My first DS related conference.
Came along as this blog is having its two-year birthday. Me, being a relative baby in the world of advocacy but having the oldest child in the group provided an interesting irony. The folks I got to hang with were full of leaders within the community that I respect and also, it turns out, know how to have a really great time. There were, as one hopes in a conference environment, also some new connections made that I’ll be busy following up on over the next several weeks. Over the last three days I’ve seen many examples from the conference and beyond to both contradict and reinforce the feeling that the universe is on our side.
Learning is Fun
I attended the convention wearing many hats. In the most official capacity I represented the 321 EConference. Early on a bit of drama came from a combination of misinformation and assumptions, I let it bother me at first, but then the circumstances changed and facilitated a broader experience. Long story short, I originally planned for this conference to promote Dr. Smolka and the 321 resources she provides, to meet many of the community I’ve met online, and maybe check out one particular session of interest. In the end I got the first two goals met and also attended an almost full days’ worth of sessions on Saturday. Great conversations and learning which, as you know, I think is fun. And also (as always seems to be the case) the more I learn the more questions and follow-up action is required.
The Universe Said
Interestingly, the driver on the way to the hotel expressed to me he has a niece with Down syndrome who is 16 years old. Then the second night in the bar of the hotel there was a couple asking “Who is this crazy group of people?” I explained then discovered that they recently lost a cousin who had Down syndrome; they are very sympathetic to “the cause.”
While out with new friends Friday night, we talked about how important it is to continue the variety of discussions involving our community, even those on which we do not agree. I’ve been trying to articulate this for months, still forthcoming while I tune it up. We talked about fears and excitements and real life and what we imagined.
I talked about Marcus nonstop. That probably shocks you.
A few quotes that sum up the event:
“I get less and less disappointed in these kids.” – Stephanie Meredith husband
“Something happened to the lace pants.” “It’s always the quiet ones!” These two I will not name – to protect those involved
“You people are always in a hurry.” – From Dr. Dennis McGuire’s presentation.
On all of this: Stay Tuned! More to come…