NDSC 50th Annual Convention - June 23-26, 2022

Call for Speakers

The Call for Speakers for the 2022 50th Annual NDSC Convention in New Orleans is now open.

  • General Conference submissions are due on November 1, 2021
  • Youth & Adult Conference submissions are due on December 1, 2021

Each year, thousands of people from across the globe attend the NDSC Annual Convention. For most, it’s to hear the latest information from world-renowned experts. For others, it’s a great vacation. However, for nearly all, it is the one-of-a-kind NDSC “giant family reunion” feeling that permeates the convention weekend that brings them back year after year.

The convention week is comprised of several different conferences and programs and is designed for PARENTS and other family members, SELF-ADVOCATES (individuals with Down syndrome), PROFESSIONALS, and community ADVOCATES.

General Conference Workshops

Download General Conference Submission Info and Style Guide

Submit General Conference Proposal

General Conference Presentation Formats

The 2022 general conference will be comprised of a combination of deep dive presentations, interactive workshops, and panel discussions. Please identify your format within your proposal submission.

Format Definitions:

  • Deep Dive Presentation:  3-hour intensive, single session with a live presentation, allowing time for questions. (Limited Availability)
  • Interactive Workshop: 90-minute single session with a live audience, engaging delivery, including time for questions.
  • Panel Discussion: 90-minute single session, moderator-led panel presentation developed by one lead presenter who assembles 4-6 experts for targeted, topic-driven dialogue. Panel Leader must be identified and only the leader will receive communications from the NDSC convention staff.

How Proposals are Selected – Scoring Criteria

When developing the general conference curriculum, our goal is to provide a balanced program that meets the variety of skills and interests of the attendees and is presented by speakers of the highest quality who represent the diversity of the NDSC membership.  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.

Proposals are reviewed and selected based on the completeness and clarity of your Call for Speakers Submission, relevance of the topic to our mission, and adherence to the General Conference Speaker Proposal Submission Information and Style Guide. Submissions are selected by the NDSC Convention Planning Committee.

Proposal Submission Checklist

  • Review and adherence to the General Conference Speaker Submission Style Guide.
  • Submission of the Call for Speakers Form on the NDSC Website by November 1st.
  • Email letter of interest to: Sarah Hill, Convention Director at sarah@ndsccenter.org AND Emily Cullars, Convention Coordinator at emily@ndsccenter.org

Timeline Review

Call for speakers opens: August 31, 2021
Proposal submission deadline: November 1, 2021
Committee selections completed: December 30, 2021
Speakers notified: January 2022
Signed speaker contracts due: February 14, 2022
Speaker presentation materials due: May 2, 2022
Dates of Conference: June 23-26, 2022

Y&A Conference Workshops

The Youth & Adult (Y&A) Conference Team is seeking proposals to build an engaging, educational and enlightening program for self-advocates (individuals 15 and older with DS) attending the Y&A Conference. This year, the Y&A Team has curated a list of workshop topics that we would like to incorporate into the conference. The Y&A Conference will convene more than 350 individuals with DS during the NDSC Annual Convention. The workshop topics and spinoff ideas are listed below.

Do you have a special skill you have learned and want to lead a workshop teaching others about it?  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? Are you comfortable with sharing your experiences with others in hopes that they gain new knowledge from it? These are all things that we look for when considering proposals for a workshop or spotlight presentation.

There are 2 types of presentations during the Y&A Conference:

  • 45-minute Workshop – This is a 45-minute session that will be presented one to three times (once per rotation), 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 throughout the process – both in preparing and presenting the workshop. The Y&A Team would like for each workshop to provide handouts to attendees as additional resources following the conference’s conclusion.
  • 15-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 with both understanding the question being asked and formulating an answer as needed. The audience size will range from 40 to 400. PowerPoint or other visual aids as part of the presentation are encouraged.

Proposed Workshop Topics for 2022:

  • Marriage & Dating – Communication skills, staying connected despite the distance, etc.
  • Aging – Exercise for aging adults with DS, what to expect as you age, etc.
  • Healthy Habits – Cooking, exercise, mental fitness, etc.
  • Stress Relief / Mental Health – Journaling, mindfulness, learning new hobbies, etc.
  • Self-Protection / Safety – Internet safety, self-protection basics, etc.
  • Career Advice – Professionalism, Interviewing Skills, Resume Building, Job Applications, etc.
  • Independency – Living alone/with parents, living independently, making new friends, etc.
  • Voting & Advocacy – Voter registration, Knowing your rights, etc.
  • Cell Phone Use – Social Media, Scheduling, etc.

Other educational topic proposals will be considered as well. Incomplete, late, or incorrectly submitted proposals will not be considered.

All presentations will be given on Saturday, June 25, 2022, between 9 AM and 5 PM. Your flexibility in presentation time is essential to building a dynamic conference program and you must be able to present in any workshop cycle before submitting a proposal. 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 Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 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. To secure your position in the NDSC Y&A Conference, the submitter and their support person must sign the Speaker Guidelines, which will be sent by Emily Carswell along with your acceptance correspondence.

For questions about Youth & Adult conference proposals, please contact NDSC Convention Coordinator, Emily Carswell – emily@NDSCcenter.org

Submit your Y&A Speaker Proposal Here