Annual Conference

NADSP Annual Conference:  The Fourth One


Make your plans now to celebrate DSP week!

September 7 & 8, 2018
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton

1820 Market St.,St Louis, Missouri, 63103

Join NADSP in St. Louis, Missouri  on September 7 and 8, 2018 to ring in DSP week.  You will have an opportunity to learn about best practices, share stories, network and gain insight on building direct support excellence.

We will also be bringing back our Networking Neighborhood this year as well as the awarding of The John F Kennedy, Jr Award for Direct Support Advocacy & Leadership and reception.


The final agenda will be released shortly.

Keynote Presentations:

Ronnie Polaneczky

Ronnie Polaneczky’s deeply reported four-part series in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily  News, “Falling Off the Cliff,” offered readers an informative and emphatic look into the world of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the aging families who love them. In this presentation, she and one of her interviewees, Philadelphia DSP Nicholas Smith, will discuss what the DSP industry must do to attract and retain highly skilled, emphatic workers to care not just for those with ID/D but for all who will require one-on-one professional support in their lives. Through presentation and audience participation, attendees will develop a renewed appreciation for those who care for the country’s most vulnerable population as well as a greater understanding of the personal and professional needs of America’s DSP workforce.

David Pitonyak

Toolbox for Change: Staying Present and Mindful When Things Fall Apart

Sometimes it’s tough to stay clear about what matters. When things fall apart, when chaos breaks out, it’s tough to stay grounded and remind ourselves what really matters, what really counts. This presentation lists some ideas for jumping head first into chaos while maintaining focus (and a sense of humor).

Karyn Harvey

Trauma-informed care with individuals with intellectual disabilities

This session will review the sources of trauma for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the effects of that trauma and the ways in which staff and programs can assist individuals in trauma recovery. To begin with we will look at the many causes of trauma for people with IDD. Next we will explore the biological, psychological and psychiatric effects in detail. The actual symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and the ways in which these symptoms are manifested in people with IDD will be explored.
Next, we will discuss the healing process. The key ingredients for initial recovery from trauma will be presented. The actions and approaches that are most effective on the level of the direct support professional will be outlined. Finally, happiness and the pursuit of happiness will be discussed and the happiness assessment tool will be introduced.
Participants will be able to identify causes of trauma in the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities,participants will be able to recognize the key symptoms of post- traumatic stress disorder and participants will be able identify the key ingredients to happiness.

Conference Registration Options:

Early bird, NADSP member, full conference registration $189

Early bird, NADSP non-member, full conference registration $209

NADSP member, full conference registration $219

NADSP non-member, full conference registration $249

Early bird sales end July 31, 2018

To register for the conference:  

Click here to register for the conference


The Fourth One will be held at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, 1820 Market St.,St Louis, Missouri, 63103..  There is a designated conference rate for single and double rooms starting at $129 per night.  You must book your rooms by phoning 1-314-231-1234 and let them know that you are part of the NADSP (National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals) Conference, please book early as rooms will sell out!  The last day for the conference rate is August 6th but rooms sold out prior to that date last year.

Ground Transportation:


Conference Attire:

Feel free to dress in casual conference or business casual attire but we highly recommend layers. It is very difficult to control the temperature in large conference spaces – very often too hot or too cold.  Don’t hesitate, bring that extra sweater.

Conference Technology and WI-FI:

Bring extra batteries for phones and laptops as there are limited charging areas.  We are unable to have cords strung across walkways as they pose a tripping hazard. In an effort to provide the best conference experience for all attendees, cell phones should be set to silent during presentations.

Conference Social Media:

When tagging the conference on social media, use #NADSP2018

Conference Exhibitors & Sponsors:

Sponsorship and Exhibitor information will be forthcoming.


Please contact Nicole Dama at 518-795-3505 or


NADSP Annual Conference:  The Fourth One


One Friday evening, September 7th we will ring in DSP week with a reception honoring our fourth “John F Kennedy, Jr. Award for Direct Support Professional Advocacy & Leadership.”  This award is named after the ideological founder of NADSP.

Who should attend the conference?

  • Direct Support Professionals: The conference is geared toward building direct support professionalism and will inspire those who are currently doing the work.
  • Agency Administrators, Trainers and Human Resources
  • Professionals: Provider agency leaders will gain vital information about addressing the serious issues confronting direct support workforce recruitment, retention and building a culture of direct support competence
  • People with disabilities: Self-advocates are important partners in building direct support competence and recognition and we encourage people with disabilities to come and share your direct support perspective.
  • Parents and family members: We hope to encourage our guests and those attending the Sibling Leadership Network’s conference an opportunity to network!
  • I/DD Professionals: Professionals, including researchers, can gain a stronger understanding of direct support practice and how “quality id defined at the point of interaction,”
  • Policy Makers: In order to address some serious issues like low wages, access to quality training, career paths and credentialing – we hope to engage policy makers on the vital connection that exists between people receiving support and those who directly provide it.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!