Please Give A Little Something Extra to the
NDSC for the New Year
As we step into the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, and we prepare for the New Year, the National Down Syndrome Congress is hoping for “A little something extra” from you, our generous donors, for 2020!
NDSC Hosts Policy Event in Washington, D.C. in Collaboration with American University Law School
On Monday, November 4, 2019, the NDSC Policy Team; comprised of Heather Sachs, Ricki Sabia, Stephanie Smith Lee, and Lauren Camp Gates in collaboration with American University Washington College of Law, hosted an event entitled “It’s Never Too Early to Prepare: A Discussion of Pathways to Workforce Readiness and Employment.” During this event, attended by nearly 100 people, there were two panel discussions about the laws and policies that successfully prepare students for the transition to competitive integrated employment from early school age through adulthood.
I do love autumn. The changing of the leaves, the crisp sunny days, football games, and the beginning of the holiday season with the choirs and carols, food, lights, and decorations. Those once a year television specials and memories of holidays past with loved ones, some still here and some who have moved on.
Unfortunately, it always seems that we rush through fall to get to December (or at least the retailers’ rush to get us there), and sometimes Thanksgiving gets short shrift. It’s not nearly as flashy as other holidays. It’s quiet and reflective. However, I think that now – perhaps more than ever – it’s wise to stop and think about what we’re thankful for.
Let’s Pass the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act!
October is not only Down Syndrome Awareness Month; it is alsoNational Disability Employment Awareness Month. Let’s cap off the month by calling members of Congress to ask them to support real work for real pay for people for disabilities. NDSC is participating in a National Call-In Day on October 30, and we need your help. We need to build more support for this bill and are asking you to send emails and make phone calls to get more cosponsors for the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (TCEA)
NDSC has been linked to Down Syndrome Awareness Month literally since the day it was established. In 1984, when President Reagan signed the proclamation creating Down Syndrome Awareness Month, NDSC’s Executive Director and President were in the Oval Office. Both before and since, NDSC has worked to educate the general public, healthcare professionals, educators, and elected officials about what it really means to have Down syndrome in contemporary America.
Recently, our staff traveled to New Orleans to begin preparations for next year’s NDSC Convention, June 25-28. Hosted in one of America’s most unique locations, this year’s event looks to be one of our most memorable “family reunions” with a New Orleans second line parade; free admission to The Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Zoo, and the Insectarium for all children ages 2-12, with half-price admission for guests age 13 and over; and, free admission to New Orleans City Park and Storyland Theme Park, with unlimited ride wristbands for the first 3,000 guests!
Autism CARES Act Passes Senate and Heads to White House!
Great news! On September 19, 2019, the Autism CARES Act of 2019 (H.R. 1058) passed the Senate unanimously and now heads to the President’s desk for signature. Championed by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) in the House and Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the bill provides $1.8 billion over five years and will authorize autism-related programs at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Mission Moment With NDSC Executive Director, David Tolleson
For most of the country, August means back to school. Because of that, it’s natural to focus on why inclusion is so important. Regardless of how many chromosomes we have, we all do better when we’re included – in school, work, faith communities, and social settings. And it’s not just individuals who benefit. Our society becomes stronger when everyone is included, when everyone can contribute based on their gifts, and when we can all celebrate both our commonalities and differences.
Autism CARES Act: Advocacy Needed Now for Reauthorization!
The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (also known as the Autism CARES Act) will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, if it is not renewed (reauthorized) by Congress by then. The current Autism CARES Act (S. 427/H.R. 1058) provides $260 million annually to autism research, surveillance, and education programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). These programs benefit all people with developmental disabilities, including all people with Down syndrome and especially the approximately 18% of people with Down syndrome who have a co-occurrence of autism.