NDSC E-News ~ October 2019

Mission Moment

With NDSC Executive Director, David Tolleson 

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.  Too often, those who aren’t members of our community harbor low expectations which can lead to unwelcome roadblocks for self-advocates.  It’s important to replace those misconceptions with the truth.  It’s also important to recognize that everyone has value.  I’ve met self-advocates who play multiple musical instruments, who have starred in television or movies, or who excel in sports, including one who swam across the English Channel!  These are things I cannot do and are impressive by any measure.  Their accomplishments blow stereotypes out of the water. And while we celebrate these individuals and their achievements, it’s important to note that at the NDSC we recognize the worth of EVERY individual.  Everyone deserves to be recognized for their innate value and for the joy and love they bring to their family and friends.  We are better off when everyone is recognized and celebrated for who they are and are included in the fabric of society.  At the NDSC every month is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  We invite you to join us in our ongoing work to let the world know that we’re better all together and altogether better.

Best regards,




Dine Out for Down Syndrome LogoWe are excited to announce the NDSC inaugural Dine Out for Down Syndrome event to be held on Thursday, December 5, 2019, nationwide.  All proceeds from the event will support the vital programs, resources, and advocacy efforts provided by NDSC through our Center for Outreach & Education Rural Outreach Programs.

If you would like to learn more about the event and participation visit the Dine Out for Down Syndrome page on our website, and we encourage you to copy and share the link with anyone you feel may be interested ( https://www.ndsccenter.org/support-join-be-involved/dine-out-for-down-syndrome/).  If you would like to invite an establishment you know and love to join in the event, you can download the NDSC Dine Out Ask Letter, that can be customized with your signature, to present to a potential partner. If you would like someone from NDSC to reach out to a potential participant email NDSC Engagement Director, Rhonda Rice, at rhonda@ndsccenter.org.  Restaurant owners and managers who would like to participate should complete the Dine Out for Down Syndrome Commitment Form.  All commitment forms are due by Friday, November 8, 2020.


Lynch Creek Farms Fall Fundraiser

It’s Fall Y’all – and you know what Fall means – Crisp cool nights, leaves falling, pumpkin spice and colorful décor! For the 2nd year, NDSC has partnered with Lynch Creek Farm to provide beautiful Fall and Holiday wreaths, centerpieces, garland swags, and tabletop trees that will not only make your home or office beautiful but smell good too.

These beautiful pieces are handcrafted onsite, which means that each item has to pass quality inspections from start to finish. All products are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, standard ground shipping is free, and as a Lynch Creek partner, NDSC receives 15% back on all purchases.

See the entire catalog and shop now at https://www.lynchcreekfundraising.com/teams/213188-ndsc-2019. Or by clicking the banner above.

2019 NDSC Commemorative Holiday Ornament – Available for a Limited Time

As we launch the Holiday Ornament campaign for the 5th year we want to thank everyone for your continued support and purchases.  Be looking for your email introducing the annual NDSC commemorative Holiday Ornament design and official order dates.

Orders will be collected for a limited time through mid-November, with delivery the first week of December.

Lagniappe Banner

What is Lagniappe in the Big Easy?

Lagniappe is a word used primarily in the region influenced by New Orleans and therefore customary of the Louisiana French culture.  The word lagniappe is pronounced LAN yap and means a small gift or bonus given.  We think it is the perfect word to describe the NDSC 48th Annual Convention.

Be on the lookout for the NDSC Convention Insider emails for all you need to know about the NDSC 48th Annual Convention, June 25 – 28, 2020, in New Orleans.

2019 Call for SpeakersThe Call for Speakers for the 48th Annual NDSC Convention is open.  If you have an interesting and engaging presentation we welcome you to submit a workshop proposal for consideration. All proposals will be reviewed and considered by the NDSC Convention Planning Committee (CPC). Due to the volume of submissions, space, and balance in programming, not all proposals will be accepted.

More information, including tips and suggestions to getting your proposal noticed, can be found on the NDSC website under the Convention tab, Call for Speakers, General Convention Workshops. Submissions for General Workshop Speaker proposals are due by 3:00 PM EST on Friday, January 3, 2020.

Information about Youth & Adult speaker proposals will be available soon.

2019 Call for Awards NominationsEach year awards are presented at the convention to recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding achievement and contribution within the Down syndrome community.

Nominations are now being accepted for all award categories. If you know of an individual or organization that you feel is deserving of consideration for one of the 2020 NDSC awards, please nominate them through our online nomination form.

Nominations forms and supporting materials should be submitted by mail, e-mail or fax to the NDSC Center by January 3, 2020. Selections are made in the Spring. All awards will be presented at the NDSC Annual Convention.

Sponsor Opportunities in the Big Easy!

Just this week we released the 2020 Convention Sponsorship opportunities packet, which brings highly visible opportunities, at all financial levels, for your company or organization to partner with us.

If you know of a business that would like to join NDSC and 3,800+ individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the medical professionals that work within the community, as we converge together in New Orleans, on June 25th, 2020, for four amazing days of fun, education, and networking at the 48th Annual Convention please see our website to see the full 2020 packet.  If you have any questions about sponsorship contact NDSC Development Director, Kathy Edwards, at kathy@ndsccenter.org.  We hope to see you in New Orleans!

NDSC in the Community

11.4.2019 Advocacy Event

The NDSC Policy & Advocacy team will be hosting an event with the American University Washington College of Law on Monday, November 4, 2019, from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM. The event, entitled “It’s Never Too Early to Prepare: A Discussion of Pathways to Workforce Readiness and Employment,” will discuss laws and policies that successfully prepare students for the transition to competitive integrated employment from early school age up through adulthood. Speakers will also review the current state of disability employment policy and proposed future changes. It will contain panels of policy experts as well as self-advocates who will discuss their work experiences. The cost to attend is $21 per person, which includes heavy appetizers and a cash bar. If you’re going to be in the Washington D.C. area on November 4, we would love to see you there! Registration is now open.


2019 State of the Art Banner

Did you miss the first-ever College Fair for students with intellectual disabilities at the NDSC convention? No worries! The State of the Art Conference, co-sponsored by NDSC, will be holding a College Fair on November 12th in Reno, Nevada.  The College Fair, which is FREE for students and families, will bring together students, families, colleges, program staff, and others to learn from one another and network.  Registration is now open for the State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Students with Intellectual Disabilities. The Student Leadership Conference is also a great opportunity for current and future college students with intellectual disabilities.


11.14 webinarThe National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) and the Autism Society of America have two of the most widespread and effective grassroots advocacy networks in the country. While our policy teams in Washington D.C. often work together on the federal level on issues ranging from education to employment, health care, Medicaid and more and have expertise across many areas, both organizations recognize that it is the voices of local self-advocates, their families and other allies that truly make the difference.

Join NDSC Policy & Advocacy Director, Heather Sachs, and Autism Society Vice President of Public Policy Kim Musheno along with an experienced grassroots advocacy self-advocate, November 13, at 1:00 PM as they discuss the basics of advocacy, why it is important to become engaged, and what steps you can take to help NDSC and Autism Society achieve their policy goals to improve the lives of individuals with Down syndrome, autism, and other disabilities.

Register Here Button


Are You Interested in Coming to Washington D.C. This Coming Spring for Advocacy Training and to Meet with Your Members of Congress?

NDSC is excited to announce that we are partnering with The Arc, AUCD, AAIDD, NACDD, SABE, UCP and the Autism Society to host the 2020 Disability Policy Seminar, to be held March 23- 25, 2020 in Washington D.C. The Disability Policy Seminar offers the opportunity for passionate advocates, self-advocates, experts, and professionals in the field to come together and learn about key issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The event features two days of informative sessions led by experts in the field and offers opportunities for participants to discuss key issues with others from their same state. On the third day, attendees will go to Capitol Hill to speak with their legislators.  For more information, please visit the DPS website. We will let you know when registration opens!

Are You Getting the Most Up-to-Date Information About Policy Issues?

The NDSC Policy & Advocacy team works hard to advocate for the rights of individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities in the areas of education, employment, health care, Medicaid, Social Security, housing, transportation and more! You can stay informed and engaged in the following ways:

Register for NDSC Policy & Advocacy Action Alerts – Receive emails when there is an urgent policy issue that will provide you with talking points and all of the information you need to take action.

Join the National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition (NDAC) – NDAC is a grassroots advocacy service of NDSC that is designed to educate individuals with Down syndrome, their family members, and other allies about policy issues and give them the tools they need to effectively engage with their legislators and other policymakers to effect policy change.

Subscribe to our Monthly E-newsletter, the Policy & Advocacy Newsline – subscribe to our free monthly newsletter where we discuss issues that the Policy & Advocacy Team is working on in Washington D.C.

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