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Annual Conference

Important Announcement Regarding Coronavirus and 2020 MDSC Conference

After careful consideration, MDSC has made the difficult decision to cancel our 36th Annual Conference on March 28, 2020 at the DCU Center due to risks associated with the coronavirus.  

Our decision to cancel our flagship educational event was not taken lightly. It was made after closely monitoring updates and recommendations from the MA Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and after conferring with MDSC leadership, including our Board chair and the chair of our Medical and Scientific Advisory Council. 

Ultimately, our top priority, at our Annual Conference and all MDSC events and gatherings, is our members' and participants' health and safety. 

Although we are all incredibly disappointed about this news, we are already discussing the development of a Virtual Annual Conference, which will include speaker presentations, so that our members can have access to the important resources and information that have already been prepared. 

This is a first for us. In the three and half decades of MDSC’s Annual conference, we have never NOT held the event live and in person to learn together and celebrate our loved ones with Down syndrome. We truly appreciate your support and understanding as we respond to this public health crisis that is emerging.  The safety and well-being our of our members is our #1 priority.


As the late disability advocacy pioneer Dr. Allen Crocker used to say, our community is resilient and we will “Carry On!” 

Stay tuned to our website, social media channels and your email inbox for more information as plans for our Virtual Annual Conference evolve.  

Please contact us at if you have any questions.


Conference Collage

About the Annual Conference

For the past 36 years, MDSC and our families have been paving the way to a brighter future for our loved ones with Down syndrome. The world continues to change rapidly - new technologies, new treatments, and new research are on the horizon for people with Down syndrome and their families. While it can be daunting for families to access and understand how this may impact their lives and that of their loved ones with Down syndrome, it affords us the opportunity to continue to forge a path forward using every tool available - communication, collaboration, advocacy, education, and, ultimately, by standing up for what’s right.

Together, we will delve deep into the promising developments in Down syndrome research and the exciting potential it has for the future. Our workshops will highlight innovative clinical trials and explore the studies underway nationwide that have promise to make a difference in people’s lives. We will cover the latest research on nutrition and physical fitness, education, clinical care, technology, behavior, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few. Families will learn how to participate in Down syndrome-specific research studies on many of these topics.

For decades now, we have been powerful trailblazers, both individually and collectively, truly altering public perceptions, raising expectations and improving the lives of our loved ones with Down syndrome and our society for the better. 


Each spring, hundreds of people with Down syndrome, their family members, health care professionals and educators from across New England attend our Annual Conference. Participants gather to hear the latest research findings and important 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. 


Customized Tracks

  • General Session Workshops – Parents, family member and professionals will learn from expert speakers about how to help individuals with Down syndrome acquire the necessary skills to lead fuller, healthier, more independent lives.
  • Self-Advocate Workshops– Young adults with Down syndrome will have an opportunity to network and share experiences, strengthen their self-advocacy skills, and learn about the importance of leading a healthy life and building meaningful relationships. More...
  • Brothers and Sisters Workshops– Siblings of people with Down syndrome will hear how other brothers and sisters deal with the joys and challenges inherent in being a sibling. Creates a forum for sharing stories and learning the importance of advocacy. More...
  • Education Workshops– Educators and parents will learn best practices for educating students with Down syndrome in an inclusive classroom, as well as the benefits of inclusion for all learners.

Awards Luncheon/ Self Advocate Extravaganza
At the Awards Luncheon portion of our Annual Conference, we are proud honor those individuals who have made a significant impact on the Down syndrome community. The MDSC presents four awards during the luncheon:

  • Media Award
  • Educator of the Year Award
    Leadership Awards
  • Allen Crocker Award of Excellence 
  • Employer Award

Our luncheon has also become the perfect forum to highlight the individuality and determination of MDSC self-advocates. We do this through our MDSC Self Advocate Extravaganza presentation and the unveiling of our Annual Conference Video Montage, featuring MDSC member-submitted photos.

Annual Meeting
Every year, the morning of our Annual Conference, the MDSC holds our Annual Meeting, where members get an overview of our work over the last year and the latest updates of what we have in store. The Annual Meeting is at 8 a.m. in Room A of the DCU Center. All are welcome to attend, and a special breakfast is included. 

Diversity Breakfast
MDSC will host a Diversity Breakfast that morning for culturally diverse families from 7:45 - 8:45am in the 2nd floor lounge area of the DCU Center. 

What people had to say about our Annual Conference:

"Always heartwarming and magnificent. This year did not disappoint. Enjoyed the loving authenticity of the keynote and award winners."

“There is a great feeling of empowerment and education throughout the day.”

"The info that I got was invaluable, incredible amount and value of content! time flew by. I thoroughly enjoyed listening and learning."

"Awesome speaker, always love the slide show and hearing our stories. Humbling and amazing to see the accomplishments and dedication of this community."

“[It was] very inspiring to spend the day within such a tight knit community!”

“We gained helpful insight for fielding potential medical issues we may face, resources for staying current on cognitive development research, introductions to wonderful new parents who inspired us by their courage, a glimpse of the broader MDSC organization at the awards luncheon, encouragement by the honorees' community awareness and involvement, personal connection with DADS and so much more!