NDSC E-News ~ November 2019

With NDSC Executive Director, David Tolleson

 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.

Here at the NDSC, we’re thankful for you and your family.  We’re grateful for those who have been members and supporters for decades.  We also appreciate the new additions to our family – the young members who keep our organization alive and vital.

We’re grateful for the medical, research, and educational professionals whose ongoing work has made a difference in both the quality and quantity of life for individuals with Down syndrome.

We’re so thankful for the advocates who insist on laws and policies that increase inclusion, integration, and opportunity for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Your voice and actions make a difference.

As the organization’s Executive Director, I’m especially grateful to our Directors, Trustees, staff, key volunteers and speakers who selflessly give of their time, expertise and energy to serve others.  It’s a gift to work alongside you.

And, most of all, at the NDSC we’re thankful for the self-advocates who are the heart, soul, and very reason for our existence.  That we have the opportunity to know and love so many exceptional men, women, and children – and their wonderful families – is a blessing beyond measure.

All the best to you and yours this Thanksgiving!



Banner_Giving Beyond Tuesday

This time of year we are reminded to give thanks to those who support our efforts and help us continue to grow. Through our Center for Outreach & Education, we have provided resources to communities across the nation and abroad and in the past year have been able to serve more individuals with Down syndrome and their families, where they are than ever before.  Online we have hosted webinars on a variety of topics throughout the year and our Policy & Advocacy Team in Washington, D.C. works diligently to influence legislative change.

We hope that during this season of giving you will support our growth in a way that best suits your family. There are many ways that you can support our efforts whether through the purchase of an annual Holiday ornament or wreath, by dining at one of the NDSC Dine Out for Down Syndrome participating restaurants on December 5th, by donating on National Giving Tuesday on December 2, or through our Year-End Giving Campaign.

2019 Holiday Ornament Ad


Dine Out Ad

2019 YE Ad

We Need You in the Big Easy!

2020 Convention LogoIt is our honor and privilege to bring the NDSC Annual Convention, “the largest family reunion in the world” to the families and community that we serve, but we cannot do it without you.

If you have an interesting and engaging presentation that you wish to present at the 48th Annual NDSC Convention in New Orleans, LA, June 25-28, 2020. we encourage you to submit a workshop proposal for consideration.

Each year awards are presented at the convention to recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding achievement and contribution within the Down syndrome community.  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 nominations form.

Workshop proposals and award nominations must be submitted by January 3, 2020.

The NDSC Annual Convention would not be possible without the support of our sponsors.  If you know of a business that would like to engage with the nearly 4,000 convention attendees direct them to the 2020 Sponsor Opportunity Packet on our website of they may contact the NDSC Development Director, Kathy Edwards, at kathy@ndsccenter.org.

NDSC is Proud to Announce Zach Gottsagen as the Keynote Speaker at the 48th Annual NDSC Convention in New Orleans.

Zach Gottsagen w R borderZach Gottsagen, star of the movie “The Peanut Butter Falcon”, will serve as the keynote speaker at the NDSC Convention opening plenary session on Friday, June 26, 2020, in New Orleans, Louisianna.

Zach talked with NDSC Engagement Director, Rhonda Rice, about his early years as an actor; filming “The Peanut Butter Falcon”;  his relationships with the film’s co-stars veteran film actors Shia LaBeouf,  Dakota Johnson, and Oscar nominees Bruce Dern and Thomas Haden Church; attending the 2020 NDSC Convention in New Orleans; and his desired role as a self-advocate.  You can read the full interview write up in the upcoming “Down Syndrome News”, a hard copy publication provided to all NDSC members.

To renew your membership or become an NDSC member visit our website.

Hyatt Hotel Banner

In 2020 the Hyatt Regency New Orleans will be home to the NDSC 48th Annual Convention.  This 1,193 room, world-class hotel blends historic Big Easy style with contemporary design.

Centered downtown near Champions Square, just Steps from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and minutes from the historic French Quarter, Arts District, and Mississippi Riverfront, you will be able to take in all of the cultures of New Orleans offers. There is no better place from which to explore the history and eclectic vibrancy of New Orleans.

The hotel block will open with Convention registration in early April of 2020.

NDSC Event in Washington, D.C.

NDSC Policy Logo

On Monday, November 4, 2019, the NDSC Policy Team, 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 there was a panel discussion about the laws and policies that successfully prepare students for the transition to competitive integrated employment from early school age through adulthood.  The panel, comprised of policy experts, as well as self-advocates, reviewed the current state of disability employment policy and proposed future changes.

Thank you to our sponsors, Merck, Landsman Law Firm, Michael Orleans (NFP), Down Syndrome Association of Delaware, Chesapeake Down Syndrome Parent Group, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County.  We would also like to send a special thanks to Mitch and Julie Rothholz, the event Gold Level Sponsor.

NDSC in the Community

Stephanie and Rachel SOTAC Award Winners

This past week, Stephanie Smith Lee, Senior Policy Advisor, received the George Jesien National Leadership Award at the State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Students with Intellectual Disability. The award was given for her long-term outstanding leadership in the field of postsecondary education for students with Intellectual Disabilities.

Rachel Mast received the Laura Lee Self-Advocate Leadership Award at the State of the Art Conference. Rachel was chosen for this award based on her leadership in promoting inclusion in school, college, and in the community. Rachel has been a role model through her personal examples as a student, employee, motivational speaker, and self-advocacy efforts.

12.10.2019 Webinar

Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is a way for people with disabilities to make their own decisions, by working with family members, friends, professionals, and other people they trust to help understand the issues and choices they are faced with. In this webinar, the presenter will discuss what SDM means in practical, everyday terms; why SDM is important in the lives of people with disabilities; and how SDM can be used to promote self-determination. She will also share updates on ways in which SDM is being advanced on the local, state, and federal levels across the United States.

Can’t make the webinar?  No problem, register for the event and you will receive a link to view the recording. All webinar recordings should be available within one week of a live broadcast.

Register Here Button