A Little Something Extra

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NDSC debrief

This past weekend I had an opportunity to attend my second National Down Syndrome Congress annual conference.  This year's conference was in San Antonio (where it was a tad bit warm).  The whole family went last year.  It was logistically crazy but a lot of fun.  My mom came to help with the boys.  We also utilized babysitters (this year's conference offered childcare during workshop sessions).

This year, I went solo.  I met a 10-yr-old boy on the airplane.  He was fabulous: very confident, obedient, well-mannered, and he spoke very well.  I knew after meeting him that there would be many times over the weekend that I would wish I had Micah with me.  The reality, however, is that I could not have taken Micah with me.  He still has auditory defensiveness.  A large room is overwhelming to him.  And he still naps (thankfully!).

I really don't know where to start.  My mind has functioned in FIFO (first in, first out) mode, so I'm still thinking primarily of what I heard on Sunday.  So maybe if I put some bullet points here on the blog, I can come back to it with more detail by topic.  Please comment and let me know which topics you'd really like to hear more about.
  1. An amazing young woman, who happens to be a sibling of a young man with Down syndrome, spoke about growing up in Holland.  Fabulous!  Her name is Jenni Newbury, co-founder of Camp PALS and employee of Special Olympics.
  2. Lots of great workshops:
    1. Inclusion in a private school (Nashville peeps, did you know about what is going on at FRA, of all places?) (I can't start on that right now or I'll be up all night)
    2. Gigi's Playhouse - We MUST get one (or multiple) going in the Twin Cities.
    3. Complex medical conditions affecting education
    4. Behavior and communication
    5. and others that I'm looking forward to listening to when I receive the CD of the conference
  3. Pre-conference session on developing a reading program
  4. Varying opinions of inclusion... "full inclusion" "mainstreaming" "pull-outs"... what does it all mean? and what's best for YOUR child?
I'm planning to do separate blog posts for those topics.  Feel free to chime in with your interest level and I'll prioritize accordingly.

FYI... next year's conference is in Washington, DC, from July 20-22.  Hope to see you there!


Kris said...

Jennie, thank you for the summary! I'll anxiously be awaiting your posts, but no hurry, busy momma :) I'm especially interested in the reading program. I need to get going on a plan!

my family said...

my friend Cassie was telling me about Jenni she sounds amazing!

Im hoping to go next year just deciding if it should be a family trip or not:)

Jen Currier said...

I've been waiting on pins and needles for someone to post about conference. It sounds amazing...admittedly to me, it also sounds pretty overwhelming. I have no questions yet, since my head just swirls with talk of inclusion, etc. I'm sure by this time next year I'll be into the thick of getting that info. Can't wait to hear more as you process through what you experienced too!

Janet Linkert said...

Since you asked for interest levels... my top 3 would be: #3, #4 and #2.2 - but they all sound interesting. Can't wait to hear more!!

Jonathan said...

Hi Jennie, I'm so glad you got to go!

Obviously my preferences don't have much weight, if any, but I am really interested in what you learned about inclusion, pull-out, etc., both as a mom and former teacher.

Hugs to you all!

Elisabeth said...

I'd love to hear more about full inclusion/mainstreaming/pull-outs, etc... as my Wesley will be starting school in seven months and I feel lost just thinking about it all.