LCRA Grant Helps Down Home Ranchers To Attend Special Conference
A generous grant from the Employees’ United Charities of the Lower Colorado River Authority made it possible for 11 residents with Down syndrome and six staff members to attend the annual convention of the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) held mid-July at Disney World in Orlando, FL.
Down Home Ranch is a ranch community near Elgin for adults with Down syndrome and other conditions resulting in lifelong intellectual disabilities. Thirteen of the Ranch’s 21 permanent resi- dents attended the conference.
The NDSC is a national educational and advocacy organization that reaches out to parents who have a child or are expecting a baby with Down syndrome, the leading genetic cause of intellectual disability. The annual convention brings in the foremost authorities on a wide spectrum of issues affecting the Down syndrome community. Down Home Ranch residents attended their own track of the convention, which featured classes in self-advocacy, recreation, relationships, and independent living.
Staff members attended workshops on transitions, current trends in research, fitness and health issues affecting adults with Down syndrome, and other topics.
Jerry Horton, founder and Executive Director of Down Home Ranch, recalls that when his and his wife Judy’s daughter , Kelly, was born in 1984, the NDSC was a powerful source of guidance, information and comfort for their family. “I can’t overemphasize the importance to our residents of being able to attend a conference like this,” he said. “They are inspired by learning what other young people with their condition are accomplishing and are provided avenues for self-expression. It’s a great boost to their self esteem. We are truly thankful to the LCRA for making it possible for them to attend.”
Before the conference began the residents spent a day at Disney World. Residents without Down syndrome who stayed at the Ranch were treated to a day at Fiesta Texas in San Antonio.