Chromosome 18 Decoded – Annual Conference

Join us in celebrating the 25th Annual 2018 Chromosome 18 Decoded!

Location: Baltimore, MD

  Dates: Monday, July 2nd to Wednesday, July 4th

Hotel: Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel

Check-In: Afternoon of Sunday, July 1st

Below are all the details we currently have available.

There will be NO on-site registration this year. Stipend closing June 11, 2018 – Registration after June 11 will be at full price.

We will release additional details as they become available to us.

Sponsorship Information now available! Click here for more information.

Event Registration is Now Open! Learn more about Conference Events here.

Have questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions!

Helpful Links

General Information Section 1

New name – nothing’s changed! We are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Chromosome 18 Annual Conference this year under the new name Chromosome 18 Decoded.  The 2018 Chromosome 18 Decoded will be held at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel  from Monday, July 2nd through Wednesday, July 4th in Baltimore, Maryland.

Baltimore is located just an hour outside of Washington, DC and is easily accessible by all methods of travel. Come and join us in what is sure to be a great conference where you’ll get to see some old friends and meet many new friends. If this is your first time, we strongly encourage you to come with the whole family as we have lots of different programs and fun events for everybody.

Over the course of the three days many different speakers and events are available including four tracks of presentations for: the families of young children, the families of adolescents/young adults, siblings and self-advocates.  The sibling track is planned and run by our adult siblings trained in child development and facilitation.  The self-advocate track is for those affected individuals over the age of 16 who can function independently within the conference environment. There will be breakout discussion sessions for each syndrome group as well as for regional groups. 

The conference culminates on Wednesday evening with the Starfish Dinner and Dance and can guarantee that you will have so much fun, making it hard to say goodnight and goodbye to your Chromosome 18 family.  The Starfish Dinner & Dance is open to all (registered conference attendees, family, friends, community partners and sponsors). Tickets for unreserved seating are included in the conference registration.  All others may purchase tickets once registration opens. This is a perfect opportunity for anyone who is not attending the conference to be part of our special event. The evening will end with Fourth of July Fireworks over the Baltimore Harbor – it will definitely be a night to remember!

Registration for Men’s Night, Ladies’ Night, Self-Advocate Outings, and Sibling Outings is NOW AVAILABLE. There will be NO on-site registration for activities this year. You can register for events here.

Schedule & MapSection 2

We are excited that this year’s conference will have a wide range of speakers and topics.  There is definitely something for everyone!  Our schedule is not final and is subject to change.  We will keep you updated.

Registration Forms:

Below are two forms that you will be completing during check-in. Please feel free to download, print, and complete the forms ahead of time to save time during check-in.

Topics and Speakers

2017 Conference Committee

Conference Chair – Nichole McVicker,

Registration Section 3

Registration is now open!

This year there will be one registration price for all participants and you have the option to choose a stipend from Chromosome 18 or purchase a ticket at regular price.  Stipends are generated from funds raised throughout the year and distributed to help offset the price of conference fees.  Upon registering, you will notice the regular participant conference fees is $325 and you can choose to use the $125 stipend, bringing the conference fee to $200 per participant.  For those participants needing supervised care (baby, child, and teen childcare by childcare professionals) you will also find two registration options.  You can choose to register these participants with the stipend of $300, reducing your cost to $250 or at the full conference price with childcare fees at $550. Everyone must pre-register online. There will be no on-site registration

Everyone attending, even children, need to register. People who do not need to register might be, for example, grandparents or others who are coming for the purpose of babysitting your child. They do not need to register if they will not:

  • Attend any sessions (for parents, siblings, or self-advocates)
  • Eat conference planned group meals
  • Attend any evening sessions – such as Ladies’ Night, Men’s Night, etc.

They may attend the Starfish Dinner & Dance if they pay for their own seat ($100 each) or as the guest of someone who purchases a Starfish Dinner & Dance Table.

Register Now!

Silent Auction Donations Section 4

We are now accepting Silent Auction donations! Simply fill out the form online to let us know what you are donating and then bring the item in-person or ship it to the conference – it’s that easy! All proceeds go to the Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society and receipts will be available for your tax records. Thank you to those who have already notified us of their generous silent auction donations! We are thrilled to feature your items at our silent auction on that last evening of the conference.

Volunteer Opportunities Section 5

Whether this is your first conference or you are a conference veteran, we could use your help to make this year’s conference our best one yet! Sign-up to volunteer for a variety of activities over the course of the conference. From registration, photography, and merchandise to organizing the silent auction, there is something for everyone! Are you from the Baltimore area and know individuals who might be interested in volunteering? Feel free to share this information with them as well!

Events Section 6

Join Chromosome 18 in Baltimore, MD for an incredible series of evenings out! We have planned fun-filled evenings just steps from the hotel on the vibrant, beautiful, and historic Baltimore Harbor for you to enjoy after the day’s sessions. Take in the sights and spend time relaxing while enjoying the company of other conference attendees!

Sign-up for 2018 Chromosome 18 25th Annual Conference Events today! Events Registration is separate from Conference Registration this year. Event details are subject to change.

All event registration must be completed online, prior to the conference. There will be NO on-site events registration this year.

More Information About Events:

Men’s Night

Ladies’ Night

Self Advocate Night

Sibling’s Night

Register for Events Now!

Hotel Section 7

Book your room with the Chromosome 18 Discounted Rate

by calling Frances Johnson at (410) 547-1200, ext. 2192

You can also book your room through the online portal here. If you require double room accommodations, please see the details below.

* Due to a shortage of Double Bed rooms at the conference hotel, you can request a roll-away bed in your King room when you make your reservation. King rooms will be available to transfer to Double Bed rooms after the first night of the conference, but please liaise with the hotel to ensure this is noted in your reservation.*

You can read a letter from the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel explaining King Room & Double Room accommodations here. If trying to book a Double Room, please call to make reservations with the hotel to ensure that your needs are met.

The conference will be held at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hoteland rooms are now available at a special rate of $159 per night (excluding tax). More information on hotel accommodations coming soon! This rate will be available until mid-June 2018, so please book your room in advance.

Book your room with the Chromosome 18 Discounted Rate by calling Frances Johnson at (410) 547-1200, ext. 2192.Please be sure to mention that you are with The Chromosome 18 Conference in order to receive the discount. Families often comment that staying in the same hotel as the conference, and with the other families, is critical for the full “Conference Experience”.  Please reserve your accommodations early.  Once the Chromosome 18’s block of rooms are fully booked, our members are not guaranteed a room in this hotel.  Your reservation is your responsibility. First come, first served!

Parking is $33 per day and Valet Parking is available for $43 per day.  There are many restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. No shuttle service is available from Baltimore/Washington Inernational Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI – 8 miles) or Martin State Airport (MTN – 10 miles).  More details can be found here.

Are you planning to extend your stay in Baltimore before or after the conference?  Check out this list of area activities.

Starfish Dinner & Dance Section 8

Everybody will be enjoying a wonderful night to include a three-course meal, awards presentation and silent and live auctions and lots of dancing as the culmination of a fantastic few days as the annual conference draws to a close at our Starfish Dinner & Dance that will take place on the evening of Wednesday, July 4th.

The Starfish Dinner & Dance is open to all (registered conference attendees, family, friends, community partners and sponsors). Tickets for unreserved seating are included in the conference registration.  All others may purchase tickets once registration opens. This is a perfect opportunity for anyone who is not attending the conference to be part of our special event.

VIP Reserved Table Fundraiser 

Raise at least $1,500 and you’ll be able to pick your choice of table (that seats 10) in the Ballroom for the Starfish Dinner & Dance and choose how you would like to be recognized by selecting your table name along with reserved seating. This sponsorship allows you to have up to 9 guests join you for the evening at no additional cost. These could be guests who are not attending the conference and who would like to attend the Starfish Dinner & Dance; they would not need to pay the ticket fee of $100 per person. You can also invite families from the conference to join you at your table!

Want to be right in the front, up close and in the center of the action? Prefer to be at the back to take it all in?  You decide…..

Learn more about the VIP Reserved Table Fundraiser!

 Important Information from the Chromosome 18 Clinical Research Center

 Section 9
If you are thinking about coming to the 2018 Chromosome 18 Decoded Family Conference in Baltimore, the Chromosome 18 Clinical Research Center will be offering several research projects to research participants. There will be NO blood draws to enroll new participants at this conference.

The first activity is a video recording of participants’ faces as they perform tasks such as smiling, puckering their lips, and reciting some words. These recordings will be analyzed for neuromuscular changes and speech quality. Participants must be over the age of eight who have an 18p or 18q deletion.

The second activity will be a short developmental evaluation that measures executive function skills and a second that measures finger-tapping speed. This activity is open to study participants over the age of 18 who can identify and verbally read names of colors.

Study participants can schedule either or both of these assessments for anytime on Sunday July 1 or throughout the conference. It is best to schedule an appointment in advance. For more information or to schedule an appointment email Annice Hill at

Syndrome Specific Findings

The syndrome specific findings will not be available or formally discussed at this year’s conference. Families are asked to print the information from the PDF files and watch the accompanying YouTube video explanations found here. Then at the conferences families are welcome to ask questions about these documents during the syndrome breakout sessions or privately between sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions Section 10

Attendees frequently have questions about what to expect at the conference and how registration works.  We invite you to read our FAQ’s to learn more about the conference and contact us with any additional questions!  Feel free to contact the Registry office for registration assistance and / or questions at or call 210.657.4968

Childcare Section 11

Childcare will be provided by a professional service for this year’s Chromosome 18 Decoded.  In addition, we will be offering program tracks for Self-Advocates and Siblings.  We will have a lounge and hang-out space for kids in each of these groups. It will be a place where the kids can sign themselves in and out (with their parent’s permission).
Schedules will be available for CK childcare activities closer to the date of the conference!

Event Sponsorship

Section 12
By being part of the 25th Annual Chromosome 18 – Decoded your organization can make a difference to the lives of these individuals and families affected by chromosome 18 abnormalities. View the 2018 Chromosome 18 Decoded Sponsorship Packet now! Contact with any questions!

Our 2017 Annual Conference was held in Naperville, IL from July 12-15th.  

Section 13

Naperville 2017 Annual Conference Review

It wouldn’t be July without the Chromosome 18 Annual Conference! This year was no different, as we celebrated our 24th Annual Conference at the Chicago Naperville Marriott in Naperville, Illinois. Our wonderful conference chairs Kathy Borello and Ivette Ruiz Cohen spent countless hours during the year to make this conference a memorable experience for the attendees, and all that hard work and effort really paid off! We had 436 people in attendance making this year’s conference one of the largest gatherings the Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society has had in the conference’s 24 year history. Over 600 hotel rooms were booked, 97 people attend the conference for the first time, numerous individuals registered for the Chromosome 18 Clinical Research Center’s study for the first time, and we had a wonderful keynote speech by Chris Ulmer.

A wide variety of topics were covered by our amazing speakers who all donated their time and expertise to help all the families.  We had so many wonderful family members that helped with everything from registration, merchandise, room hosting, speaker listing, AV, DJ, and the silent auction to name just a few. As our conference gets bigger, we have to thank the amazing dedication of everybody that donates their time to give the attendees such a high quality of experience at a primarily volunteer organized conference.

Several different events were organized for the self advocates this year including a meal at the Pour House, fun and games at the Naperville Yard, and throwing a ten pin strike at Bowlero.  The siblings had lots happening as well and joined in with many fun events at the hotel and their own trips to Naperville Yard and the Pour House.  The Men’s Night saw a large group head off on the Trolley (Ding, Ding) to Top Golf and the Ladies Night hosted a Bunco Party with some traditional Chicago Pizza being delivered.

Our final night had a packed ballroom for the Starfish Dinner & Dance, and as always, this night didn’t disappoint with a full dance floor with everybody joining in the fun for hours.  Helping offset some of the costs for the Conference, we sold a lot of amazing new merchandise plus the silent and live auctions were a huge success.  Thanks to everybody who made donations to the auctions and over $9,000 was raised for the Registry!

Everybody is excited about our 25th Annual Conference in 2018, and we will be at the Renaissance Hotel in Baltimore Harbor from July 2-4th. This will culminate in a spectacular fireworks display that we will be able to view from the comfort of the hotel after the conclusion of the Starfish Dinner & Dance.  Get your dancing shoes ready for Baltimore it’s going to be a blast!


Past Conference Locations Section 14

  • 2017- Naperville, Illinois
  • 2016- San Antonio, Texas
  • 2015- Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2014- Stamford, Connecticut
  • 2013- Savannah, Georgia
  • 2012- San Antonio, Texas
  • 2011- Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 2010- Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • 2009- Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2008- San Antonio, Texas
  • 2007- Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • 2006- Anaheim, California
  • 2005- Winter Park, Colorado
  • 2004- San Antonio, Texas
  • 2003- Hershey Pennsylvania
  • 2002- Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • 2001- Midway, Utah
  • 2000- Boerne, Texas
  • 1999- Crystal City, VA
  • 1998- Winter Park, Colorado
  • 1997- Oakbrook, Illinois
  • 1996- Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1995- San Antonio, Texas
  • 1994- Schaumburg, Illinois