‘Must Attend’ Event For Health Workers

Are you a health professional, working with people with Down syndrome? If so don’t miss out on the World Down syndrome Congress 2018. I can guarantee it will be one of the most enjoyable CPD experiences you will ever have.

I am a Paediatrician based at Nottingham Children’s Hospital in the UK. I run a service for children with Down syndrome, and am a founder member and current web editor for the UK and Ireland Down Syndrome Medical interest Group. I first experienced the World Down Syndrome Congress in Vancouver in 2006, and was blown away by the experience so much so that I have not been able to stay away since, and now plan my professional and personal life around attending each 3 years.

The Congress is unlike any other meeting I have ever been to. Health professionals will find parts of it familiar, with lectures, paper presentations and posters on medical and related scientific topics as you would find at any medical meeting. You will be able to hear about the latest research, and learn about good practice in the care of individuals with the syndrome from experts around the world. At the pre congress Health symposium on 24th July, the focus will be entirely clinical, concentrating on the important topics of sleep disordered breathing, coeliac disease, adult health screening and mental health.

However the congress offers so much more. From an academic point of view, you will be able to learn from other professional disciplines – it is always very enlightening and refreshing to see how other health professionals, colleagues in education and social care approach their work in supporting people with Down syndrome, and conduct their research.

I have returned from each congress with new information and ideas that I have incorporated into my day to day practice. I have built relationships with colleagues from around the world that I have been able to draw upon for collaborative work and clinical discussion between congresses.

But the real treat is the people – a unique opportunity to spend time with people with Down syndrome and their families from around the globe, to get a glimpse into their lives, and develop a greater awareness of their needs, hopes and aspirations, to better understand the challenges they may face, and to be able to join together in celebrating achievements.

And then there are the social events – there will be entertainment by talented musicians and dancers with Down syndrome, films to watch and I expect a wee dram or two will be consumed – after all – it is in Scotland, and the Scots are well known for their hospitality.

So – this congress is certainly not yet another dry academic meeting. The research and learning are certainly there – but so are the people and relationships, which will last well beyond the congress.

My experience at previous congresses has had a major impact on me personally and in my work with children with Down syndrome.

I cannot wait for WDSC2018- See you there?

Dr Liz Marder , Consultant Paediatrician, Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

June 2018

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