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Down Syndrome Virtual Symposium ~ 10/28/23


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Virtual Down Syndrome Symposium ~ 10/28/23

Saturday, October 28th, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM EDT

Live Stream

Add to Calendar 2023-10-28 11:00:00 2023-10-28 17:00:00 America/New_York Virtual Down Syndrome Symposium ~ 10/28/23

Details to view the event are private and will be sent along with your ticket purchase.


This virtual event will be packed with great information for families who have a loved one with Down syndrome or Down syndrome and Autism.  

Jadene Sloan Ransdell has a B.S. in Special Education and nearly 50 years of experience working with families and professionals in many areas related to developmental disabilities. She has worked with state-wide education systems and developmental disabilities agencies in several states, and in public school classrooms, as well as family involvement programs. Her background also includes the administration of local community, state and federal programs serving families – including military families who had children with disabilities living in Germany.

Her work as a family advocate led her to serve as a volunteer on numerous boards, councils, and organizations. She is a lifetime member of the Family Network on Disabilities of Florida and was a member of the 1998 class of Florida’s Partners in Policymaking. As a former consultant and staff member to the National Down Syndrome Society, Jadene created a national conference focused on adults with Down syndrome, the first of its kind in the United States. Later, she helped develop their Aging and Caregiving programs. A former board member of the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices, Jadene served as the co-chair of the Family Support and Advocacy committee, co-facilitated their national, web-based family caregiver support group, and authored a quarterly caregiver newsletter that was disseminated worldwide. In addition, she administers a Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s Facebook group that supports nearly 1,000 members in the United States and around the world. Jadene has been the recipient of many awards throughout her career, including the NDSS Stephen Beck, Jr. Champion of Change Award, and the Spirit of the NTG Award.

Jadene’s knowledge of family and disability issues is enhanced by her first-hand life adventures with her own family. She and her husband, Joe, shared 51 years together before his death from COVID in March 2021. Their older son, Michael, has given Jadene two grandsons. Her younger son, Matthew, was born with Down syndrome, and has additional diagnoses of Autism, Apraxia, and Non-verbal Tourette’s. Despite a more recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, Matt still leads a successful life of his own, with support in the community. Jadene’s real-world experiences with Matt bring a unique perspective to her work which she shares through her writing, workshops, and seminars.

Jadene began writing a blog (www.agingwithdownsyndrome.com) shortly after Matt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to share the challenges and joys encountered by families and people with Down syndrome who are over 40. In the past few years, she took a break from the blog and has recently published a book, Unwrapping the Gifts of Disability: A Mother’s Reflections on Raising a Son with Down Syndrome. You can follow her at www.agingwithdownsyndrome.com.

In her presentation, Adulting with Down Syndrome: Creating a Meaningful Life, Jadene will share with the group the steps she and Matt, her son with Down syndrome, Autism, Apraxia, and non-verbal Tourette’s, took to create the life he is living fully.  She believes in keeping it real and will share some of the problems they have encountered, as well as the successes Matt has had as he lives an amazing life. During the presentation, Jadene will:

  • Explore the value of future planning
  • Provide examples of Matt’s involvement even though he does not use words or a device to communicate
  • Share the difficulties and successes Matt encounters
  • Provide tips for families wanting to create a meaningful adult life for their loved ones


Dominica Nichols, PhD, RD, LDN is the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She completed a doctorate in Biology at Northeastern University, as well as additional academic and clinical training in the Boston area to become a Nutritionist.

Dominica has a strong background in care coordination in the community and clinical setting as part of an interdisciplinary team. She served as the public-school district nutritionist for Medford and a Clinical Dietitian at Boston Children’s Hospital Primary Care before assuming her current role. She was the Nutritionist for the ECHO Autism Project (2017) at MGH’s Lurie Center for Autism. She now works with individuals with Down syndrome from birth to adulthood and has secondary interests in Autism, ADHD, Weight Management and Selective Eating. She sees conversations about Nutrition as opportunities to help support health, overall wellness, and community participation.

Maximizing nutrition for someone with Down syndrome requires an individualized approach. DS-ASD adds a level of complexity that may require more creativity, but should have the same overall goal: adequate nutrition with a focus on nutrient-density. In Dominica's presentation, Practical Approaches to Maximizing Nutrition for Individuals with DS-ASD, she will share practical tips and important considerations based on clinical experience and parent feedback. 



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Down Syndrome - Autism Connection