As National Down Syndrome Awareness Month comes to an end, we would like to highlight a special opportunity that one of our Rise Lead Teachers had. Luvy, the Preschool 1 Lead Teacher, traveled to Sacramento this past summer to take part in the at the National Down Syndrome Congress. This annual conference brings together thousands of people from across the globe to learn the latest information from world-renowned experts while connecting with other families! We are so excited that next year's conference will be held in TEXAS! The next NDSC is taking place in Dallas on July 12-15th, 2018 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. Thank you, Luvy, for sharing your reflections with us!
This summer I was extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend the National Down Syndrome Congress in Sacramento, California. When I received the news, I was ecstatic! I could not wait to delve deeper into this amazing community. Below are my biggest takeaways from my weekend at the conference:
1) The Power of Community: Educators, parents, siblings, self-advocates, families, and professionals all attended the conference for the same reasons: to learn, share thoughts, advocate for much deserved rights, and to create meaningful relationships with others. The amount of support and love I witnessed while attending this conference was incredible.
2) The Wealth of Information: I was amazed by the variety of workshops that were available. All the workshops were carefully tailored to fit every single person’s need and interest: from supporting your child through puberty, to the importance of literacy and mathematics in early childhood education, to the basics of potty training a child with Down Syndrome, to how to incorporate technology into the life of your child, every work shop was valuable and informative.
3) Self-Reflection: Besides learning valuable information from the workshops I attended, I left Sacramento with a better understanding of myself. On Friday and Saturday night, the conference hosts a dance party. Having come to the conference alone, I was flying solo during Friday’s Hawaiian theme dance party. I spent the night admiring all of the families and children who showed no signs of shyness as they danced the night away. I, on the other hand, felt too shy to dance by myself. As I walked back to the hotel, I questioned why I was feeling shy and how it was possible for me to feel these feelings in an event where everyone values differences. I was determined to break out of my shell the following night and I am so happy that I did! On Saturday, I entered the dance floor and began to dance alone. In just a couple of minutes, young adults with Down Syndrome approached me we all danced together. Pretty soon, I had met about six young adults and had an amazing time dancing, meeting their families, and getting to know them! One of the girls that I met teaches preschool part-time and is getting her CDA! If you go to this conference, drop your shyness at the door and dance the night away, you will NOT regret it.