About NADS

En Español
About NADS
Board of Directors & Staff
History of NADS
Our Partners
Contact NADS


New Parents
Teens & Adults
Grandparent Support
Nursing Pages
Products & Publications
Government Affairs

Help Us

Donate to NADS

Resources & Information

Down Syndrome Facts
Human Interest
Local Support Groups

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.”

2014 NADS Conference


September 13, 2014

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Rosemont, IL

Conference online registration is now closed. Please call the NADS office at
(630) 325-9112
with any questions,
or to register over the phone.

Vendor Table Registration

Conference SCHEDULE

8:00-9:00 AM Registration
9:00–9:10 AM Opening Remarks
Steve Connors, President
Diane Urhausen, Executive Director
9:10–10:25 AM “Leading a Purposeful Life”
JJ Hanley, Founder & Director, and
Associate Director, Ventures at Search, Inc.
Mary Therese Simons, Self Advocate,
Crew Member, Trader Joe’s
Teddy Kremer, Self Advocate,
Bat Boy for the Cincinnati Reds
Ashley Wallace, Captain, Trader Joe’s
10:25–10:30 AM Rob Snow, Stand Up for Downs
10:30 - 11:00 AM Break and Vendor Perusal
11:00 AM–12:15 PM Workshops
12:15–12:30 PM Lunch Pick Up
12:30–1:15 PM Lunch and “Minimize the Mountain” - Rob Snow
A humorous show about overcoming or at least minimizing obstacles
1:15–1:45 PM Break and Vendor Perusal
1:45–3:00 PM Workshops
3:00–3:15 PM Break and Vendor Perusal
3:15–4:30 PM Workshops


Conference for teens and adults with Down syndrome (16 and older) will run concurrently with the general conference. Space will be limited so register early. NADS members will be given first priority. Absolutely no on-site registration.

8:00 – 9:00 AM Check-In
9:00 – 9:15 AM Welcome and Introductions
9:15 – 12:30 Participants will rotate through the following 4 workshops:
1. Heartwords – Barry Siegel
2. Drama – Sarah Rose Graber
3. Relationships – Jen Geibure
4. Workplace Behavior – JJ Hanley
5. NADS Self-Advocate Presentation
12:30 – 1:15 PM Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 PM No Boundaries – JJ Hanley
2:15 – 3:15 PM Collective Soul
3:15 – 3:30 PM Break
3:30 – 4:15 PM Dance
4:15 – 4:30 PM Wrap up


Attendees should choose THREE Workshops:

Birth – Three Years Old

1. The Wonder Years—Medical and Developmental Concerns

Cathy DiVincenzo, MD
Kids First Pediatric Partners, Skokie, IL
This presentation will explore the amazing growth and development of young children with Down syndrome, as well as common medical issues in children with Down syndrome.

2. Transitioning from Early Intervention to Preschool (and Beyond!)

Jenny Somone and Marianne McGuire
Parent Liasons
Child and Family Connections of DuPage County and PACT, Inc., Lisle, IL
Topics in this presentation will include the details of the transition process from Early Intervention to Preschool, what to expect from your school district, and what you can do as a parent advocate to aid the transition process. This workshop will help you to be a more comfortable and confident participant in the planning of educational services.

3. Communication and the Young Child with Down Syndrome

Julie Levin, MS, SLP
Wee Speech, P.C., Skokie, IL
This presentation will explore oral motor skills and communication skills in children with Down syndrome and will provide ideas to enhance speech, language, and feeding development.

4. Gross Motors Skills Development in Children with Down Syndrome

Virginia Girten, PT, PTS
Pediatric Program Liason, Marianjoy
Rehabilitation Hospital, Wheaton, IL
This presentation will explore various types of therapy and everyday activities to improve the gross motor skills of young children with Down syndrome. There will be specific discussion on the benefits of aquatic therapy.

Four – Twelve Years Old

5. Toilet Training for Children with Down Syndrome

Patti Boheme, MS, LCPC, Executive Vice President, Little Friends, Naperville, IL
This presentation will provide techniques that have successfully been used in teaching toilet training to individuals with Down syndrome of all ages and abilities.

6. The “Whys” of Behavior

Geana Connelly, LCPC, Administrator of Behavior Services, Quality Assurance & Strategic Development, Misericordia Home, Chicago, IL
This workshop will provide practical interventions to address challenging behavior and will explain the “whys” of this behavior.

7. The IEP Process: A Parent’s Perspective

Susan Hans, Parent Mentor, Northern Suburban Special Education District (NSSED), Highland Park, Illinois
This workshop will offer a discussion of parent’s involvement in the IEP process and will provide tips and advice so that parents can learn to be instrumental in making it a productive experience.

8. What Siblings Want Parents and Professionals to Know

Katie Arnold, Executive Director, Sibling Leadership Network, Chicago, Illinois
This workshop will share the experience, perspective, and needs of siblings who have a brother or sister with Down syndrome.
Teens and Adults

9. Sexuality and Boundaries for Individuals with Down Syndrome

Katie Frank, MHS, OTRL/L, UIC Developmental Disabilities Family Clinic, Chicago, Illinois
This workshop will identify important key issues in helping teens and adults with Down syndrome learn about sexuality.

10. Health and Mental Wellness Concerns in Teens and Adults with Down Syndrome

Brian Chicoine, MD, Medical Director & Erin Dominiak, MD, Adult Down Syndrome Center, Park Ridge, Illinois
Drs. Chicoine and Dominiak will highlight important health and wellness issues that are unique to teenagers and adults who have Down syndrome.

11. Aging and Down Syndrome

Brian Chicoine, MD, Medical Director & Erin Dominiak, MD, Adult Down Syndrome Center, Park Ridge, Illinois
Drs. Chicoine and Dominiak will discuss medical concerns presented when individuals with Down syndrome become seniors.

All Ages

12. Approaching the Age of Independence: A Parents’ Guide to Their

Child’s Employment
Kristen Sheffield, Executive Director, Parents Alliance Employment Project, Lisle, Illinois
Ms. Tribe will present and discuss the improved quality of life for persons with Down syndrome resulting from individualized employment. This workshop will also explore ways in which parents of a child with Down syndrome can assist in their child’s job search.

13. Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Government Benefits

Sherri Schneider, Family Benefits Solutions, Inc., Buffalo Grove, Illinois
This workshop will provide information about SSI, SSDI, Medicare, Medicaid, and other government benefits that may be available to individuals with Down syndrome.

14. Planning an Employment Journey: A Panel of Employers,

Employees, and Parents
Our exceptional panelists will discuss their first-hand knowledge and perspectives of employment for individuals with Down syndrome. Experiences will be shared by employees who have Down syndrome, employers, and parents.

15. The Importance of Hobbies and Recreation for Individuals with Down Syndrome

Brian Alexander, Meg Nolan & Tynesha Moore, Ray Graham Association, Burr Ridge, Illinois
This workshop will explore the life-long benefits of persons with Down syndrome engaging in hobbies and recreation. Both community-based recreation and activities within human service programs will be addressed.

16. Housing Options for Adults with Down Syndrome

Ann C. Sickon, JD, Executive Director, Center for Independent Futures, Evanston, Illinois
This workshop will focus on planning and identifying opportunities for independent living and housing options for individuals with Down syndrome.

17. Making a Difference for People with Down Syndrome Through National, State and Local Advocacy

Ginny Sessions, Manager, Grassroots & Development Programming, National Down Syndrome Society
This presentation will provide up-to-date reports and discussion of legislation that may affect people with Down syndrome and their quality of life.

18. Increased Communication, Participation and Organization With Technology

Pat Politano, PhD, CCC-SLP, ATP, UIC Institute on Disability and Human Development, Chicago, Illinois
Dr. Politano will discuss the many ways in which assistive technology and augmentative communication enhances communication in persons with Down syndrome.

19. The Changing Role of Fathers of Children with Down Syndrome
A Panel of Members of the Local Chapter of D.A.D.S.

This workshop is open to MEN ONLY.
Fathers from the local D.A.D.S. (Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome) chapter will share the mission of D.A.D.S., which includes the support of fathers and families of individuals with Down syndrome. In addition to personal parenting experiences, they will provide information on membership to and meetings of the D.A.D.S. local chapter.

20. Targeting a Path Towards Successful Adulthood

Barbara Otto, Chief Executive Officer, Health and Disability Advocates, Chicago, Illinois
It’s never too early to begin preparing your child for adulthood. This workshop will provide the tools to create an individualized roadmap for persons with Down syndrome.

21. Legal Planning for Persons with Down Syndrome

L. Mark Russell, Esq., Mount Prospect, Illinois
This workshop will focus on estate planning for persons with Down syndrome and their families. Topics will include supplemental needs trusts and guardianship.

Click here to Register ONLINE Now!

Or, download the mailer and mail a registration form

Vendor Table Registration