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Over 400 parents, educators, artists and inclusion advocates make 8th annual All Born (In) Conference a success

As the All Born (In) Conference approaches its 10th birthday, we take a moment to reflect upon a movement that has grown up along with our children. Daniel Jarvis-Holland and Emma Frome began their advocacy journey together as little ones at the Teddy Bear Rally in Salem in 2002 (below left), and they continue their journey today as empowered youth with the NWDSA/Community Vision Dream Builders program (below right). Both attended this year’s conference as volunteers, and represent an upswell of youth energy that is an increasing part of ABI.

The 2014 conference drew over 450 people, ranging from parents of a 4 month old baby with Down syndrome to the head of Special Ed for Portland Public Schools, from self-advocates to grandparents, all enjoying an inspiring and educational day. In addition to 30 informative and broad-ranging sessions, this year’s keynote speakers included Sharon Lewis, Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Disability Policy; Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite, Assistive Technology/Literacy Consultant; and Michael Callahan, President at Marc Gold & Associates.

Feedback from the conference

“More emotions than I can count or process today. But let’s start with gratitude and a big dose of validation. This has been a hard year of school. And sometimes I was wondering if I was just an inclusion Pollyanna, making this stuff up to make myself feel better. Hearing All Born (In) speakers lay out all the arguments [we] have used this year, seeing the research to support those arguments in plain pixels on the screen, being reminded that life is so much more the PTOTSPEECH, that his is real, vital, true HARD WORK every step of the way, that there
are teachers and administrators and employers who get it. I laughed, I cried, I raged ... and at the end, I am just so grateful that I have this movement, these people as my home base. I am not crazy. My kids -- all kids -- deserve more and better. And we will move forever forward.”

“Amazing day, inspiring, educational and emotional...every step we take to remind people of the importance of our children in school and this world included is most important! Finding a voice even when it is hard is our goal. I felt the heart and soul of so many people there hoping to change the world one person at a time. Thank you NWDSA for the work and support you give our community.”

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