FAQ About National Conferences - General Questions
Q: My child is young. Is it worth it for us to go to a national conference?
A: Absolutely - and for many reasons! First of all, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Meeting other parents and family members can provide a great support as well as great information on raising your young child. Whether it's processing emotions or gathering information, other parents and LPA members can be a great source of comfort and understanding. They are your best references for things like potty chairs, bicycles, toys, shoes and clothes, and more. It's also great to go if your child has older siblings. Having older lp role models can really make a difference. Imagining your child by observing others at 10, 15, and 20 years old is really helpful. Through the daily parent meetings and workshops you will make connections that you may have for many years, sometimes lifelong.
Q: My child is a teenager and this will be their first national. What can we expect
A: Expect to be tired! Most teens have a great time at the national conference. With the teenage population there is a lot of "hanging out" - sitting in the lobby, sitting in hallways, hanging out in the Attic and at nearby Starbucks or coffee shops in the hotel. Like in any group, it may take some time for your child to find a friend or friends to be with - but give it time, and do everything you can to encourage their participation. They are not going to meet anyone sitting in your room.
The sports of DAAA (Dwarf Athletic Association of America) are a great way to meet other teens, whether you are playing the games or just watching. Soccer, track and field, and basketball are the most popular for the teens. The nightly dances are a big draw for everyone and are very fun. Also, sign up for the teen events offered onsite. They are a great way to meet people. Be prepared to give your child an extra bit of freedom - nightly dances at home aren't usually the norm! - but stay in touch frequently via cell phone or pre-arranged check-in times.
Q: I'm an adult and this is my first national. What can I expect?
A: If this is your first LPA event, or even if you have been to small gatherings in your chapter or district, then you may feel overwhelmed seeing hundreds of Little People of varying ages, sizes and mobility levels. Feel free to take a deep breath and get a feel for things before jumping into activities…. but don’t wait too long because the week goes by very quickly. When you enter the LPA Registration room, feel free to ask any questions about activities, meetings and workshops. If you didn’t sign up for activities, but now you think you might want to try, then talk to the staff in the registration room and we’ll help you out. Pace yourself with the activities and don’t forget to sleep during the week. Be sure and attend the First Timers Meeting to meet others and to ask questions. Your name badge will have a First Timers badge so that experienced Conference Attendees can reach out and welcome you into the activities. Welcome to a LPA National Conference! You won’t forget your “first.”
Q: What is the Medical Advisory Board and why is it important?
A: LPA is very fortunate to have a very strong Medical Advisory Board (MAB). The MAB are physicians from different areas of medicine (genetics, orthopedics, ENT, neurology, psychology, OB-Gyn) from across the US and England, who have a special interest in working with people with skeletal dysplasias. The 20+ MAB members pay their own way to conference each year andpay for their own hotel rooms, to consult with patients for FREE on an appointment basis, Monday through Wednesday. There are very few doctors across the country who truly know much about skeletal dysplasias (regardless of what they tell you). It is especially important to consult with an MAB doctor if your child is heading towards any surgery or invasive treatments.