Thursday, January 17, 2019

The skills people with Down syndrome achieve at every age

A new study offers a timetable of how individuals with Down syndrome make progress into adulthood, along with hope and help for parents and people with DS. The research, based on responses from 2,658 parents who have sons and daughters with Down syndrome of all ages, was recently published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics. Researchers assessed 11 skills, and found that people with Down syndrome kept right on achieving at every age:

By two years old, the majority of children with Down syndrome in the United States can eat reasonably well, and nearly 97% do by adulthood. By 31 years old, about 45% prepare their own meals.
By 25 months of age, the majority of children with DS walk.
By 4.7 years old, 25% speak; by 12 years old, the majority talk reasonably well. By age 31, 77% do.
By 8 years old, 25% read and by 21 to 30 years old, close to half do.
By 11 years old, 25% write; by 31 years old, 46 percent do.
By 13 years old, half maintain their own grooming and hygiene and by 31 years old, 79% do.
By 21 to 30 years old, 65% work independently, and by 31 years old, 71% do.
By 31 years old, approximately 34 percent live independently—and 30 percent travel independently.
By 31 years old, about 25 percent of adults in the United States with Down syndrome are dating. 

Of course, every child with Down syndrome and other disabilities proceeds on his or her own timeline, no matter what the averages show. But these findings can be heartening to parents of children with DS—and helpful for the progress, too. "Once a child with Down syndrome is born, parents frequently want to know how well their son or daughter is developing," says Brian Skotko, MD, MPP, a senior author of the study and director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. "Now we have guideposts—based on the responses of thousands of parents—that can help clinicians know when children may be falling behind their peers with Down syndrome and if necessary, refer parents to additional supports, resources and therapies."

The study is also an eye-opener for others: "Contrary to some public beliefs, people with Down syndrome never stop learning," says Dr. Skotko. "Functional skills can can still be attained and improved well into adulthood."

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Thanks for sharing!

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