

The General Conference and Y&A Conference workshop proposal deadline has passed.  Thank you to all who submitted.

The Convention Planning Committee (CPC) is seeking proposals for general convention workshops geared toward parents, family members, and professionals.  The Youth & Adults Conference Team is looking for engaging self-advocates (individuals with DS age 15 and older) to share their talents, experiences, and perspectives with their peers.  The NDSC receives more proposals than can be accommodated. Due to space and balance in programming, proposals are not guaranteed and are subject to approval by the CPC or Y&A Team. Notifications of selection will be made via email by late-February.

Workshop speakers who are selected will be responsible for securing their own travel and hotel arrangements at their own expense. Honoraria or speaker fees are not available. This policy has allowed the NDSC to keep registration fees affordable and make the convention accessible to all.

See below for additional tips and suggestions, as well as the links to submission forms.

General Conference Workshops

Tips for Getting Your Proposal Noticed

General Conference workshop sessions are 90 minutes in length, including time for Q&A.  When drafting your proposal, you should consider the following criteria:

  • Is the material research-based, accurate and up-to-date?
  • Will my presentation provide strategies or how-to’s for attendees to take and use at home?
  • Is my presentation interactive or engaging?
  • Is the topic relevant and needed?
  • Am I using people-first language?
  • Will my presentation appeal to the audience? While there are some professionals, most of our attendees are parents, siblings, grandparents and other caregivers.
  • Is this topic motivating or inspiring?

Proposals will only be accepted via the online form from the NDSC website.  Speakers will not be paid an honorarium or reimbursed for travel expenses. However, General Convention speakers will receive a complimentary registration to the general convention.  One individual may submit multiple proposals for consideration. Each topic must be submitted separately and include all of the required fields.  If there are multiple speakers for one workshop, the lead speaker should complete the “Workshop Proposal Form” and list additional speakers and their information in the fields provided.  Incomplete, late, or incorrectly submitted proposals will not be considered.

  • Be creative with your workshop title and abstract. Abstracts that are more than 10 sentences will likely be edited if accepted and try not to include words that parents cannot pronounce or understand. Your primary audience will be moms and dads, so draft copy that they can relate to!
  • Include an outline of your workshop. It is helpful for the CPC to have an outline to reference when comparing workshops in each topic area.
  • If you have presented before, be sure to refresh your materials.  More than 1/3 of our attendees are repeat customers.

For questions about General Conference workshop proposals, please contact NDSC Convention Director, Sarah Hill –

Y&A Conference Workshops & Spotlight Presentations

The Youth & Adult (Y&A) Conference Team is seeking proposals to create an engaging, educational and enlightening program for self-advocates (individuals 15 and older with DS) attending the Y&A Conference. The Y&A Conference will convene more than 350 individuals with DS during the NDSC Annual Convention.

Do you have a special skill you have learned or want to learn that you could share?  Maybe you have a new dance move you have learned or perfected?  How about leading a group in a craft, activity or game?  Do you have an accomplishment that would be inspirational for your peers to hear about?

There are 2 types of presentations:

  • 45-minute Workshop – This is a 45-minute session that will be presented one to three times, each to a small group of about 40 self-advocate attendees. This could be an educational piece with an activity, a hands-on craft or activity, or a movement activity. A support person will need to be identified that will provide support both in preparing and presenting the workshop.
  • 5-minute Spotlight Presentation with Q&A – This is a roughly 5-minute presentation given to an audience of individuals with DS followed by a period of time for questions and answers. Support Team members will be on hand to help both with understanding the question being asked and formulating an answer as needed. The audience size will range from 40 to 400. Powerpoints or other visual aids as part of the presentation are encouraged.

All presentations will be given on Saturday, between 9am and 5pm. Your flexibility in presentation time is essential to building a dynamic conference program. Audio Visual equipment will be provided as needed (LCD projector and screen, PC laptop, microphone.) All other supplies are the responsibility of the presenter. It is the expectation of the Y&A Conference Team that all self-advocate speakers will register for and participate in the Y&A Conference. All presenters are responsible for their travel and hotel expenses.

All Y&A proposals must be received no later than Friday, January 31, 2020, for full consideration by the Y&A Conference Team. The team will review all proposals and select presentations as they best fit within the program. Everyone who submits a proposal will be contacted by late-February as to how their proposal can be included in the conference.

For questions about Youth & Adult conference proposals please contact NDSC Convention Coordinator, Emily Cullars –

Y&A Conference speakers can submit their proposals here.