Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 1 of the Convention

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.


Catherine Just said...

SO glad we met at the convention. Thank you for commenting on my blog we we didn't lose touch.
Your son is ADORABLE and it was so nice to connect in ways that I cannot connect with mom's of typical children. I appreciate that so much. I look forward to reading your blog and getting to know you and your family better.

Shauna Yule Brasseur said...

So happy to hear about your trip. You and mom and baby B. were on my mind all weekend.

I love you,

Ria said...

Thanks for sharing your experience at the convention. I think I would have really enjoyed the Mom Sharing Session and hearing from the self-advocates. Hopefully we'll get to go to a convention one of these years and maybe we'll get to meet Brennan too. Matthew would sure love more play buddies.

The Paskins Family said...

Hi Sharon!
It was so great to meet you this weekend. You are an amazing person and I am so thankful to be on this journey with you!
Take care!

mum2brady said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog - wish I would have met you :) I wish I knew all the blogging moms that were there - I'm sure there were hundreds of us :) Brennan is just tooo cute!!!! I'm bookmarking your blog so I can visit again!!!

Bethany said...

Aww I'm so jealous! This is the first convention I've missed and I'm just trying not to think about it! The SRJ session is awesome too!

Kim Legendre said...

Have a great time! I hope it is very inspirational for you! Wish I was there!

Grandma Susan said...

The convention was uplifting and an absolute joy. At a grand-parent's session one gentleman's daughter is pregnant with their first grandchild who is diagnosed with DS. Their extended family was there gleaning all possible info. How truly inspiring!!! I look forward to helping put Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson's therapy into action with Brennan. Grandma Susan

dancy said...

Awww, I'm so jealous! I would've loved to have gone...maybe next year. Can't wait to her more about the sessions. I wonder if there is a CD of the conference I can buy??? I will get on that!

Debbie said...

Just met you thru E and Rebecca's blog......JEB is 9 and has Ds.

Come visit with us sometime and get to know us!