Experience, Research & Practice, Widening Opportunities, Improving Lives


The Health Symposium

Event name: WDSC 2018 Pre-Congress Health Symposium

Organised by: Down Syndrome International

Advised by: Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group – UK and Ireland, Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group – USA

Supported by: Down’s Syndrome Scotland, Down’s Syndrome Association, Down Syndrome Ireland

Attendees: Healthcare providers and researchers with a special interest in the clinical care of people with Down’s syndrome.

Location: Scottish Event Campus, Tuesday24th July 2018

Time: Registration starts 9.30am. Programme starts 10am.

We are delighted to announce that top healthcare providers working with children and adults with Down syndrome from around the world will meet for a 1 day symposium prior to the start of WDSC 2018. This symposium is a rare opportunity for those who specialise in clinical practice and research on Down syndrome to come together and consider current, important developments in prevalent medical conditions.


9:30am: Registration
10am – 10:30am: Speaker

Topic 1
Emerging issues relating to coeliac disease in children with Down’s syndrome

Dr Peter Gillett, Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, United Kingdom Chair of BSPGHAN Coeliac Group

10.30am-11.15am General discussion on this topic

11.15am-11.30am Refreshments

11.30am-12.15pm Speakers

Topic 2
Adult health screening – Should we be screening for conditions less common in Down syndrome which are recommended for the general adult population?

Dr Brian Chicoine, Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, IL, United States

Dr Peter Bulova, Director, University of Pittsburgh Adult Down Syndrome Center, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

12.15pm-1pm General discussion on this topic

1pm-1.45pm Lunch

1.45-2.15pm  Speaker

Topic 3
Sleep disordered breathing in children with Down’s syndrome

Dr Catherine M. Hill, Associate Professor of Child Health, University of Southampton Chair of the Faculty of Medicine Ethics Committee and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Sleep Medicine

2.15pm -3pm General discussion on this topic

3pm- 3.15pm Refreshments

3.15pm-4pm Speakers

Topic 4
Mental health in adults with Down syndrome – prevalence, presentation, grief/bereavement, impact on caretakers/family, comorbid medical concerns, treatment approaches

Dr Anna Esbensen, Associate Professor, Research Director, Jane and Richard Thomas Center for Down Syndrome, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, United States

Dr George Capone, Director Down Syndrome Clinic and Research Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD, United States

4pm-4.45pm General discussion on this topic

4.45pm Close of meeting.

Information for Delegates

Delegates will be seated in cabaret style table set up and, following an initial discussion, will be encouraged to share with the whole group their thoughts on the topic questions, so that hopefully we can reach a consensus view.

The symposium aims to bring together leading professionals and thinkers to take the conversation forward in areas where it is merited, all with the aim of improving healthcare outcomes.

If you are a healthcare provider who works with people with Down syndrome this is a “must attend” event and your input on the day will be very much appreciated.

You can register to attend this symposium at the same time as registering your attendance to WDSC 2018. There will be a small extra charge for attending this event, payable on delegate registration.

Once registered you will be included on a mailing list for regular updates. The event organisers will be in contact with you prior to the event with more information, including questions to consider for general discussion and speaker presentation materials where available.

The Gathering

Is the day before the main Congress starts, for adults with DS to come together, get to know each other and share experiences and stories.

The Commissioners at Down’s Syndrome Scotland have been busy working with Scotland’s Urban Past Project to make The Gathering a fun and exciting day showcasing Glasgow, its history and its people. Delegates will be split into four groups and each will visit one of Glasgow’s amazing museums where they will be shown around and take part in an activity organised by the museum.

We will be having a packed lunch at the museum before heading back to the SEC to share what we found out and what we liked best. Delegates will then have the opportunity to tell us more about where they live and what is important to them about their home and country.

The Commissioners have also been working on a community map of Glasgow which you can find out about later on in the day and have your say about Glasgow by adding to it over the days of the Congress. Delegates will go away with a souvenir postcard booklet of Glasgow and its museums.

Welcome Civic Reception
Wednesday 25th July

In keeping with its reputation as a friendly place to visit, we will start with a warm welcome to the city. The Lord Provost of Glasgow (City Mayor) will personally welcome delegates at a drinks reception at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Just a short walk from the SEC across the river Clyde, the Glasgow Science Centre gives delegates the opportunity to mingle over three floors of fascinating interactive exhibits, as well as see the spectacular cityscape views. The Glasgow Science Centre really is a blast – no wonder it’s one of Scotland’s favourite visitor attractions. There’s a bunch of stuff to see and do here – there’s hundreds of interactive exhibits in the Science Mall, a Planetarium, Scotland’s biggest-screen IMAX cinema, and a Science Show Theatre!

Family Scottish Night
Thursday 26th July

Just a short walk from the SEC, the Hilton Hotel will be the venue for our Family Scottish Night.

A relaxed and informal evening, you’ll be able to dance the night away learning some of Scotland’s iconic ceilidh dances – maybe The Gay Gordons, The Dashing White Sergeant, Eightsome Reel or Strip the Willow. After all that dancing you’ll be hungry for the Scottish themed buffet and a sit down. Then, before you know it, you’ll get your second wind and once more be up dancing – or as we say in these parts “hookin and chookin”.

Ticket Price: £24 for adults & £12 for under 18’s

Gala Dinner
Friday 27th July

Our four fabulous days will end with the Gala Dinner, again hosted at the Hilton Hotel. A formal sit down dinner in the beautifully dressed ballroom, will precede the Down Syndrome International Awards ceremony.

Ticket Price: £40

World Down Syndrome Day Awards

Down Syndrome International announces awards in voluntary, professional and scientific categories on World Down Syndrome Day (21 March) in the year before each World down Syndrome Congress.

Any DSi member or member organisation can nominate an individual, group or organisation whose voluntary, professional or scientific activities have strengthened and enriched the lives of people with Down syndrome.

All recipients are invited to a formal presentation of World Down Syndrome Day Awards at the WDSC, with the next presentation to take place at WDSC 2018, Glasgow in July 2018.

Congratulations to:

Agron Shehaj, Emmanuel Joseph Bishop, Emmanuela Zaimi, Professor Jennifer Wishart, Dr Patricia Gunn, sarder Razzak, Saylee Agavane, Soela Zani and the University of Queensland Down Syndrome Research Program.

Finally, we’ll dance to the edge of time before our bitter sweet farewells and promises to each other again “For Auld Lang Syne”.


Our draft programme has been published – click on the link below to see the depth and breadth of the topics covered in this year’s Congress. There truly is something for everyone.

We now have over 160 sessions and over 60 poster presentations; as well as four international films starring actors with Down syndrome; 12 plenary speakers including three with Down syndrome; dance, music and drama performances. 

The full programme is being finalised at present and we’ll inform everyone when it is available to view.

In the meantime browse through the programme to highlight some of the speakers and sessions you want to attend.

We believe that this year’s Congress will be the best ever!

Please note that the draft programme isn’t final until each presenter has confirmed to attend and present. The final version will be published as soon as available.  The Early Bird deadline for Family tickets has been extended until midnight BST 31st May 2018.