NDSC 51st Annual Convention - July 20-23, 2023

Call for Speakers

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 Speaker Timeline

Call for speakers opens: October 3, 2022
Proposal submission deadline: December 9, 2022
Committee selections completed: January 13, 2023
Speakers notified: February 21, 2023
Speaker presentation materials due: June 12, 2023
     Email to erin@ndsccenter.org
Dates of Conference: July 20-23, 2023

Youth & Adults Speaker Timeline

Call for speakers opens: October 3, 2022
Proposal submission deadline: January 31, 2023
The Y&A Speaker Proposal Deadline has been extended! We are accepting proposals on all topics. Remember that your proposal is a jumping off point & does not have to be your presentation in it’s final format! Submit yours today!
Speakers notified: February 20, 2023
Deadline to accept speaker position: March 3, 2023
Speaker materials due: June 9, 2023
Dates of Conference: July 20-23, 2023

General Conference Workshops

The application for 2023 General Conference Speakers has closed.

General Conference Presentation Formats

The 2023 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, keep the following criteria in mind:

  • 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.

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

Proposal Submission Checklist

Youth & Adults Conference (Y&A) Conference Workshops

Apply to be a Youth & Adults Conference Speaker

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.

All applicants will be applying for a 45-minute workshop.

  • 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.

Proposed Workshop Topics for 2023:

  • 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, July 22, 2023, 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 January 31, 2023, 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


Haga clic aquí para la convocatoria de oradores en español. (Click here for the Call for Speakers in Spanish)