Mass. Down Syndrome Community Celebrates 31st Conference

'World Is Ours' Conference features more than two dozen workshops by regional and national experts on a spectrum of topics related to Down syndrome

BOSTON, March 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Saturday, March 28, one week after World Down Syndrome Awareness Day, the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress holds its 31st Annual Conference to celebrate the true acceptance and inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome.

This year's theme, "The World is Ours," is based on people with Down syndrome and their families taking more ownership over all aspects of their lives - education, health care, employment, public policy and recreation. Here in Massachusetts, because of the work of all of you, our loved ones with Down syndrome no longer have to live hidden away in the shadows. At the Conference, held at the DCU in Worcester, Massachusetts, mother-daughter duo Tierney & Naia Fairchild will deliver the Keynote Address. Tierney's talk, titled "Challenging Naia: Toward a Vibrant Future", is modeled on her 2012 address at the National Down Syndrome Congress' annual convention. Then, Naia, 16, will offer her own address, explaining her life, goals and dreams.

The Annual Conference is among the largest educational events on Down syndrome in the nation. It brings together over 600 people with Down syndrome, their family members, health care professionals and educators from across New England attend our Annual Conference on Down syndrome. Participants gather to hear the latest research findings and timely information from national and local experts on a range of topics related to Down syndrome. They also share stories, celebrate victories, advocate for acceptance and inclusion, and reunite with other MDSC families. The conference features presentations that will appeal to families with young children through adulthood and families with children who have complex medical needs and autism. In addition, there will be presentations that will appeal to educators, medical professionals, and siblings of individuals with Down syndrome.

Highlights at the conference include: 

  • More than two dozen workshops
  • Regional and national experts
  • Awards Luncheon Extravaganza
  • Keynote Address by mother-daughter duo Tierney & Naia Fairchild
  • Specialized Tracks for Parents, Educators, Self Advocates and Brothers & Sisters
  • Sessions for families of Children 0-5 years old, Children 5-12, Teens, Adults, Individuals with a Dual Diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism, and Individuals with Complex Needs - there's something for everyone.
  • World is Ours Video Collage, featuring MDSC member-submitted photos.
  • Unveiling of the MDSC "Your Next Star" employment public awareness campaign

About Down Syndrome

World Down Syndrome Awareness Day is celebrated annually on March 21. This date, 3/21, was chosen because Down syndrome occurs when a person has three (rather than two) copies of the 21st chromosome. One in every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome. Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 in 1983 to more than 60 today. People with Down syndrome attend school, work; participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many ways.

About the MDSC

As we have over the past nearly three decades, the MDSC continues to ensure that all individuals in Massachusetts with Down syndrome are valued, included, and given every opportunity to pursue fulfilling lives. In the early years, parents met in a living room to share information about their children, provide support for each other and strategize how to educate their families, schools and communities. More than 28 years later, the MDSC has over 3,000 members, an energetic Board of Directors, a dynamic management team, and a vision to ensure that every person with Down syndrome has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. Today, the MDSC is on the cutting edge of Down syndrome advocacy at a time when an innovative, forward-thinking vision is needed.

Photos accompanying this release are available at:

Tierney and Naia Annual Conference Banner

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