Wednesday, August 12, 2009

NDSC Conferece 2009 Recap

So after the whirlwind that was traveling to and from Phoenix, we made it home. BD was waiting for us at baggage claim and it was great to have the family together again.

But no time for mushiness, we had a mission!

After getting in the house at about 11pm, there was unpacking and repacking and a 3:30 am wake-up call to consider.

We were out of the house not long after 4 am and pulled up to the Sacramento convention center just before 7.


I went inside and was pleasantly surprised to be checked in by Lisa, who was volunteering. When I got back to the car, we came up with the plan that BD would head over to the house of the family friends who were so gracious to allow us to stay with them for the weekend. He'd get her cleaned up and fed while I attended the morning part of the nearly-all-day pre-conference session with Libby Kumin.

Ready, break.

First stop: "From Infant Babbling to Adult Speech: Helping Children with Ds Develop Understandable Speech"

Talk about overwhelming. Whew! I'm not sure I was good for any kind of long session like this after spending the prior three days learning about thrilling topics like appropriations law, audits, and various other acronym-filled Power Point sessions.

The good thing about this session was that a lot of people got their questions answered about their specific situations. The bad thing about this session was that a lot of people got their questions answered about their specific situations. (Ok, ok, so I asked a question too.)

Catch my drift? It was a long morning and Ms. Kumin was very patient.

My favorite part, though, was when she showed video of the young people she works with. At one point, there was a group of young women sitting around a table, discussing their plans for a party. It was really cool to observe and they all spoke clearly and with intent. They talked about their feelings, likes, dislikes. Very cool.

At lunchtime, BD came back and we met up with a great couple who was also attending their first conference. The wife found me through this very blog and we've been emailing and chatting by phone for months now. It was great to finally meet them and introduce them to Playette!

After lunch, I went back to the same session for a while, but I did peek into the end of the session hosted by Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, "Improving Feeding Skills and Speech Clarity Using Oral-Motor Therapy." I'd revisit this topic later.

Throughout the entire conference, there were exhibits set up in one large room so that you could check out all kinds of things. Want Sure Steps, Specs 4 Us, info on the new Gigi's Playhouse opening up in San Diego soon? All there. And much, much more.

At 3:30, I went to the Sharing Session called "Mothers Only, Birth-2 years" which was hosted by Kathryn Lynard Soper, editor of the much-loved-by-me book Gifts and author of The Year My Son and I Were Born. I found it very fulfilling to be able to tell her, in person, how what she'd helped put together and written had touched me.

The room was full, all seats taken, and we started out by creating a list of things we'd most like to talk about. There was no way we'd be able to press through everything in 1.5 hours, but it was nice to try. We were the epitome of "Ds crosses all lines" as there were as many unique stories in that room as there were women. Later on, I'd learn of a cruise called "Moms Need Moms" and if I could swing it, I totally would. We need that kind of time.

All too soon, it was time to head down to the Opening Session. I was looking forward to the "We're More Alike Than Different: Self-Advocates Speak to the Nation" portion and I wasn't disappointed. Tell me more about how you live independently, work, drive, have a college degree, are getting married, or - best of all - are single now and available! Gotta love Eleanor Bailey, a student in Portland State University's Transition Program, for making the most of her time at the mic.

To close out our long day, there was free food an Opening Reception. It was a great chance to eat free food catch up with our more local Ds support network. I wish we all lived closer to one another because we have some really cool families in our group.


I can't believe I thought I'd get everything in one post.

Stay tuned for Part II. I hate when I have to do that. Bah.


AZ Chapman said...

nice did u meet uup with Matt and chuck I went to the lose the traing wheels camp

sheree said...

I am still so bummed I missed out this year! I think I need to hear more about this "Moms need Moms cruise." THAT sounds amazing!

Who did you end up staying with here?

Michelle said...

I'm sad we missed convention this year (and a chance to meet you guys!) but glad you went and had a great time. Maybe we'll meet up in Orlando?