The General Convention is a three-day program designed for parents, other family members, caregivers and professionals. It kicks off Friday afternoon with a series of Sharing Sessions for moms, dads, grandparents and siblings. These popular sessions, facilitated by family members, are informal opportunities to meet your peers and share your joys, concerns and strategies with others. Some sessions are also topic specific. Please consider attending these sessions without your child with DS to allow parents to express their feelings with comfort and ease.
Friday evening, the first of two Plenary Sessions will officially launch the weekend events. Plenary sessions feature inspirational keynote presentations by self advocates and advocates in the Down syndrome community who present on topics of broad interest.
The General Convention also consists of five workshop cycles, three cycles offered on Saturday and two on Sunday. Each cycle offers a selection of 13 workshops that registrants may attend based on their interest. These interactive workshops are provided by the experts – from those who pioneered in early childhood communication, to those who redefined the K-12 classroom and are on the frontier of adult challenges. Each workshop is 90 minutes in length. Some topics are repeated to give flexibility to attendees. In the spring a complete list of workshops will be available, as well as a workshop planner to help organize your selections.
The convention will close on Sunday afternoon with the Grand Finale.
Another entertaining component of the General Convention is the Film Festival. The Film Festival is organized by Gail Williamson, director of Down Syndrome in Arts and Media, and provides an opportunity to view the best films, film clips and documentaries featuring individuals with Down syndrome. All films are shown during the workshop cycles.
There is also an Exhibit Area for vendors where you’ll find the latest in books, toys, teaching aids, apparel, software and more.
At registration, all registered attendees will receive the official program guide, called the Souvenir Journal. The Souvenir Journal will detail the entire convention’s schedule and much more. Volunteers are available on-site to review the Souvenir Journal for first-time attendees.