|My phone was misbehaving. So most of my photos came from the hotel window, when my phone was plugged in.|
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.