Monday, July 14, 2014

NDSC Convention Recap

My phone was misbehaving.  So most of my photos came from the hotel window, when my phone was plugged in.
We spent the past weekend at the NDSC Convention.  It was just two hours away, and we were curious, and there was a swimming pool in the hotel, so we went.  And now that I'm home I'm feeling a bit re-inspired to blog more than once every six months, but I'm still absorbing enough that I'm not quite sure where to start.

So, for tonight, a few observations from the weekend:

  • The Down syndrome community is a big tent.  I want this to be a good thing, but sometimes it is overwhelming.
  • Educators, therapists, researchers -- these folks speak my language.  It's good to get all nerdy and just sit in a workshop and soak up information.
  • That said, it's also overwhelming to hear passionate people talk about their research or their perspective.  Just because someone is an expert doesn't mean they've got my family figured out.
  • And sometimes it was hard to pick workshops, because we don't know what specific challenges are ahead for us.
  • I kept noticing the moms of adults with Down syndrome.  Gray-haired ladies juggling schedules, waiting outside of bathrooms, beaming at their grown kids.
  • I found it easy to imagine Max as one of the adults I saw at the conference.  I found it harder to imagine myself as one of the older moms.
  • Every time I meet an adult with Down syndrome, or hear their story, I feel like my world, and Max's world, get just a little bit bigger.  I'm a bit ashamed to admit this, because in my mind I know that the possibilities are endless.  But every time I see a possibility with my own eyes, it makes the future so much more real.
  • I want to meet more adults with Down syndrome.  I really want for Max to have role models with Down syndrome in his everyday life -- not just as speakers at conferences and faces in documentaries.
  • I want to go back to downtown Indy sometime when we don't have conference sessions to attend.  Because it looked like a great place to walk around & explore.

We left the conference early because Max got sick.  I was bummed to miss the last sessions, and really bummed to miss the ball game--I was hoping there'd be a little more time to socialize with other families.  After a sleepless night, though, we figured everyone would feel better back at home.

And so, our first NDSC Conference ended.  I doubt we'll be attending any more conferences for several years.  But, if Max is interested, I would like to go again when he's a teen.  The teens and adults with Down syndrome were clearly having a blast, and watching them made me remember church & school conferences I attended as a teenager.  For now, I'll just sit on this weekend a bit longer, and maybe try to expand on some of my observations in the coming weeks.

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