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Convention Insider ~ June 3, 2019

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Tuesday, June 4th is the last day to pre-register for the 2019 NDSC Convention. Registration will re-open onsite at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh Thursday, June 27th at 4:00 PM. Register now and skip the lines on-site. If you have already registered, please review your email confirmation to ensure you have a conference listed for each person in your family attending and have registered or purchased all optional add-ons, such as the Evening of Champions tickets, t-shirts, flash drives, etc. Changes or additions to existing registrations can be done by calling the NDSC Center at 770-604-9500 but must be done by 5:00 PM, June 4th.

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Action Alert – Equal Pay for People with Disabilities

ACTION ALERT:
Comment Today to Support Equal Pay for People with Disabilities!

This week the Department of Labor announced its new website, “the Section 14(c) National Online Dialogue.” The purpose of the website is to collect comments from the public about the impact of paying subminimum wages to people with disabilities under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers with 14(c) certificates can legally pay people with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage, often times pennies on the dollar. Section 14(c) certificates are typically used in “sheltered workshops,” where people with disabilities are segregated from the broader community. The vast majority of disability advocates view Section 14(c) (created in 1938) as outdated, discriminatory, and reinforcing a life of poverty, segregation, and dependency on public support for people with disabilities. It is critical that you make your voice heard!

Input from people with disabilities, families, employment providers and employers is important. Share your perspective online here. COMMENT DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO FRIDAY JUNE 21,

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Policy & Advocacy Newsline ~ May 21, 2019

Transformation to Competitive Employment Act

Great news – the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (H.R. 873/S.260) was featured at a hearing entitled “Eliminating Barriers to Employment: Opening Doors to Opportunity” in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 21 before the full Education & Labor Committee. This is a very positive step towards promoting awareness of this bill and generating support for it, but we need YOUR help to get more cosponsors onto this bill so that it can continue to advance! Please contact your Members of Congress through this NDSC Action Alert and let’s build support for this bill.

Introduced in the Senate by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and in the House by Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), this bipartisan legislation will address barriers to employment and expand opportunities for competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities while phasing out subminimum wage certificates under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act over a six-year period. In addition, for those who choose not to work, work part-time, or for whom their disabilities make it too difficult to maintain work in a competitive integrated setting, this bill includes individualized wraparound services that provide them with opportunities for meaningful training and social activities in the community.

You can find a two-pager about this bill and additional resources on the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination website. For information about Competitive Integrated Employment, please see this new website developed with our partners in the newly formed Coalition to Advance Competitive Integrated Employment. Please #WorkWithUs and build more opportunities for competitive integrated employment!

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Convention Insider ~ May 15, 2019

Best Value Prices End This Friday, May 17th

Are you planning to attend NDSC’s giant family reunion in Pittsburgh, June 27 – 30?

Register now and take advantage of best value prices before they end this Friday, May 17th.

This is also the last day to register for the Youth & Adults and Brothers & Sisters Conferences.

Best Value Pricing w right border

There are a few remaining spots in Kids’ Camp Friday, June 28th! If you were hoping to attend a pre-conference session this is a great chance to spend 4 hours diving deep into a topic while we provide a safe, structured, and fun environment for your child. Kids’ Camp is available for children with Down syndrome – ages six months to 14 years old, and their siblings – ages six months to rising 3rd graders. (Rising 4th graders and older may register for the Brothers & Sisters Conference.)

For a complete list of convention fees and pricing deadlines visit our website.

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My Advocacy Journey…and My Mission to Help You on Yours

Heather Sachs, NDSC Policy & Advocacy Director

Thirteen years ago, my husband and I were given the news that so many of you have also heard – your baby has Down syndrome. Ours was a delivery room diagnosis (and unfortunately not delivered in a sensitive way), and we were left in complete shock and confusion. We were expecting a healthy baby girl and didn’t even really know what Down syndrome was, and our lives were suddenly placed on a completely unanticipated and unclear path.

Heather and daugther with DS

With the support of national organizations like NDSC and our local Down syndrome group, we began to adjust to our new reality. We plunged into the world of heart surgery, early intervention, private therapies and we started learning about the potential personal and systemic challenges that our daughter could face.

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Convention Insider ~ May 1, 2019

NDSC Wants to See You in Pittsburgh!

 
 
 Blonde girl w pink top

It’s been nearly 20 years since the NDSC convention last met in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and we can’t wait to come back! If you are planning to attend the convention June 27-30 the time to register is now! Best Value Pricing ends May 17th and we have limited space left in Kids’ Camp, Youth & Adults Conference, and Brothers & Sisters Conference.  If you are still trying to decide if you will be attending this year’s convention check out the amazing workshop schedule or the exclusive specialty tracks we have planned. The convention is not just about learning, it’s about celebrating too. We have two awesome dances planned and many networking opportunities for families to meet and interact. To see a glimpse of what the NDSC Convention is about, you can watch a short convention video then make plans to be a part of what many call a “life-changing” weekend. Register Now!

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Policy & Advocacy Newsline ~ April 23, 2019

Transformation to Competitive Employment Act

NDSC continues to advocate for the passage of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (H.R. 873/S.260) and we need YOUR help! Introduced in the Senate by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and in the House by Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), this bipartisan legislation will address barriers to employment and expand opportunities for competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities while phasing out subminimum wage certificates under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act over a six-year period. View a two-pager about this bill on the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination website.

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NDSC E-News ~ April 2019

NDSC’s Mission Moment

with Executive Director David Tolleson 

Spring has sprung, which means we’re entering the homestretch leading to this year’s NDSC Annual Convention in family-friendly Pittsburgh!  For those of you who have attended before, you know that there’s nothing quite like the NDSC Convention. Nowhere else in the world can you access as many world-class speakers and as much information in person as you can at the NDSC Convention.  Included in your registration are additional free learning opportunities that you can only access this one weekend of the year: the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Research and Medical Roundtable; the LuMInd IDSC Foundation Research Rally; the NDSC Advocacy Training Boot Camp; the Film Festival; Exhibit Hall; and, this year’s inaugural College Fair.

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Advocacy Training Boot Camp – Jawanda and Rachel Mast

My name is Jawanda Mast. Since my daughter Rachel was born with Down syndrome almost 20 years ago, I have been involved in advocating on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities and their families. I have had some remarkable opportunities to tell our story and have seen our story impact change. My daughter Rachel is 19 years old, and in her first semester of college. She is in the Bear POWER program at Missouri State University. She has been doing advocacy since she was a toddler. Recently, I shared with her that we would be a part of the National Down Syndrome Congress Advocacy Training Boot Camp this year. The discussion that followed was kind of funny and also on point.

Jawanda: Rachel, in June we are going to the National Down Syndrome Congress again.
Rachel: Yah. I am so excited to go back to the Youth and Adults conference. I will see my friends and dance. It is so much fun.
Jawanda: We are also attending the Advocacy Training Boot Camp. I am helping coordinate. Do you want to help?
Rachel: Yes! I will wear my pink cowboy boots?
Jawanda: Well, you can wear your pink cowboy boots but why?

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2019 Convention Insider ~ April 17

Pittsburgh Convention Center

Register for Pittsburgh Convention Today!

If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time to take advantage of best value pricing and be part of what some call a “life-changing” experience. Limited space is available in all programs including Youth & Adult, Brothers & Sisters, and Kids’ Camp. Still not sure if the convention is right for you and your family? Check out the amazing workshop schedule or the exclusive specialty tracks we are planning just for you. If you have completed your registration and you want to add a pre-conference session, Evening of Champions tickets, 2019 convention t-shirts, or would like to purchase workshop recordings, call the NDSC office at (800) 232-6372- we will be happy to assist you.

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