The Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action Conference

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Here’s why you should plan on attending the Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA) Conference:

1. Connect with leaders of local organizations from around the nation (and world):

Mac Macsovits, RMDSA, & Ray Jancso, DSAMMS

Mac Macsovits, RMDSA (Denver-area), & Ray Jancso, DSAMMS (Memphis-area)

Not pictured are leaders from organizations from Florida to Snohomish, WA, and from Alaska to Australia!

2. Enjoy a dinner with fellow advocates engaged in medical outreach & new & expectant parent support:

IMG_3564Sitting around the table are leaders supporting families along the Rio Grande with great experience supporting Latino families, a representative of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network providing on-line support to new moms, a genetic counselor and board member of her local organization, a mom leading support for parents of older children with Down syndrome, and the executive director for an organization with one of the largest medical outreach efforts.

3. Network with other conference planners:

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Like Jennifer Smolka of the 321 e-Learning conference, which is held each year beginning on March 21 to honor World Down Syndrome Day.

4. Attend a presentation on medical outreach as done by three different-sized groups and providing support for expectant moms

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I was lucky enough to present with leaders from Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio, and the Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada (Reno-area), along with my colleague at the National Center for Prenatal & Postnatal Down Syndrome Resources, and the leaders of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network.

5. Learn about great programs: 

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Dana Halle of the Learning Program & DSFOC

Like The Learning Program, offered through the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County, providing research-based adaptive teaching techniques for children and their parents.

6. Having fun and seeing celebrities

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When the conference was in Vegas, it was only fitting that Elvis and a Showgirl make an appearance (where members of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati thought it further fitting for them to make the “H” and “I” in “OHIO” ).

7. Rejuvenate, invigorate, and accelerate.

I was honored to be one of the founding board members for DSAIA. Since it’s inception in 2007 and then formal organization in 2010, DSAIA has helped organizations from around the nation accelerate their growth. It does so by allowing organizations to learn from one another, skip some of the mistakes made and benefit from lessons learned, and by providing templates and models for successful programming.

Attending is always a rejuvenating experience, re-invigorating advocates to take on the challenges they face for the rest of the year. If you are involved with a local organization, I encourage you to have representatives attend the next DSAIA conference.

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