NDSS Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference

Join us in Washington, D.C., for the Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference, April 17-19, 2023!

Join us in Washington, D.C. for the NDSS Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference, April 17-19, 2023! Similar to our past Buddy Walk® on Washington, this two-day event (with optional pre-conference learning sessions on April 17) will bring our community together to advocate for legislative priorities that impact the Down syndrome community. NDSS is thrilled to be holding this conference in partnership with other national Down syndrome organizations, including our Advocacy Partners, the National Down Syndrome Congress, and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.   

During the optional pre-conference learning sessions, attendees will take a deep dive with the NDSS team and other national groups about policy topics that affect the Down syndrome community. On the first full day of the conference, April 18, attendees will have the opportunity to take part in advocacy training, learn more about our legislative priorities for the 19th, and hear from guest speakers such as Heather Avis of The Lucky Few and Matthew Schwab of Matthew Schwab Speaks. Finally, the conference culminates with the opportunity to advocate to Members of Congress on Capitol Hill!    

 A full-day youth advocacy training will be offered on the 18th for advocates ages 6+. This exciting training will get our young advocates ready for their meetings on Capitol Hill including an age-appropriate understanding of the topics we’ll be discussing with members of Congress on Wednesday.  

Registration is now closed. Registration closed March 24, 2023, at 5 PM ET.

The conference portion will take place at Hilton Arlington National Landing. The room block is now closed. We suggest you try these nearby hotels:




Monday, April 17, 2023 (Pre-Conference Learning)

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 (Legislative Training Day)

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 (Hill Day)

View the full conference schedule here

*When booking travel, please try to book the latest possible travel to accommodate afternoon meetings and programming.  

DSAC 2022 logo


The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) has a limited number of scholarships to award to participants who require financial support in order to attend the 2023 Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference (DSAC). Scholarship applications are now closed. Participants may also 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

The National Down Syndrome Society 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. Nominations for 2023 Champions of Change have closed. We look forward to honoring this year's awardees at the conference! 

Champions of Change Recipients  

  • Stephen Beck Jr. Advocate of the Year Award – Shawn Vela of Vela’s Visuals  
  • Self-Advocate of the Year Award – Matthew Cullen  
  • DS-Ambassador of the Year Award – Courtney Gaines  
  • Individual Leader of the Year Award – Sheryl Arno  
  • Buddy Walk of the Year Award – Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas 
  • Organization of the Year – Kelly and Kelso 


Exhibitor Opportunities

NDSS is excited to offer the opportunity to organizations such as advocacy organizations, service providers, and self-advocate-owned businesses to exhibit on both the pre-conference day (April 17, 2023) and advocacy training day (April 18, 2023). For more information on exhibitor opportunities please email Jessica Kuss at jkuss@ndss.org.

2023 Conference Legislative Priorities

Below are the legislative priorities for the 2023 Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference. Learn more about these priorities here.

  • Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act 

  • Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (S. 533/H.R. 1263) 

  • Inclusion of the Down Syndrome Community in Alzheimer's Initiatives

  • Increased membership on the Congressional Task Force on Down Syndrome  

  • Increased funding for the INCLUDE project at NIH