Brennan, my Mom and just returned from Sacramento where we attended the National Down Syndrome Congress' annual convention. It was amazing! I learned so much useful information from the workshops, was inspired by the self-advocate and other general session speakers and was able to meet so many wonderful families. I can't begin to express the joy I felt at seeing so many beautiful faces in one place. To walk into our hotels restaurant for breakfast and see a person with Down syndrome at every table was like walking into a dream. So far from our every day reality, but so wonderful.
On Friday, I attended a workshop on Oral Motor Therapy presented by Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson and can say without a doubt that this was the most interesting workshop I have ever attended. Everything she said made so much sense and seems incredibly beneficial for kids with Down syndrome. I can't wait to start the therapy with Brennan (I'll share more on this in a separate post). Then, I attended a Mom's Sharing Session for parents of kids from newborns through two years old. The session was hosted by Kathryn Lynard Soper, the editor of the book Gifts and the soon to be released Gifts 2. To have a place where 40 or so moms could get together in person and share their feelings about their children with Down syndrome was truly a gift. I learned strategies for managing time, heard views on the role and importance (or lack thereof) of therapies, and cried many tears hearing the emotions and concerns of other moms - being able to clearly recall experiencing the same very intense feelings and concerns when Brennan was born. The session was an hour and a half long, but we all had so much to share and wish we could have stayed there for hours and hours.
After the sharing session, we headed to the opening session where we were inspired by three self-advocates who spoke about their lives and their achievements. The opening session was followed by a reception with cocktail and hors d'oeuvres, but Brennan and I were both pretty worn out after a long day of travel the day before (which included a flight delay, a missed connection and an unexpected stay overnight in Texas), so we stayed at the reception for only a short while, then headed back to our hotel for the night.