NDSS Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference

Join us on World Down Syndrome Day for the Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference (March 20-21, 2024)!

Register here! DSAC FAQ Room block 2024 Legislative Priorities

Spend World Down Syndrome Day on Capitol Hill advocating for the Down syndrome community at the NDSS Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference, March 20-21, 2024! On Wednesday, March 20, attendees will participate in advocacy training, learn more about legislative priorities, and hear from guest speakers. Then, on Thursday, March 21 – World Down Syndrome Day – we will advocate together by meeting with Members of Congress on Capitol Hill!

This year, we are excited to announce exciting new conference experiences including a specially designed track for individuals with Down syndrome and sibling advocates ages 12 – 17, childcare for children ages 6 - 11, and an optional state policy bootcamp.

Register today to secure the lowest early bird rate and check back here for more information on the hotel block in the coming weeks!  

down syndrome advocacy conference group

Conference Tracks

General Conference Track

The general conference track includes:

  • our pre-conference webinar and materials
  • an engaging keynote speaker and policy and advocacy general sessions on Wednesday, March 20
  • breakfast on Wednesday, March 20 the Champions of Change
  • luncheon on Wednesday, March 20
  • our evening reception on Wednesday, March 20, including one drink ticket
  • breakfast on Thursday, March 21
  • transportation to Capitol Hill on Thursday, March 21
  • pre-scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday, March 21

Please note: We encourage self-advocates with Down syndrome and sibling advocates ages 12 – 17 to consider attending the Modified Track, however, these participants may choose whichever track is best for them.

Modified Track

NEW IN 2024! We are excited to offer a Modified Track designed with self-advocates in mind! This track is recommended for individuals with Down syndrome ages 12+ who wish to learn more about policy and advocacy basics and how to use their voice to advocate for change. Experienced self-advocates are encouraged to attend the general conference track but are welcome to choose whichever track best fits their needs. Siblings aged 12 – 17 are also welcome to join this track if they prefer.

A modified track ticket will include:

  • our pre-conference webinar and materials
  • an engaging keynote speaker and policy and advocacy sessions on Wednesday, March 20 designed to support self-advocates and teens in developing their advocacy skills and crafting their message to Capitol Hill
  • breakfast on Wednesday, March 20 the Champions of Change
  • luncheon on Wednesday, March 20
  • our evening reception on Wednesday, March 20, including one drink ticket
  • breakfast on Thursday, March 21
  • transportation to Capitol Hill on Thursday, March 21
  • pre-scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday, March 21

Childcare

NEW IN 2024! Childcare will be provided for children ages 6 – 11 on the conference training day, Wednesday, March 20. The childcare room will open at 8:30 AM and care will be provided until 2:30 PM (for those who have purchased a ticket for the state advocacy bootcamp add-on, childcare will remain available until 4:00 PM). Childcare will not be provided on Thursday, March 21, and children are expected to accompany parents or caregivers on Capitol Hill or have separate childcare arrangements. The Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference is a family friendly event and families are encouraged to bring their children with them to Capitol Hill!

Childcare tickets will include:

  • a full day of engaging activities on Wednesday, March 20
  • breakfast, lunch, and a snack on Wednesday, March 20
  • access to the evening reception on Wednesday, March 20
  • breakfast on Thursday, March 21
  • transportation to Capitol Hill on Thursday, March 21
  • pre-scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday, March 21

State Policy Bootcamp

NEW IN 2024! Join us for the NDSS State Policy Bootcamp, where we delve deep into the world of state legislative advocacy, discover how individuals with Down syndrome can become effective advocates in their states, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the state legislative process, from bill inception to passage. Attendees will receive tools to amplify their voice and drive meaningful change. This program is intended for individuals who are interested in advocating in their home state and is available as an optional add-on at registration.

Conference Agenda

Training Day: Wednesday, March 20

TimeGeneral TrackModified TrackChildcare
7:00 – 9: 00 AMBreakfast buffet for all attendees
8:30 AM Childcare room opens
9:00 – 9:30 AMOpening session and keynote
Childcare programming (including lunch and snack) 
9:30 – 12:00 PMPolicy and advocacy general session Policy and advocacy modified session
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Champions of Change Luncheon sponsored by PhRMA
1:00 – 2:00 PM Afternoon Session: Preparing for Capitol Hill

   

2:15 – 3:30 PM: Optional State Policy Bootcamp Add-On

TimeGeneral TrackModified TrackChildcare
4:30 – 5:00 PMDS-Ambassador Happy Hour (for active members
of the DS-Ambassador program only)
5:00 – 6:30 PMEvening reception and dance party

Hill Day: Thursday, March 21

TimeGeneral TrackModified TrackChildcare
6:00 – 8:00 AMBreakfast buffet for all attendees
8:00 AMBusses depart to Capitol Hill 
8:45 AMGroup photo on Capitol Hill
9:00 – 5:00 PMHill meetings
5:00 – 6:00 PMCongressional Reception on Capitol Hill

Additional Information

Scholarships

Each year NDSS has a limited number of scholarships to award to participants who require financial support in order to attend the Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference. The 2024 scholarship application has closed. 

Participants may still be able to secure support or group discounts from their local Down syndrome group.
To find your local Down syndrome group, please click here. 
 

Champions of Change

NDSS is proud to bestow Champion of Change awards to individuals and organizations who advocate for the Down syndrome community in their local communities and at all levels of government. Awardees are nominated by peers and honored at the annual Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. Check out our 2024 winners below!

Stephen Beck Jr. Advocate of the Year: Allie Hayes

Self-Advocate of the Year: Maggie Kutz

Organization of the Year: Down to Defend

DS-Ambassador of the Year: Tiana Williams

Individual Leader of the Year: Sarah Soell

Exhibitor Opportunities

NDSS offers the opportunity for advocacy organizations, service providers, self-advocate-owned businesses, and others to exhibit on March 20. For more information on exhibitor opportunities, please contact Hasan Shah at hshah@ndss.org.