Past ASDC Conferences

ASDC has a long history of family conferences.  Here’s a look back at the conferences that have been held and their highlights.

Comments about past conferences include:  “This conference was absolutely the best.” • “We will be back for the next conference and will bring another family with us.”• “My family had a wonderful time!” • “We had an awesome experience!” • “I left the workshop wanting more” • “I learned more than I thought possible.”

Join us at this year’s conference!

2023 ASDC Annual Conference

Language Starts with Me
July 12-14, 2023
Great Wolf Lodge | Williamsburg, VA

LANGUAGE, LAUGHING, AND LOTS OF FUN – THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED IN 2023! If you missed ASDC’s 31st Annual Family Conference: Language Starts With Me in Williamsburg, VA, here’s a recap!

It was an unforgettable experience!

The Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA, was the perfect venue for us to gather. From the informative sessions to engaging youth and family activities to opportunities to connect with other families – conference attendees were busy from sunup to sundown. It was all about language, laughter, and lots of fun!

Dr. Leala Holcomb and Damon Timm were our 2023 Roy Holcomb Distinguished Lecturers.  Learn more about them here.  To see our 2023 general sessions – please view our 2023 conference program below.

We had a blast in Virginia! Thank you for joining us there!

2022 ASDC Annual Conference

Take the Sign-Seeing Route
July 21-23, 2022
Anaheim Hilton | Anaheim, CA

After two long years apart due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we gathered in beautiful sunny Anaheim, CA for our 2022 Annual Family Conference – and we had a blast!

We changed it up a bit in 2022. Instead of a traditional conference format, we held morning sessions and embarked on afternoon activities where we took the “sign-seeing route” around beautiful downtown Anaheim.  We visited Pirates Dinner Adventure, Discovery Cube, and Knotts Berry Farm over the course of three nights and two days.  All of our sign-seeing tours were supported by Deaf Mentors and Interpreters, and a fabulous time was had by all.

Dr. Jaime A.B. Wilson was our 2022 Roy Holcomb Distinguished Lecturer. Presenters also included Stephanie Olson and ASDC Board President Malibu Barron.  Our Youth Morning Sessions were a hit with our youngsters, with support from Enhance Arts Project and Decibel Therapeutic. Fun, interactive activities like learning how to make your own bionic hand were held.

We finished off our weekend together with a fun, family dinner where we celebrated ASDC’s 55 years with an amazing magic show presented by Deaf magician, Robbie “The Magnificent”. We’re ready for more in 2023!

2019 ASDC Annual Conference

21st Century Partnerships
June 27-28, 2019
Delaware School for the Deaf

Our 2019 Conference theme was 21st Century Partnerships. Dr. Michella Maiorana-Basas was the 2019 Roy Holcomb Distinguished Lecturer. Keynote presenters also included Rachel and Mick Posner from A&E’s Deaf Out Loud, and Peter Cook and Keith Wann, who presented a two-day ASL storytelling workshop. Mime JJ Jones provided the Saturday evening entertainment. We had an amazing lineup of breakout session speakers.

2018 ASDC Annual Conference

Language Elevated
June 21-23, 2018
Utah School for the Deaf

Language Elevated was the 2018 conference theme, featuring Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano, Gallaudet President, as the 2018 Roy Holcomb Distinguished Lecturer.  Keynote presenters also included Amy June Rowley and Rosa Lee TImm.  The complete conference agenda can be found here.   Conference breakout sessions included: Misinterpretation of Federal Law and the impact on the education of deaf children; Mistaking a boot for a fish:  Can deaf children read minds; What parents need to know in order to better advocate for their child’s education; Elevating your deaf child’s language; Differences between early intervention and school; Self determinationFamily advocacy in schoolsDeaf2Deaf experience; Language proficiency in ASL and Spoken English; Innovative practices and cutting edge education; Common core and deaf students; Accessible media for deaf students; Preparing your teens for success in life and employment and so much more.

2017 ASDC Annual Conference

Bridging Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
June 25 – 27, 2017
American School for the Deaf, Hartford, Connecticut

The conference theme, “Bridging Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” focused on celebrating families and empowering them with resources, advocacy, knowledge, and skills.  Lizabeth Katz and Leah Katz Hernandez opened the conference with a powerful presentation Across Generations:  From Marginalization to Modern Inclusion of Ideas for Growing Deaf Children.  Roy Holcomb Distinguished Presenter Mr. Tim Albert had families on the edge of their seats as he discussed Empowerment and Leadership.  Other topics included: Trauma and Deaf Children:  Understanding its Effect on Behavior and Learning; Sign and Spoken Language Interface – Applied Brain Language Research; What Parents Need to Know About Teaching Grammar; New Hearing Technology:  A Parent’s Guide to Technology and Connectivity; Effective Literacy Instruction for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students, this session included two articles Every Child – Every Day and Supporting the Literacy Development of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Inclusive Classrooms;   Secondary Transition at a Glance; Tips for Family Engagement; Effective Partnership in Special Education; Finding and Keeping Balance in Your Life and much more.  The conference guide is available by clicking here.

2016 ASL Learning Opportunity

2016 ASL Learning Opportunity
June 24 – 26, 2016
Sheraton Town Center, Columbia, Maryland

The 2016 ASL Learning Opportunity replaced the annual ASDC Family Conference.  The ASL Learning Opportunity gave participants the opportunity to learn ASL and Deaf culture from highly qualified professionals.  The weekend featured Dr. Eddy Laird of McDaniel College as the Roy J. Holcomb Distinguished Speaker, discussing Deaf culture, the history of ASL, and the importance of signing with children.  ASL teachers Edna Johntson, Ursa Rewolinski and Richard Rose dominated the weekend by teaching participants how to sign with their children, deaf culture and much more.   Participants were able to practice their skills by using ASDC Bucks received throughout the weekend at the live auction Saturday night.   Dr. Melisa Herzig from Visual Language Visual Learning (VL2) closed the weekend with a wonderful presentation on new research from VL2.

2015 ASDC Annual Conference

Connecting the Dots
June 25 – 28, 2015
Indiana School for the Deaf, Indianapolis, Indiana

The 2015 ASDC Annual Conference once again brought families from all around the country to enjoy the wonderful presentations, and daily activities provided.  Keynote presenters included the Analco Family discussing the Road Less Traveled, the Stephen Family with a Family’s Love Story and the Roy K. Holcomb Distinguished Lecturer Ms. Betty Abrams sharing her story of raising two deaf children.  Attendees left the conference with many new friendships, and feeling invigorated with all the information they learned.  The conference program is available by clicking here.

2014 ASDC Annual Conference

Family Strong:  Together We Stand
June 27 – 29, 2014
The Learning Center for the Deaf, Framingham, Massachusetts

The conference brought families from all around the country together.  Keynote presenters Rachel Kolb of Albuquerque, NM and is currently a Rhodes scholar pursuing a M.St., in English literature at the University of Oxford  and Dr. Ronald J. Stern the current superintendent of the New Mexico School for the Deaf and President of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) gave families powerful messages about raising, educating, and expectations for students who are deaf.  Families and professionals left the conference re-energized and ready for the new school year.

Click here to view pictures from the 2014 ASDC Annual Conference.

22nd Biennial ASDC Biennial Conference

Parent Choices:   Keys To Your Child’s Future
June 22 – 26, 2011
Maryland School for the Deaf, Frederick, Maryland

Building a strong foundation in five key areas, family, education, communication, community and extracurricular opportunities.   The conference also provided families five days of information and fun.  Daytime workshops captivated parents while children participated in educational and recreational activities while the evening events brought families together by providing the opportunity to form new friendships and peer support.


21st Biennial ASDC Biennial Conference

June 24 – 28, 2009
Oklahoma School for the Deaf, Sulphur, Oklahoma

For everyone that attended it was an event to remember.  With more than 300 attendees, families from all over the world came together to celebrate their journeys, make new friends and learn about the many resources available for deaf children and their families.  Oklahoma is known for its hospitality, and this was more than apparent in all that the Oklahoma School for the Deaf did to make the families’ stay as fun-filled and enjoyable as possible.  Attendees were given opportunities to attend workshops during the day, while the children were kept busy with special children activities.  The evenings were filled with the rich and diverse culture of Oklahoma activities.


20th Biennial ASDC Biennial Conference

June 28 – July 2, 2007
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, St. Augustine, Florida

With more than 500 people in attendance this was a spectacular conference offering something for everyone.  Children were kept busy every day with fun activities, including field trips to the zoo and the park.  Meanwhile parents were given the opportunity to hear keynote speakers such as Dr. I. King Jordan and his family, La-Verna Fountain and Kelby Brick.  A variety of workshops featuring topics such as resources, advocacy, key parent training, transition, reading, genetics, sexuality, internet safety and so much more were offered daily.  The evenings brought families back together to attend a carnival, take a train to St. Augustine, or watch a movie.


19th Biennial ASDC Biennial Conference

July 9-13, 2005
Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This years conference focused on reading, cochlear implants and preparing deaf children for life after high school.  Among the presenters was Rodney Danco, vice president of finance at Danco Precision, an industrial molding company founded by his uncle.  One of seven members of the school’s first graduating class in 1965, he recalled the advice he gave his classmates.  “I told them it’s okay to be deaf.”  Members of the “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” cast and local sports figures opened the conference carnival, and a riverboat dinner trip on the three rivers of Pittsburgh was on the agenda.  Keynote addresses included Elaine Ocuto and son Luke, Rodney Danco, Jr., Mary Lou Novitsky, and Dr. Marc Marschark.


18th ASDC Biennial Conference

Family Reunion
July 26-30, 2003
Texas School for the Deaf, Austin, Texas

There was something for everyone at the 18th ASDC Biennial Conference;   children took part in camp-like activities, while parents attended educational workshops.  Evening events brought everyone together for family-focused activities.  This years theme “Family Reunion”  brought together immediate and extended family members, professionals, and representatives from the Deaf community.  With the intent of creating a healthy family tree of relationships and services.  Workshops were offered on a variety of topics  that provided  information, outreach, and technical assistance, the conference also allowed parents and professionals time to share their expertise, experiences and enthusiasm.


17th ASDC Biennial Conference

Yours, Mine and Ours
July 12-16, 2000
Gallaudet University, Washington, DC

More than 700 people attended the 17th Biennial Conference.  The theme “Yours, Mine and Ours,” reaffirmed the organization’s philosophy that parents working with deaf adults and professionals from the fields of education and human services enrich deaf children’s present and future.  Participants left the conference better educated about the social, emotional, and educational needs of deaf children and as better advocates for their children.


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