Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fantastic Speakers lined up for the CDSS Conference 5/18-5/20

The 2012 Canadian Down Syndrome Conference is May 18-20 in Toronto.

Remember to register for the conference if you haven't yet - spots are filling up fast. We hope to see you there!

  • You can also download the 2012 Conference Preview brochure. Included in the brochure is more information about the conference, including a short list of sessions!
  • Download it here: 2.3 MB (PDF file)
  • If you have any questions or concerns please email

Keynote and Endnote Speakers

Our Keynote Speaker: Marlee Matlin
Academy Award winning actress, author, mother, and advocate.
MarleeMarlee Matlin received worldwide critical acclaim for her motion picture debut in Paramount Pictures’ Children of a Lesser God, earning her the Academy Award for Best Actress. At age 21, she became the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar, making her one of only four actresses to receive that honour for a film debut. In addition to the Oscar, Matlin was honoured by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama.

Passionate about children, she has also appeared in a number of educational and children’s programs. She can currently be seen starring in Disney’s highly acclaimed Baby Einstein DVD series, teaching sign language to infants and toddlers.

Matlin currently serves as a National Celebrity Spokesperson for the American Red Cross, encouraging Americans to donate blood. She has worked on behalf of closed captioning and was instrumental in getting Congress to pass federal legislation requiring all televisions manufactured in the United States be equipped with closed captioning technology. She also serves on the boards of a number of charitable organizations including Easter Seals, The Children Affected by Aids Foundation, as well as those charities which primarily benefit children. In 1995, Matlin served as Chairperson for National Volunteer Week and was honored in a White House Rose Garden ceremony by President Clinton. In 2006 Matlin was honored by AOL as “Chief Everything Officer,” highlighting the important contributions of mothers, both home and work environments.

Our Endnote Speaker: Dr. Dave Williams
Astronaut, medical doctor, and parent advocate.

Dr. Dafydd (Dave) Rhys WilliamsWith a passion for healthcare and risk management, prior to entering the Canadian Space Agency's program, Dr. Dave Williams worked as an emergency room doctor and later as director of emergency services at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Formerly the director for the McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics, where he led a team dedicated to developing innovative technologies to assist the development of local and remote patient care. July 2011 marked a new journey for Williams as he became President and Chief Executive Officer of Southlake Regional Health Centre.

Dave Williams joined an exclusive club when he blasted into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, and again on Shuttle Endeavour where he walked out into the great beyond. Having also lived and worked in the world's only underwater ocean laboratory, he became Canada's first dual astronaut and aquanaut.

A true Canadian hero, Williams is down-to-earth with a compelling and unique approach to peak performance, environmental stewardship, our futures and risk management.

2012 Speakers and Sessions

Sessions in Red are Self-Advocate Friendly
Sessions in Blue are Self-Advocate Only
  1. Sara Bingham: Enhancing Language and Lessening Frustration
  2. Emily Bolyea-Kyere: An Introduction to the Best Buddies Friendship Program
  3. Patrice César: Film Presentation: Trisomie 21 Défi Pérou (translated title: Up with Downs: The Peruvian Challenge)
  4. Dr. Brian Chicoine: Promoting Health for Adolescents and Adults with Down Syndrome
  5. Jim Cochrane: Step by Step- A Lifetime of Transitions 
  6. Joe Dale and Mark Wafer: Employment Options for Adults Who Have a Disability
  7. Maria Dellapina, Specs 4 Us: Children's Vision Awareness for Parents and Guardians
  8. Sujeet Desai: My Story: Improvising Disability with Multiple Intelligence
  9. Dr. Koch: Whats Next: Politically, Practically, and Socially (Bioethics of Prenatal Screening)
  10. Laura LaChance: Dental Care and Down Syndrome
  11. Barbara Laird: Before Behavior Begin
  12. Arleigh Luckett and Kristy Simons: Potty Time- A Whole Body Approach to Toilet Learning
  13. Marlee Matlin: Self-Advocate Meet & Greet 
  14. Dr. Dennis McGuire: Promoting Strengths and Creative Potential in Persons with Down Syndrome
  15. Mercer Family: Leaving Home
  16. Karen Meredith Blott: Getting What You Want: Why You Need to Consider Personality
  17. Lorraine Paquin, Jullian Paquin, and Nicole Paquin: Advocacy and Action
  18. Dr. Gordon L. Porter, CM: Making the Case for Inclusion: Strategies for Parent Activists
  19. Dr. Mary Pothos: Medical Issues in Children with Down Syndrome: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know and More
  20. Erin Sheldon: Using Technology for Inclusion
  21. Sarah Strathy and Maryanne Bruni, Silver Creek Preschool: Total Communication Approach in an Integrated Pre-school
  22. Catherine St. Cyr: The Benefits of the Montessori Experience for Children with Down Syndrome
  23. Surrey Place Centre: Caregiver Tools and Strategies for the Health of Boys and Men with Down Syndrome
  24. Surrey Place Centre: Caregiver Tools and Strategies for the Health of Girls and Women with Down Syndrome
  25. Surrey Place Centre: What You Need to Know… All About Your Health 
  26. Voices At The Table Advocacy (VATTA) Committee: Down Syndrome: The Evolution

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