When Angela was born and we received her diagnosis of Down syndrome, I quickly immersed myself in the DS community. (and that was pre-internet days!) I became a board member of the the DS association of MN (DSAM)
When Angela was 7 I was lead to the Downsyn.com forums, which happens to be THE best place on the net to discuss all things related to DS!!! (and yes, even better than Facebook.) Downsyn is my internet home.
As Angela got older I started public speaking, traveling all of the US. I've spent 17 years attending conferences and workshops - including the NDSC convention - and have met some of my dearest friends among the other parents with whom I share this walk. Friends I cannot wait to wrap my arms around again each year.
Imagine the feeling of shock I felt when, one week before the conference, I was informed that the director of Reece's Rainbow had contacted the board of the NDSC and expressed her concern because I was attending the conference.
Did you just pick your chin up off the floor like I did?
What in the world was the purpose of this? Was it to get me banned from the conference? Apparently the $20,000 which Reece's Rainbow contributed to the NDSC in the last year talks, because there is no way if I, as a general member, requested such a meeting that it would actually happen. Money talks people, and some will take advantage of that. That said, I never knew I was such an influential person that someone felt the need to express their discomfort at my attending a conference with several thousand other people. I will be careful to not let that go to my head.
Let me explain something: I did not drag my kids 1/2 way across the country because I wanted to engage in a dialog about Reece's Rainbow. No. Like everyone else I brought my kids to a conference to meet others like them, for Angela to find her own voice in the Youth and Adult conference, to gather information about DS and the issues WE face in our family every day, and to see my old friends again. THOSE are the reasons I attend the NDSC conference.