After careful consideration, and in response to guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NDSC Board of Directors and staff have made the difficult decision to cancel the 48th Annual NDSC Convention, scheduled June 25-28, 2020, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, due to risks associated with COVID-19.
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.
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.
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.
NDSC Wants to See You in Pittsburgh!
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!
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.
Gorgeous and Spacious Omni William Penn Hotel – Still Available
The Omni William Penn Hotel is a premier Pittsburgh hotel and a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide, which is dedicated to promoting heritage and cultural travel to prestigious historic treasures. Registration for the NDSC 47th Annual Convention just opened this week and many families are excited about being in Pittsburgh this June 27th – 30th for the one-of-a-kind NDSC “giant family reunion” and to discover all that Pittsburgh has to offer. Recently named one of the “Best Places to Travel”, Pittsburgh offers award-winning restaurants, outstanding family attractions, and a vibrant downtown rich in history.
We are thrilled to have arranged a special rate at the historic Omni William Penn Hotel for convention attendees. If you have not yet made reservations for your stay in Pittsburgh, you will want to check out the Omni William Penn Hotel and register via the link provided upon completion of your NDSC Convention registration. This historic hotel, just a short 2 block walk from the convention center, has spacious rooms available at the discounted convention rate of $159 per night and a shuttle that will run between the hotel and the convention center during all convention hours. Book your accommodations soon, as our room block is filling quickly.
Registration Opens on March 25! Are you Ready?
Important Information Before You Register
As the opening of registration approaches, we hope that you will take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the registration system. We have prepared a video tutorial and a list of registration tips to help you have a great registration experience!
Attending a Pre-Conference session gives you the chance to spend four hours digging deep into one specific topic. The nine session choices, presented by nationally known speakers, are structured to include content that is research-based, shares best practices, and provides proven “how to” strategies. All sessions will include time for Q & A. Pre-Conference sessions require an additional charge during registration.
Pre-Conference Spotlight – Building Bridges: A Holistic Approach to Transition
A multidisciplinary team of experts from the key areas of transition including decision-making, financial planning, employment, independent living, and healthcare will facilitate this workshop. Speakers will also discuss advocating for real opportunities in employment and post-secondary education during IEP meetings and meetings with Vocational Rehabilitation and support services. We hope this session will provide the audience with guidance on navigating the transition process and developing an individualized plan to adulthood for your adolescent with Down syndrome.
For detailed information about all of our Pre-conference sessions:
Registration Opens in 2 Weeks! Are you Ready?
NDSC Convention 101: A Road Map to Navigating a Successful Convention Experience
Join us tomorrow, March 12th, at 1:00 p.m. EDT, for a one-hour overview of the NDSC Convention before registration opens March 25th. Learn about the registration system, conference options for the entire family, and social and networking events so that you will be ready to register with confidence!
“Each year the convention seems to get better and better. We come away feeling refreshed and energized. Getting ideas and confirmation that things are going to be ok!”
Larry and Karen Kaser welcomed their daughter Kelly to the world in May of 1984. It was shortly thereafter, a family friend introduced them to NDSC. It wasn’t long before Larry and Karen were involved in helping to form their local Down syndrome support group, The Down Syndrome Support Association of Central Indiana, and later, the Dallas Guild in 1985. “Prior to the internet, Larry and I relied on our local parent group, the NDSC office, and the convention as our sources of information in raising Kelly,” shared Karen.
Since the year Kelly was born, the Kasers have attended almost 30 NDSC Conventions. Early on in their journey with Down syndrome, Larry and Karen admit to being overwhelmed, in a positive way, by the amount of valuable information shared at the convention and the wonderful parents they met. Over the years, though, those acquaintances have become like family for the Kasers. “The opportunity of meeting up with old friends and making new acquaintances is fantastic! The convention is now like a very large family reunion for us. Larry and I also look forward to meeting up with our friends and just a time to be able to educate ourselves.”
There is so much to look forward to at the convention, not only for the parents, but the self-advocates too. “Kelly looks forward every year to attending the Youth and Adult program, including workshops, dancing, meeting friends, socializing, and of course, the talent show!” For Larry and Karen, they also look at the convention as a way to share their journey with new parents. “We enjoy sharing information about Kelly’s life and learning about other families’ life experiences too. Larry and I feel we are never too old to learn something new,” said Karen.
The Kaser family, in a sense, has grown up NDSC. In addition to attending the annual convention, both Larry and Karen have served on the board of directors. “Over the years, we helped with NDSC fundraisers, Mom’s Only sharing sessions, Father’s Only sharing sessions, the First Time Attendees Workshop, as well as the Brothers and Sisters, Youth and Adult, and Affiliate workshops,” they recalled. Kelly’s siblings and relatives have also been impacted. “Our extended family has benefited by us being active in NDSC,” said Larry. “Our older children have received information from participating in the Brothers and Sisters program. In fact, our daughter Kim founded a Brothers and Sisters group in Indiana.”
Now 32, Kelly is “a very caring young lady who enjoys making new friends and sharing with her community.” Kelly loves spending time with her family and friends. She currently works as a hostess at Scotty’s Brewhouse, after spending 10 years with Starbucks. When she is not working, Kelly enjoys volunteering in her community, karaoke, athletics (cycling, yoga, muscle up, Zumba, and cardio dance), bowling and flowriding. She also participates in a performance group called the Roundabout Playback Troupe and attends events at the White River Christian Church and Easter Seals Crossroads. “Kelly loves seeing old friends and making new ones,” shared Karen and Larry.
When the Kasers were asked if there was anything additional they wanted to share for this blog post, they added, “Having been involved with NDSC for so many years, we have seen it grow into a wonderful FAMILY organization! We thank the NDSC office for organizing the convention so families can get together each and every year!”
Don’t worry if you aren’t attending this year’s convention in Orlando. There’s always another one next year! We hope to see you soon at one of our Giant Family Reunions!
“The convention feels like family. It’s nice to feel welcome and be part of a large group of parents, grandparents, siblings, and professionals who share the same goals for their children with Down syndrome.”
Kris Faith was born on June 8, 1978, along with his twin sister Katie. Growing up, Katie, younger sister Carrie, and older brothers, Tom and John, were always helpful and a positive influence on Kris. At the same time, Kris, who has Down syndrome, taught them the important contribution people with disabilities make to the world around them. Kris’s parents, Cliff and Rosalie, saw to it Kris participated in all family activities and had regular chores like his siblings. “Kris went to our neighborhood school and was active in Special Olympics,” they shared. “Kris and his sisters started Shasta Buddies, a club for disabled and nondisabled students at their high school. Katie even went to Kris’s High School IEP meetings to advocate for him.”
The Faith Family first heard about NDSC through their local Down syndrome organization, the Down Syndrome League (now Down Syndrome Connection). Rosalie attended her first convention in 1981 in Portland, Oregon. “Initially, I went with my best friend, Carlene Mattson. We were friends even before we each had a child with Down syndrome,” said Rosalie. “It was a great mom’s get-a-way.”
The 1985 Anaheim, California Convention was the first time the entire family went together. They had an unforgettable time. “Each year afterwards, the kids would ask, ‘Where is the NDSC Convention?’ We looked forward to a family vacation and seeing our friends from across the country,” they said. To date, the family has only missed six conventions. “You immediately feel as if you are part of the NDSC family. As parents, we all share the common goals of helping our child to reach his or her full potential and lead a meaningful and productive life. NDSC will give you the tools, information, and encouragement to help you navigate that journey.”
As the Faith family has grown, the convention becomes an annual tradition for new family members, too. “After Kris’s sisters were married in 2002, we included the sons-in-law. Later, came grandchildren who now make the yearly trip to the convention too,” said Cliff and Rosalie. “Our grandchildren are growing up knowing that Uncle Kris and people like him are more like us than different.” When asked what their favorite convention memory is to date, Cliff and Rosalie shared, “There are so many good ones; it’s hard to choose just one!” They went on to say, “One year, Kris did a Michael Jackson dance number in costume for a talent show. Another time he played Music of the Night from ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on the piano. We were really excited and proud too when Kris and Katie were keynote speakers at the Anaheim Convention in 2005.”
Now in his 30s, Kris works for the California State Department of Developmental Services as an Office Aide. Prior to this, he volunteered for the Sacramento Police Department and worked at Starbucks. In his free-time, Kris loves to go to concerts, movies, gamble at casinos, road trips, and restaurants. “Kris has taught his family that people with disabilities have value. Our family is enlightened because of Kris. He has an awesome and active life.”
For the Faith family, NDSC has been there since the early years of their journey with Down syndrome. “The NDSC Staff are always available, friendly, and helpful,” said Cliff and Rosalie. “Through NDSC and the convention, we were able to network with other parents on the same journey as us; it has been such an encouragement. Seeing Kris interact and have fun with his friends from across the country each year at the convention makes us so happy.”
More than an annual convention, our staff is here for you all year long. From the moment of diagnosis through adulthood, please contact us anytime with your questions or concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org; 800-232-6372.