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Annual Development Disabilities Awareness Conference set for May in Niagara Falls


Thu, May 2nd 2024 10:50 pm

Registration is open for event featuring workshops, keynote speakers and vendors

Registration is open for a staple of the area developmental disability community – the 36th annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day (DDDAY) taking place on Tuesday, May 21, at the Niagara Falls Convention Center (NFCC), 101 Old Falls St.

DDDAY is a marquis event of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of WNY, which is a collaborative group of member voluntary agencies who provide services to people with disabilities in the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions.

This conference brings together advocates, industry-connected vendors and suppliers, local and regional agencies, and leading experts to present on a wide variety of topics during the event. The event, run by volunteers, is the largest one of its kind in the U.S. People with disabilities, families and professionals from across the region work together to present a comprehensive, informative conference.

Professionals from many different area agencies that specialize in services for people with developmental disabilities and similar health-related industries will be on hand to provide workshops, guidance, literature, and general information about services and emerging trends.

The keynote speaker is Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed., a certified sexuality educator by AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) and is the founder of Disability Workshops, now Elevatus Training LLC. She is the author of Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities Curriculum, develops educational materials for others to use in teaching and communicating, and has been a sexuality educator and trainer for over 25 years. McLaughlin’s focus is to help self-advocates, educators, direct support staff, parents and others to become sexuality educators themselves and learn how to teach or talk about this topic. Her educational materials and training help raise their level of confidence.

Other featured speakers include Emyle Watkins, lead disability reporter/disabilities beat at WBFO; and Frank Cammarata, executive director, Erie County Office for People with Disabilities. There will also be a pop-up art exhibit, an interactive health session, and awards presented to people with developmental disabilities, professionals, organizations and volunteers.

The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a reception following from 3-5 p.m. For 2024, the schedule will be different from past years with the main workshops occurring in the morning and a feature presentation offered after lunch. Workshop descriptions and registration are available at www.ddday.org. Tickets are $30 in advance to attend, $50 including lunch, and $35 at the door (no lunch).

The lead sponsor for the event is Person Centered Services Care Coordination Organization. The NFCC is fully accessible. Ample parking options surround the center and parking will be discounted for city lots.

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