Each year, the Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas’ annual conference brings together members of the community to learn from our collective accomplishments and the expertise of professionals. This conference serves as a platform to share cutting-edge developments and information from specialists in their respective fields, as it relates to Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. You’ll experience first class presenters and hands on sessions full of information you can take back to your homes, businesses and classrooms and use immediately including:
• Accommodations and modifications
• Independent living
• Post high school transitions
• Self help skills
• Grade to grade transitions
• ENT manifestations
Who should attend?
Parents, educators, medical professionals, service providers, direct care staff, and advocates are all encouraged to attend. Our goal is to provide attendees with practical information and tools to help individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities be independent and lead productive, fulfilling lives.
The conference also provides a great opportunity to network with fellow participants and to shop the resource fair for products and information that will help support people with intellectual disabilities both at home and at school. Be sure to stop by the Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas table to find out more about our programs and resources available.
Presenters and Sessions
Michael Remus, Co-founder at Possibilities, Inc. and Director of Student Services at Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School District
Keynote 1: Are We There Yet with Inclusive Practices after 40 Years? - This keynote will hopefully recharge people to keep advocating for more inclusive practices knowing we have an uphill battle not only in our schools but at the federal and state level with implementing the law that was passed in 1975. Are we there yet? Not yet but we must keep striving to move the system ahead.
Strategies for Supporting Positive Behaviors in the Inclusive Classroom - This session will deal with all the issues that can cause behavior issues in the classroom and how we must address the root cause for a behavior. Unless we get to the root of the behavior discipline and behavior plans are not going to work as we would not be treating the root cause.
A Community of Practice for Inclusive Education - This session will deal with all the audiences needed to support inclusive practices and how to obtain their buy-in for moving a school system to more inclusive practices. Strategies for each audience will be provided and the participants can take and create their own activities to use in their own school district to move towards more inclusive practices.
Stump the Director - This session will be geared for participants to bring any legal questions and issues they are facing with their school district to see if they can stump the director. Participants can come and ask any questions they have about what they are dealing with so the director can answer their questions and give them suggestions and/or recommendations on how to move past the barriers facing them.
Tim Harris, Restaurateur, inspirational speaker, and social change advocate, Tim’s Big Heart Foundation
Keynote 2: Seven Steps to an Awesome Life - Tim Harris will be speaking on living life to the fullest using the seven steps he integrates into his daily life and how he stays so positive.
Tim Harris and Lori Fierro, Tim’s Big Heart Foundation
Living an Independent Life Successfully - Tim will discuss the steps he has taken to live independently as a young adult. He will discuss challenges he has faced and how he has worked to overcome these challenges and the people who have helped him along the way. There will also be a time for questions and answers with Tim and Lori.
Julie Harmon, Director of Parent Services, PEAK Parent Center, Colorado Springs, CO
Accommodations and Modification to the Curriculum: Ensuring Meaningful Participation in General Education Classrooms - In this fun, hands-on workshop, families and educators will explore real examples of accommodations (changes in how a student learns and shows what he/she knows) and modifications (changes in what a student learns) for students with disabilities! Participants of this workshop will: learn about the role of accommodations and modifications and the differences between each, explore various tools and strategies that can assist teachers and parents, and will learn how to include individualized accommodations and modifications on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This session will also explore Universal Design for Learning as a strategy to design curriculum that is accessible to all students!
Transition: Life After High School - Transition is not a one time event, it's a process. And, when it comes to helping support young people with disabilities to enter adulthood, there are unique and important things for students, families, educators, and community members to take into consideration. In this workshop, participants will explore Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals that relate to transition to adulthood, independent living, employment, self advocacy, community resources and more! Transitioning from high school to the adult world brings about tremendous opportunity. This session will help keep a vision of possibilities alive as young people with disabilities are being supported to move from high school to the adult world!
Transition – Grade-to-Grade, School-to-School: Planning for Success - Families and educators should not have to “reinvent the wheel” every time a student changes grades or schools! In this productive workshop, effective transition processes will be explored from preschool through high school! Participants will learn how to collect and share key information so school teams can build on the existing successes and strengths of the student!
Gretchen Champion, MD, The Ear, Nose & Throat Centers of Texas
ENT Manifestations of Down Syndrome - A review of the ear, nose and throat issues in children and adults with Down Syndrome including hearing loss, eustachian tube dysfunction, ear infections, sinusitis, sleep apnea and airway obstruction.
Kari Zerbe, Chairman of the Board, Rise School of Dallas
Self Help Skills in the Early Childhood Years to Create Independence - This session will cover effective strategies in the areas of adaptive/self help skills that will better promote and increase independence in young children. We will discuss being successful and realistic while mastering skills.
Ruth Thompson, Founder and President at HUGS Café & Mary Ann Pyron, Blake's Snow Shack
Employer Panel - This session will focus on the opportunities and challenges associated with employment for people with intellectual disabilities. Panelists will share their personal entrepreneurial experiences with ample time for question and answer