Each year WyDSA hosts a conference for people with Down syndrome and their families. WyDSA began hosting the conference in 2006 as a way to provide opportunities for many families to learn from the same experts that are at the national conferences. The conference happens the second weekend in June and is held in Casper each year. The Wyoming Family Conference is a chance for families to get together and spend time talking, sharing information, and learning from world-renowned experts. The conference is free to families due to the successful fundraising efforts of the Wyoming Buddy Walk®.

WyDSA provides respite care and a variety of exciting activities for kids of all ages. This not only makes for a great time for the kids, but also allows parents to focus on their sessions. The kid's sessions change from year to year, but one constant is a special session and activity for siblings.

In addition, there are sessions geared toward teens and adults with Down syndrome. These sessions provide learning opportunities in a fun environment



Save the date! The 2014 Wyoming Down Syndrome Family Conference is scheduled for June 6 and 7, 2014. We will be moving to the Parkway Plaza hotel this year and are very excited about the changes.

Here are the presenters and sessions for parents:

Meredith Martin and Lee Jones

This dynamic team has prepared a presentation that will motivate self-advocates, their parents, support people, and educators.  They offer tips on how to begin improving skills while still at home, encourage participation of self-advocates in the decision-making processes for their future and outline skills needed for independent living. They share methods that worked for them in their different communities.

Lee Jones, a self-advocate from Kansas City, MO, is a goal oriented young man.  He graduated from Graceland University in Iowa in 2000 with a BA degree in recreation and a minor in theater.  He now resides in Kansas City where he works as a fitness attendant and personal trainer as well as an intern in the HR department at the Kauffman Foundation.  Lee has been living independently since graduation from college. Lee has traveled across the United States inspiring audiences in the art of setting goals and achieving them.

Meredith Martin, a self advocate from Neligh, NE, graduated from High school in the year 2000 and moved to her own apartment that fall as her classmates were heading off to college.  Determined from an early age, she obtained her driver’s license to further her independence.  She works part time at the hospital, an assisted living and a grocery store in her community.  Like Lee, she inspires audiences by relating her story of growing up with Down syndrome and sharing her S. T. A. R. philosophy.

Come hear their presentation, "How to Prepare for Independent Living...Now!"

Whether your self advocate hasn't started to school or is graduating from college, it is never too early or too late to start preparing for independent living.

Scott Shepard, M.A., Ed.

Scott wil be presenting a session on positive behavior change.

Scott received his M.A. at California State University, Northridge. He focused on
Special Education, with an emphasis on school and community programs for individuals with severe
handicaps. Currently, Scott is the Executive Director of Avenues Supported Living Services. He is responsible for the overall coordination of Supported Living services for persons with developmental disabilities who live in the San Fernando & Santa Clarita Valleys.

Patti McVay and Laurie Pachl

Patti and Laurie will be presenting a session called Inclusive Education Best Practices.

Patti McVay and Laurie Pachl from Down Syndrome Unites – Championing All Disabilities will be sharing researched best practices to assure the success of all students in general education. They will be sharing specific processes, tools and ideas for curriculum planning, positive behavior supports, IEPs, visuals and much more. Every participant, parent and educator, will leave with ideas they can implement the next day, and feel empowered to take the steps they know are best for their child or student.  Kids are first!! This unique team brings a wealth of information, experience and expertise along with some great fun.

Bob Niemeic

Discovery, Social Capital and Employment

In this presentation, participants will learn the basic principles of Customized Employment using Discovery as the fundamental building block. Among the topics to be presented are: Principles of Customized Employment, Discovering Personal Genius, Linking Interests and Skills, Informational Interviews and Casual Job Development, and Self-Employment. There will also be a discussion about Social Capital and how it advances the employment process. Participants will engage in interactive exercises to illustrate the practices and hear stories of how this approach has resulted in creative employment opportunities for people with disabilities.



Please note that these sessions are open to people with Down syndrome and their families only. If you have any questions please contact Joelle at    307-742-6641.

Past conference presenters include:

Michael Allshouse, D.O.

Lewis Jackson, Ed.D.

Paul Taylor

Brian Chicoine, M.D.

Dennis McGuire, Ph.D.

Joan Medlen, R.D., L.D.

Kristi Menear, Ph.D., CAPE

Jennifer Meyers Bekins, MS, CCC-SLP

Gretchen Carroll, M.A

Terri Couwenhoven, MS

Brian Skotko, M.D., M.P.P.

Sue Levine, MA, CSW